Recap: Star Wars: The Force Awakens Line Up

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens LineUp
December 5 – 17, 2015
Hollywood, California
I had discovered the Star Wars Line Up via Twitter, and this was my first time participating in the line up. The Line Up has been happening for a couple of decades for the previous Star Wars films, and is organized by  Due to the current nature of ticket sales, and reserved seats (in some theaters), several hundred tickets were purchased on the first day of sales for the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood for the 7pm show on December 17, 2015.  The line was scheduled to begin on December 5 and ending on the morning of December 17 when the tickets would be distributed.
Me on the first night (Dec.5)
Lineup members hanging out in the forecourt of the TCL Chinese Theatre Imax for Star Wars: The Force Awakens 2015
The general requirements of the line were as follows (and these changed a bit during the lineup):
1 person needed to spend 24 hours cumulative hours in line between the official start of the line at noon on December 5 until ticket distribution at (I believe) 10am on December 17.  Each person who spends 24 hours in line could purchase 2 tickets (at face value) from the Lining Up organizers.
Arrived on Dec. 11 to a wet forecourt
There was a check-in and check-out system for tracking the time each person spent in line.  A person could purchase 2 tickets per 24 hours in line up to 6 tickets.  The tickets could be paid for once you reached 24 hours at which time you would be given a receipt.  The TCL Chinese Theater has assigned seating, and the person with the most hours would have first choice of the seats, and so on going down the line.  This gave incentive for people to spend more time in line.
Relaxing on Dec.11 once the rain stopped

The line up was also raising money for the Starlight Children’s Foundation, via online donations, text donations, and cash donations at the line.

My view of the TCL Chinese Theatre

I had originally signed up for the line up because I wasn’t able to secure marathon tickets for myself and one of my nieces.  By the time the line began, AMC Burbank had added a second theater for the marathon and I was able to purchase our tickets.  I decided to participate in the line up anyway to meet fellow Star Wars fans as well as be able to hang out all day and night in the famous forecourt of the TCL Chinese Theater.  There is something special about sleeping on top of the famous handprints.

I\’m freezing later on the 11th.
 The first two days of the line up, we had wonderful, and unseasonable, warm weather with temperatures in the mid-70s during the day and 50s at night.  I didn’t stay the night that weekend, but I intended to camp overnight the second weekend.  I worked my normal week at work from the 7thuntil the 10th, and I took the following week off from work.  The first night, I met some great people whom I spent more time chatting with throughout the following days of the line.  We also had pizza supplied to us.
Tent for the premiere of Star Wars The Force Awakens being set up.
December 11: Tents being setup for the premiere.
December 12: Press interviews at the line.
December 13: More setup on the tents.
 I returned the next day, and I spent most of the day chatting and working on the lightsaber earrings I was making.
I didn’t return to the line until the following Friday, and it was raining when I arrived.  I hadn’t brought my umbrella, so I went to the nearby $5 store and purchased one there. It was cheaply made, but I’ve spent much more on other umbrellas, and they’ve all broken within a few uses.  It worked well enough, and was large enough to protect myself and my belongings from the rain.  It only rained for about an hour or so, and we were able to spread out and resume our laying about.  There were interviews happening much more this particular weekend as news was spreading worldwide about our endeavor.  I participated in a few interviews during the next three days before the Red Carpet World Premiere (which was happening on Monday, December 14, 2015).  There were Spanish language news outlets, Associated Press, Fox News, local tv news, BBC Los Angeles, CBC (Canada), and many, many others.  The worst for me was being approached for an interview at 5:45am as I was emerging from my tent on Sunday morning.  It was freezing cold (temps were in the 30s at night that weekend), and I wasn’t fully awake.  It was live, and I was only on camera for about 1 minute, so I was able to relax and finish putting my camping supplies into my car.
Anthony Daniels came to the lineup to say hello and take pictures with fans.
Anthony Daniels visiting the line.
I got a hug!
Anthony Daniels and yours truly.
It was really cold and windy during the day that weekend, and I hate the cold but endured it the best I could.  There is a Starbucks and a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf very, very close to the TCL Chinese Theater and we were keeping ourselves warm with coffee, tea, and hot chocolate.  I was smart enough to check for Hot Hands hand warmers when I was at Wal-Mart on the previous Thursday.  They were also quite reasonably priced so I purchased all that were on the rack (10 pairs).  I highly recommend the Hot Hands brand of hand warmers as I’ve tried others which were pretty useless.  I shared them with others, especially at night when they were sleeping out in the open without tents.
This dog\’s cape was amazing.
On Saturday, we were notified the people with in the top 100 number of hours accumulated would be able to have a spot to watch the red carpet arrivals for the premiere on Monday.  We would have to be there by 6am and be there all day, which prevented a lot of people from being able to attend.  Everything about the premiere day will be in a separate post (possibly more) coming in the next few days.
During the weekend, we received swag and food from various companies.  There was a pastry shop which brought us delicious pastries and they are located in Culver City.  I forgot their name, and I’m really upset that I have, because I want to try some of their other sweets.  Imax sent T-shirts and infuser water bottles (I’ve been researching them to get one, now I have a free one!), and LucasFilm gave out Star Wars The Force Awakens pins.
Anthony Daniels with the lineup members pointing at his footprints.
Anthony Daniels telling the story of the footprints.

On Sunday (Dec.13) morning, I was sitting in my chair doing something on my phone, when I look up I see Anthony Daniels!  Very few people have noticed him standing there, yet, so I unbundle myself from my blanket and approach him.  By this time, everyone else has noticed him so there is a bit of a wait to get a picture with him.  In the picture where he’s hugging me, he says “I supposed it is cold,” and hugs me! I’m so glad the guy I handed my phone to took the picture even though Tony was looking the other way.  I was able to get a “proper” photo, and I got my phone back and took photos of some of the others getting their pictures taken.  The line organizers asked if we would mind if they could get some photos of him at his (C3-Po’s) footprints.  He then told us a story about how the footprints aren’t actually his (see the video below).  Anthony Daniels is so incredibly nice and a charismatic storyteller.  I had seen him only once before when he hosted the Stars Wars in Concert event at the Hollywood Bowl a few (2011?) years ago.

Anthony Daniels standing in his footprints

It began to rain pretty hard Sunday afternoon, and I had planned on taking the metro home to shower and change my clothes since I wouldn’t have time before the premiere the next day.  It was so cold so I was tempted to not camp overnight that night, and just get up very early the next morning, but one of my new line friends was going to camp overnight and I had previously offered to share my tent.  Once she arrived, I lent her my umbrella while I went home to shower and change.  I wanted to wait to leave until after an expected appearance by Ray Park occurred.  Ray did arrive while it was still sprinkling a bit, but I was able to get some decent photos and video of him lightsaber sparring with a few of the line members.  My camera got pretty wet, but someone saw me and helped cover me with their umbrella, which prevented any real damage.  I was just hoping the lens wasn’t too wet so that the photos and video would be affected.

Ray Park

I didn’t participate in the line up in the days after the premiere, but I did stop by to say hello on Wednesday which is the night the marathon was beginning (1am to be precise).  Then I went home to eat dinner and take a nap before watching all 7 Star Wars films.

Ray Park lightsaber battles with line members
The biggest question brought up in regards to the line is “Why?”  Why are we lining up for movie tickets which could be purchased online weeks before.  For myself, it was an opportunity to meet fellow fans, make new friends (from as far as Australia), and raise money for a cause.  There were a few line members who kept voicing complaints which sounded quite like feelings of entitlement in regards to special treatment or free items.  I won’t go into detail, but I would always surmise that we were not entitled to anything, and the line up is about “Community and Charity.”
Ray Park
I plan on participating in future Star Wars line ups, because it was fun to sit and chat (even in cold and windy weather) with fellow fans while bringing awareness to the Starlight Children’s Foundation.  I had a lot of fun even when I was freezing, and I’m eager to do it again.  When it comes down to it, “Community and Charity” should be what fandom is about, because I tend to get more enjoyment from the fandoms who raise money for charities together.  I have a great group of friends whom I met via a fan group who did a variety of charitable activities and fundraisers, and I hope to similarly make friends from the same.