Note: all photos used in the post are stock photos from the Internet. No photos of the actual production have been used.
As promised in my last post, I want to elaborate a little on some of the things that might happen if you’re going to be an extra in a movie production. If you read the other post, you know it’s not all glam. Well, most of the time it’s not even part glam. Let’s take a look:
1. You and five hundred other aspiring ‘stars’ will be warehoused in a big holding area where you will follow shouted orders from very young production assistants. It might be very, very early in the morning.
Well, yes, for a crowd scene, you need a lot of people….a crowd. Some of the crowd have done this before but others, like you, have not. Don’t expect explicit direction. It’s like going through Customs in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language. You look around nonchalantly, hoping to catch some clues, maybe sneakily following a person or two who seems to have the right stuff, peering at signs written in skinny marker and therefore unreadable. Finally you smile at a stranger and take the plunge….is this where we check in?
With any luck, the two of you are in the same state of confusion and you will find out together. You sign in and fill out your paperwork: name, address, photo ID, all the stuff you need to be paid. You also sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement saying you won’t discuss the production and its content. (That’s why I can only give general info here.)
Then, off to wardrobe. Again, forget the glam. You will have been given a list of what to wear and bring as appropriate to your role. The wardrobe people, who have 499 other mostly amateurs to deal with, are short and sweet. ‘Like this, don’t like that, do you have another color this, that’s too bright, that’s too white, okay, just go with what you have on. Next….?’ Oh, and never mind hair and makeup. You do that yourself, heaven help you.
I forgot to mention time. I’m happy to report that I did not have to show up at 5 a.m., all dressed, coiffed, and made up. That would have been bad. My arrival time…..the crowd people’s arrival time……was late morning.
2. You will be mingling with The General Public. The General Public comes in all sizes, shapes, colors, ages, delusions of grandeur, and varieties of cleanliness.
This part was kind of fun. I saw two women sitting at one of the many long tables scattered around the room and thought OK, sit down. They looked normal. We bonded. One was a self-described Diva who took lots of photos of us and the other a distant cousin of Larry Fine of Three Stooges fame. Both had been extras in other productions and they took me under their wing.
Milling around the room….the size of a professional sports arena….were the rest of The General Public and this is where the people watching takes on a whole new fascination.
Talk about diverse! Really every possible demographic was represented. Stick thin girls slouching along languidly, staring down from their six inch platform heels at the lesser orders, their male counterparts in those new skinny suits that look outgrown; young people probably cutting school; senior citizens looking like they wanted to run away; a group of guys doing stretches…..gotta be limber…..; muscular guys with big arms, shaved heads, and the required scowls; wow!
And the clothes choices, well…..let me just say that one woman was wearing a hat obviously stolen from Jed Clampett, shredded black lace hose, and a poofy little non-age appropriate skirt. The skirt was not, shall we say, weight appropriate, either.
There was one wonderful woman who danced the entire time. Never stopped. Earbuds hooked in, all by herself, whatever else was going on, standing, sitting, walking….just in her own little world of dance. I mean, she never stopped. I liked her.
And then there were the people who didn’t take personal cleanliness personally at all, and had not done so for some time. The odors…GEEZ, people, you’re in a crowd of strangers! Seriously. I caught smells that other humans shouldn’t be emitting. That’s enough of that.