Bear with me. This is the first time I'm writing this down after exactly one year (purely unintentional) and some things are bound to be off.
Tuesday, 21 April 1998 was the day. I was attending college and a friend and I, at around 11:00AM, sort of skipped an optional lab. We had lunch and then walked over to the main line-up at GM Place. Many local and LA media where there. I know "Entertainment Tonight" was there and their cameras were shooting the line-up. Other local radios stations (Z95.3, CFOX, etc.) and TV stations (BCTV, UTV, VTV, etc.) were there. Anyway, during the wait my friend and I just killed time playing 'Big Two' (a card game), listening to the radio, etc.
By 3:00PM the line-up I was in was around two blocks long. There were also three other line-ups, two circled the stadium and one was on the main level. Later I found out about 15,000 people showed up. The X-Files crew expected 5000 to 10,000. By 5:00PM/5:30PM they started letting us in. The standard bag check and a complimentary ticket (I'm was #6982) was issued at the door. These tickets would be even more valuable later on.
We enter the stadium seating and it was set up similar to a basketball game. Hardwood flooring on the ice surface. Folding chairs surrounding the chess platform. You could see various crewmembers checking and assembling their equipment. The lightning was low. A little brighter than what was seen on TV.
On the scoreboard, the X-Files logo was displayed and the theme music playing. One section was dominated by several people wearing suits (about 150 or so). Later we found out these were the paid extras who've been there since the morning. If you looked at the walk-in extras (us) you would have never know that these people were about to attend a chess match. It was nice to see a wide variety of ages (the minimum age twelve due to child labour laws) and a wide variety of clothing styles. You have your sterotypical Suit 'n Tie sitting next to Yuppies sitting next to High School Students sitting next to Skaters. Amazing!
Anyhow, the actually shooting of the chess and assassination scene didn't take place till 7:00PM/8:00PM and for those three/four hours they (the stadium staff) played various interviews and blooper reels on the scoreboard. Time for food. Except...the stadium staff didn't expect this many people and they actual ran out of food!
Between 8:00PM and 12:00AM the actual shooting took place. You could see the camera crews take wide shoots, close-ups, boom shots, and pans of the audience (us). In between these shoots, Rob Goodwin (I think) hosted this event. He talked about the final scene, how proud he is of Vancouver, which cast members where going to drop by (I don't remember the exact order so bare with me), out-of-town media in town, and prizes!
I believe David Duchovny made his entrance (he was off shooting the hotel scene with GA and Mimi Rogers) when I went to the washroom and my friend went to the concession stand. From the urinals, I swear I heard booing. Can't confirm that though. When I walked back to my seat, DD was taking questions from Goodwin. After, he basically walked around the perimeter of the floor going to each section of the audience answering questions. Like at a basketball game, you could literally run right up to centre stage and make a fool out of yourself. So, DD and others were very accessible.
After DD left to continue shooting, the main attraction walked in. Goodwin introduced Gillian Anderson and whole stadium erupted in cheers and clapping. Everyone was giving her a standing ovation.
She took centre stage with a microphone and started to cry. The ovation went on for a couple of minutes. She then made a speech about how she's going to miss her second home, how kind and friendly we are, how Vancouver was like a well-loved Grandfather/family member whom she's moving away from. She then started to take questions. The questions were again typical "What is your favourite Disney movie?", "Will you marry me?", "Boxers or briefs?", "Can you sign this?", "Will you marry me?", "Can we get a picture?", "Will you marry me?", "Who's your idol?", "Will you marry me?", "Are you coming back?"...
Later, Nic Lea, Chris Owens, and William Davis showed up separately. They pretty much received the same treatment. Lots of screaming, lots of questions, lots of jokes. The final person to take centre stage was The Man, Chris Carter. Although he wasn't needed for this shoot, he dropped by anyway. He made his speech, answered some questions, and promised to be back soon.
As for me getting a close-up or autographs of anyone. Well, no. I've never really understood the need...the fascination with getting some famous person's signature. I'm perfectly happy seeing them on TV or on screen.
The actual shoot went like this. Tom Braidwood, aka Melvin Frohike, was directing this scene (remember he's also the second-unit director). They took some shots of Gibson and the Russian player looking at the board and playing a little. This took about an hour. The reason was that they shot various views of this scene. Over the shoulder. Wide shot. Two shot. One shot. Etc. Then the interactive part started.
In the teaser, the gunman shoots the Russian player and the audience basically goes ballistic, fleeing to the aisles. Well, the crew started to prepare us for that scene. They told us to look like an audience watching an intense chess match. Something like: Quietly comment to each other on the dramatic chess move Gibson just made; BANG; Russian goes down; Stand up in shock/horror; Run out the aisles. Simple.
Well, it took about an hour or so to do this. Two rehearsals, and three actual shots for different views. What I do remember from this was stepping on people's heels and my heels being stepped on. Grrrr. We did not see that actually the shooter or hear the actually bang. All that was shot separately and edited into the final piece.
Somewhere in there, Goodwin whose from Vancouver, instructed us to look at the ET cameras and shout "Vancouver Rocks". Did that twice. Just to let you know who rocks!!
After that, Goodwin announced that he will now hold a lottery. That's where the #6982 on the ticket comes in. They had several dozen Walkman's, several large screen TV's, a couple of portable stereos (boom-boxes as he said), and one trip for two to LA to give away. That's right, someone from Vancouver will (and did) win an all-expenses-paid trip to LA to watch the shooting of The Beginning. Well, when everyone heard that, they promptly sat down and shut up!
By 12:30AM, I only walked away with memories and a souvenir ticket. Came close to winning a Walkman though.