To make sure the annual Academy Awards show goes off without a hitch, thousands of volunteers, employees and vendors work tirelessly to ensure that the audience and at-home viewers have an unforgettable experience.
Here’s a list highlighting just seven of the many behind-the-scenes jobs at the Oscars:
1. Seat filler: Ever wonder how there never seems to be a seat left empty at an awards show? Surely stars need to use the bathroom or take a break from sucking in on-camera. Enter the seat fillers. Seat fillers are hired to fill empty seats so the audience always looks full. Awards shows work with outside vendors, such as Seat Fillers and More or SeatFiller.com. While this is usually a volunteer position (translation: no pay), isn’t it payment enough to rub elbows with some of the world’s biggest stars?
2. Talent escort: Another volunteer position that gets you close to celebrities is talent escort. Talent escorts are essentially celebrity guardians; they are assigned specific celebrities and are responsible for them from the moment their feet touch the red carpet. Escorts do everything from keeping celebrities on schedule to guiding them to their seats. If a star is presenting, the escort is responsible for getting him backstage and ready to present.
3. Associate director: While the show’s director is the one who calls the shots, the AD sets up the shots. The AD is the assistant to the director, doing everything from choreographing the camera operators’ moves to ensuring that the props and set are ready for each segment.
4. Stand-in: It takes several rounds of rehearsals to get the lighting, sound, cameras, flow and timing just right, and you can’t expect celebrity presenters to give up precious time to attend every rehearsal. That’s where celebrity stand-ins come in. This paid role involves standing in for the real celebrities and doing everything from walking on and off stage, running through lines and giving faux acceptance speeches.
5. Security consultant: Not surprisingly, awards shows can be targets for people who want to commit harmful acts. With the thousands of people attending and working the show, not to mention the hordes of fans crowding around the theater, being part of the security team is one of the show’s most important jobs. Security personnel begin working weeks, if not months, ahead of time, coordinating with the FBI and the Los Angeles Police Department, scoping out entrances and exits, locating areas of vulnerability, doing bomb sweeps and setting up security check-ins, among other duties.
6. Accountant: As the commercials come to an end and the cued music begins, viewers wait with excitement to see who the next celebrity presenter will be, only to groan in disappointment when the announcer says, “Please welcome representatives from the accounting firm…” Sure, they may not be the most exciting folks to grace the stage, but accountants play a big part in ensuring the integrity of the awards. According to a press release from PricewaterhouseCoopers, the accounting and consulting firm that oversees the balloting process, “PwC’s long-established balloting system involves the precise tallying of every single ballot at a concealed location to maintain the utmost level of accuracy, objectivity and confidentiality.”
7. Stage manager: Stage managers are the backstage directors, so if you’re backstage at the Oscars, you had better listen to what the stage manager tells you to do. The stage manager hangs out in the wings, directing traffic, ensuring that presenters are on their stage marks and keeping the show’s timing on track, among other responsibilities.