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LOLO - Linda Evenson, a work-from-home mom who lives high in the foothills of the Bitterroot Mountains has landed a leading role at the 82nd annual Academy Awards in Hollywood.

As odd as that sounds, it sounds even stranger to Evenson.

Giggling like a schoolgirl, Evenson showed off the charcoal gray sequin halter dress she plans to wear at the Sunday gala. "I can hardly believe it myself."

Although the work is challenging, Evenson's job comes with a certain amount of glamour and plenty of Hollywood inner-circle moments: She's in the backstage room when the stars tell all.

On Sunday, after the Oscar-winning film stars say their thank-yous and are whisked off stage, they go to a media room for interviews. While journalists ask the questions, a handful of court reporters are there to dutifully transcribe what each star says.

A professionally trained "scopist," with 30-some years in the business, Evenson is responsible for editing the work of the court reporters, making sure all the spelling and punctuation is correct, facts are accurate, and the interviews are readable and ready for release to news wires and the Internet.

"It's really high-pressure work and you just have to put your head down and work as fast as you can," Evenson said. "But it is really exciting. You get to be in the same room with the stars and you get to see all the people from the big magazines, television and newspapers."

This will be Evenson's fourth time "scoping" at the gala, and this time, the other two scopists joining her are professionals she's trained in the business.

"I'm really thrilled about that, to know that the other two gals are people I trained," said Evenson, who explained that she is a certified trainer for the Internet Scoping School, and anyone with access to the Internet can become trained in the profession.

The day-to-day scoping work is steady, allows people to work from home and to work with court reporters anywhere in the world, Evenson said. Despite the economic recession, there is a growing demand for scoping work.

"People don't know much about this work, and I think half the time they think I'm a proctologist," Evenson said, laughing at her professional title. "But it is important work and it pays well."

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It was through "a series of happy accidents" that Evenson got the Hollywood assignment, she explained. A friend who works for the company that provides editing software for the event called and said the Academy Awards needed a reliable scopist who was fast and accurate.

"When she asked me if I wanted to work for the Academy Awards, my jaw hit the floor," she said. While the job is not a big moneymaker, the assignment is considered an honor and a resume highlight.

Although Evenson doesn't get to casually mingle with the stars, she and the rest of the press corps are given the red carpet treatment.

She particularly enjoys the thrill of the party atmosphere - and the endless decadent and delicious smorgasbord of elegant foods provided by the famous caterer, Wolfgang Puck.

As for downright fun, that begins when the awards show is over and the press corps - Evenson included - retire to a local bar in a five-star hotel near the famous Kodak Theatre.

"All the press go the same bar, and it's just a blast," she said. "The noise in there is deafening."

Evenson's work day will begin at 4 p.m. Sunday when she passes through security at the Kodak Theatre and sets up her computer equipment in the media room to run through some tests and get situated.

A legion of computer techs are on hand ready to pounce on any problem that may arise and get things running glitch-free before showtime at 7 p.m.

During her evening of rushed and intensive work, Evenson makes sure she takes time to look up and look around.

Her view of the stars is exceptional.

"Who would have thought a gal from Lolo would be going to the Oscars?" she said. "I still think it is just hilarious."

Reporter Betsy Cohen can be reached at 523-5253 or at bcohen@missoulian.com.

 

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