In September2006, Lauren Whyte’s parents attended the Wonder Ball (a children’s charity event benefiting the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada) in Toronto. As a show of support, Epitome Pictures Inc. donated the rare opportunity to spend the day as a VIP and visit the set of Degrassi: The Next Generation. Lauren’s mom and dad bid in the silent auction and won. This is Lauren’s account of her time on set.
The limo arrived on a sunny morning in November and whisked my mom and me to Epitome Pictures Inc. – home of Degrassi: The Next Generation. It was so cool being in a limo when I knew that I could have been in math class! As soon as we arrived at the busy studio, we were greeted by a friendly staff member and began our tour around the studios where Degrassi is shot.
We went straight to the Executive Board Room and took pictures with the many awards the show has won! Our tour guide showed us the call sheet that outlines the activities for the day on set. Everybody at Epitome Pictures gets a copy of the call sheet and for the day of my visit the top of the sheet said “VIP WALK-ON LAUREN WHYTE ON SET TODAY”. Did I ever feel special, being called a VIP (very important person) and having it sent out to everybody working there! Right from that we went straight to the mall set. As soon as we walked in Paige (Lauren Collins) and Spinner (Shane Kippel), who were sitting waiting for there scene to start, introduced themselves to me and even shook my hand. They were so friendly and welcoming!
I was immediately taken to stand with all the background performers (walk-ons) and asked to walk around, pretending I was a shopper. They took many takes of the same scene to make sure there were correct lighting, sound, and backround people. Then we went to the room where background people hang out between scenes, the hair and make-up studio, the dressing room/wardrobe room. Wow, lots of clothes were in there – wish that was my closet!
Back downstairs for more scenes, this time in the mall food court! I got to take a tray of Pizza Pizza to a table in the background while Alex (Deanna Casaluce) and Paige (Lauren Collins) were sitting at the coffee shop talking about Spinner (Shane Kippel). Afterwards, I got to talk with them and ask them questions. They are so nice and made me feel so comfortable.
It was time for a break, so we headed for the cafeteria to join the cast & crew to a yummy lunch. Afterward we toured the rest of the studio, all through the school and outside where they film the exterior house scenes – it’s known as the ‘back lot’. I even got to go inside The Dot restaurant!
Throughout the day we took tons of pictures and met many interesting people, including the Executive Producer and Degrassi co-creator, Linda Schuyler. Lucky me! The wonderful Epitome team had the call sheet blown up and signed by some of the cast members for me to take home along with a poster, t-shirt, and a book.
Wow, that was a fun day; I would love to go back anytime! I can’t wait for the episode to air so I can watch it with my friends.
To find out more about the Boys & Girls Clubs of Canada, and to learn how you can get involved, visit them on the Web at http://www.bgccan.com.