Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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Life on ‘The Creek’: Part One

A little over a year and a half ago, my first night in Wilmington, N.C., ended in disaster. My father and I were returning from dinner when we were victims of a hit-and-run. My car was totaled, my Dad had whiplash, I had a broken foot, and leaving UW-Madison seemed to be the biggest mistake of my life.

Seven rental cars and five months later, the goose bumps had returned. Seated in a large cargo van, the driver and I were weaving our way through some pretty thick woods. The horizon cleared, revealing picturesque marshlands. The van coasted to a stop. My foot fully healed, I slowly exited the vehicle.

The driver yelled to me, “Good luck,” then pulled away. I had no clue where I was. I walked toward an open lawn, my eyes fixed on a glistening little creek. Am I where I think I am? I look over my shoulder, and there it is: Dawson Leery’s house.

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In the spirit of “Dawson’s Creek,” I thought I’d offer up an over-dramatized recap of my first day on set. Isn’t it always like this when someone describes his or her first time? (A little Dawson’s lingo for all you fans.)

With the teen angst series coming to a close, I thought the time was right to take all you readers into the world of “Dawson’s Creek.”

It’s true — I only interned for one semester on the “Dawson” camera crew, but that was plenty of time to realize just how crazy a film set is. Things I never expected: nearly being run over by a speeding Porsche; walking around set in my underwear; getting sick of looking at all the gorgeous extras; having nightmares about where I need to stand during a take.

I got free passes to all the strip clubs in Myrtle Beach; carried thousands of dollars worth of video equipment across Dawson’s long, narrow pier on my second day, while most of the cast and crew chanted “Cheesehead, Cheesehead!” wandered around the set of Gram’s house at 6 a.m., drunk and completely alone

My personal favorite was showing Josh Jackson’s (Pacey Witter) friend my bag full of condoms, only to realize at a later date that his friend was a little-known actress by the name of Rosario Dawson. I earned the nickname “Ceesehead.”

This was my first job with a 5 p.m. call time. While other college students were getting plastered on Friday nights, I was cleaning film canisters. And I had more of a life than my fellow 20-something actors.

If you want to have fun, go to college. If you want to have multi-million dollar responsibilities hanging over your head, become an actor. If you want free food and booze, become a crewmember.

Okay, so even “Dawson’s Creek” interns have a few perks. I always got a ride to the bathroom. I never paid for a drink. There was never a shortage of rubber chickens in the camera truck. There was never a shortage of free condoms in the props truck. Free beef jerky was always lying around. And sometimes I even got paid.

With all “Dawson’s” beauty, there are some ugly truths behind the scenes. The Potter B&B is located in the middle of what smelled like a manure field. During low tide, the little creek behind Joey’s house transforms into a gnat-infested mud pit.

Mitch Leery’s tombstone is foam and blows away with the slightest breeze. Most of the time, Joey and Audrey’s dorm room only contains one bed for the two girls to share, even if you think you see two beds (movie magic). And I’m pretty sure there are sharks in Dawson’s creek. Thank God I didn’t have to go fishing for any video equipment.

I guess sometimes you just have to break your foot and total your car if you want an internship on a show like “Dawson’s Creek.” The real moral of my story is that you should never show a girl your bag full of condoms without asking her, before hand, if she’s a Hollywood star.

My time at “The Creek” wasn’t surreal. It was bizarrely real.

This is part one of a two-part series about the experiences of a ‘Dawson’s Creek’ intern. Look for part two of the series in tomorrow’s Badger Herald.

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