What's It Like To Be an OTL Seat Filler?
What It's Like To Be An OTL Seat Filler?
By Lu, OTL Seat Fillers & City Guides
updated in November 2023
When you think of seat fillers, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? For most people, it’s visions of a star-studded audience and those lucky few who get to sit in Tom Hanks, Beyonce, or George Clooney’s seat when they get up to accept an award.
Award-show seat fillers have been around for decades. That’s because directors don’t want the television audience to see an empty seat. So, you might be familiar with Seat Fillers and More, as it’s the go-to agency for lining up celebrity replacements.
Now that I’ve conjured up images of the award show seat-filling concept, throw them away. We’re shifting gears here and discussing a different kind of seat filler – the local seat filler.
OTL (On the List) is a membership club for local seat fillers. We’ve been around for more than eight years in the US and London. But, if you haven’t heard of us until now, it’s not surprising. That’s because local seat filling is a well-kept secret as we maintain privacy for our entertainment partners.
The concept of local seat filling works because of that privacy. We never publicize any shows or events, so our partners’ regular ticket sales aren’t impacted.
Being an OTL Seat Filler at the Show
But the name of this post is “What’s it like to be an OTL Seat Filler?” and I’m here to answer that question.
My two-word response is: It’s fun!
I know. I figured that wouldn’t be enough for you, so here’s the scoop.
No One Knows You're a Seat Filler
Being an OTL Seat Filler is being treated like any other paying patron at a show, event, or activity. The only difference is that you’re a secret free ticket VIP! While other people walking through the door might be paying 10, 20, or even 50.00 per ticket, you're on the comp list if you’re an OTL Seat Filler.
Does that mean you’re sitting alone or moving around during the show?
Reservation for Two? For Four?
You’re not just picking up one free ticket at the Box Office, but up to four freebies, depending on your membership. OTL offers two-seat and four-seat plans with all-inclusive monthly dues averaging just $11.
Not only are you treating your guest(s), but you’re there to enjoy the show.
The experience boils down to this: When you’re an OTL Seat Filler, you’re not filling a seat for someone else. You’re filling a seat, period.
When you’re an OTL Seat Filler, you’re not filling a seat for someone else. You’re filling a seat, period.
What Seats Do OTL Seat Fillers Fill?
While I can’t give you specific names (remember, what happens in OTL, stays in OTL), I can tell you that plays and musicals are number one on the list. As an OTL Seat Filler, you’ll see more theatre-driven events than anything else.
Next on the list is comedy. The local seat-filling premise is ideal for comedy clubs. When they don’t sell out, it’s beneficial for them to add to the audience quickly.
Other opportunities include music, dance, burlesque, opera, symphony, and sporting events. Plus, you’ll find that some invitations are to “seatless” events. You might come across the occasional festival, museum, or exhibit. OTL members have also experienced virtual events, escape rooms, classes, conferences, and more.
Being an OTL Seat Filler the Rest of the Time
You now know that being an OTL Seat Filler is like being a VIP patron at local theatres, comedy clubs, and other venues. But, it’s also fun being a part of this unique and entertaining club, as it’s filled with surprises.
Being an OTL Seat Filler doesn’t involve buying tickets. It’s filled with surprises, as you never know what’ll pop up out of the blue. So first, you get the fun of new show alerts hitting your inbox when you least expect it. Second, you can act on those alerts by reserving tickets to shows you’re interested in attending.
It sounds like pretty standard stuff. But keep in mind that you’re not paying for tickets. It’s not like trying to figure out something to do that’s budget-friendly. You’re not only being introduced to new things to do, but you’re always on the comp list.
If You Decide to Be an OTL Seat Filler
- You have access to the private OTL Seat Fillers member area
- Shows, events, and activities pop up out of the blue
- When something is posted that you’re interested in attending, you make a reservation in the member area
- Your reservation covers up to four tickets (based on two and four-seat memberships)
- Tickets are picked up at the venue just before the event
- You’re on a secret seat-filling mission – no one knows you’ve got comp tickets
- There’s no show or event limit – if there’s more than one event in your area, you’re welcome to attend more than one
- You’ll pay nothing more than monthly dues (averaging $11 in the US and £4 in London) – membership dues cover all admission
- It’s OK to cancel anytime – but, c’mon, why would you want to?
Before You Become an OTL Seat Filler
On behalf of my family, I want to say that we’d LOVE for you to be our newest seat filler member. We want the concept of this club to expand and reach everyone who appreciates live entertainment (and free tickets!).
However, it’s not for everyone. If you’re strictly a concertgoer or you stick to a specific genre of entertainment, it’s not for you. If you like having a big-ticket marketplace, such as Ticketmaster or EventBrite, you probably won’t enjoy OTL.
Keep in mind that shows and events aren’t available every day. They’re only posted when entertainment partners need some seats filled or additional patrons.
Free Tickets Really Are Free
Having said all that, unlike with the ticket brokers, you’re not paying for individual tickets. Yes, you pay membership dues whether there are shows or not. However, one event could more than pay for a year’s worth of dues.
So, being an OTL Seat Filler requires patience but pays off with entertaining surprises.
OTL Seat Filler Locations
It’s a bit confusing to figure out where you can be a seat filler. That’s because we recently added a new membership called “On-Call” so no one would be left out of the experience.
Here’s the breakdown:
- OTL’s Preferred Locations in the US – these are the busiest seat-filling cities – Atlanta, Austin, Denver, Los Angeles, and San Francisco
- OTL’s On-Call Locations cover the rest of the US (with a few exceptions) – I suggest you look through our information on this particular membership to get a better feel for it. But some of the best On-Call cities are Boston, Chicago, Charlotte, Nashville, Orlando, Portland, Raleigh, Seattle, South Florida, St. Louis, and Tampa Bay.
- OTL London – a lower-priced membership for UK residents. Keep in mind that OTL is local seat-filling like fringe theatres instead of West End.
If you decide to join OTL, start by selecting your location and pick a plan that best suits your needs.
Questions Before or When You’re an OTL Seat Filler
OTL is a family-run membership club, and we like to keep things easy and upbeat. If you have questions about being a seat filler or need help when you’re one, shoot us an email, and we’re here for you!
We like to think of OTL as an escape from regular life. After all, it’s the most entertaining club around!
OTL Seat Filler FAQs
If you decide to become an OTL Seat Filler, you don't pay anything for tickets. Local seat fillers are part of a club and, therefore, have monthly membership dues, but they're very low (like in the 10.00 per month range) and include all tickets, including admission for your guest, too.
Unlike seat fillers for awards shows that aren't always guaranteed admission or an actual assignment, local seat filling is different. If you're an OTL Seat Filler and you make a reservation for a show or event, your comp tickets are waiting for you and your guest at the Box Office.
If awards show seat fillers are lucky enough to make the cut, they get to rub elbows (maybe literally) with the celebrities, as they move from place to place filling seats as needed. But, as an OTL Seat Filler, you're there to enjoy the show with your guest(s). You pick up tickets like every other patron, but yours are free. And, you're seated with your party and won't be moving around. As an OTL Seat Filler, you're not filling a seat for someone else; you're filling a seat, period.