Chelsea Duff
February 26, 2017 12:19 pm

The 89th Academy Awards are tonight, and we couldn’t be more excited to watch. But you know what would be better than just watching from home in our PJs? Sitting next to stars who wear designer at the Oscars themselves.

Sure, we could put in the work to hone our craft, get cast in an amazing movie, then deliver a killer performance. In the meantime, we’d rather skip the honored invite thing and become a seat filler instead. Except that’s a pretty hard gig to land, too! But one attendee’s got it figured out.

This lucky guy was a seat filler at the Oscars for years.

In a conversation with CP24 of The Canadian Press, Mark Chiolis revealed that he first got the chance to be a seat filler back in the 90s. He was working selling broadcast equipment and ABC, who airs the Oscars, was one of his clients.

“I said, ‘Hey, I’d like to do that,'” he told CP24, “and they said, ‘Do you have a tuxedo?’ and I said, ‘I’ll get one.'”

Once you manage to score a seat filler job, Chiolis says the process is pretty straightforward. Seat fillers line up before the show starts and, 60 seconds before air, rush to fill all the empty seats and the seats of the stars who haven’t arrived yet. When the celebs get there, you give their seat up and go back to the end of the line. When someone goes to the bathroom, you take their place so the audience stays packed.

“You could be sitting in the very front row, you could be a few rows back,” he dished. “I don’t know how far back they fill. I want to say they fill maybe half the audience.”

Chiolis has been to the Oscars four times. If he was lucky, he even got to stay and watch the whole show.

But it’s not exactly a fun free-for-all.

Chiolis says the opportunity comes with its own set of rules.

And what an experience it is. When we’re watching the show today, we’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for the lucky few in the crowd… and wishing we were one of them.

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