NOTE: ALL PHOTOS USED WITH THIS POST ARE STOCK PHOTOS. NO PHOTOS OF THE ACTUAL PRODUCTION HAVE BEEN USED.
Well, who wouldn’t, right? The glamor, the excitement, the bright lights, the fame, the cheering fans……
So when I had the chance to work as an extra in the local area production of a major motion picture, I jumped at the opportunity to add ‘movie actor’ to my life resume. Why not?
The experience I had was many things: exciting, exhausting, boring, frantic, funny…..and much, much more.
I came up with a list of the ten most important things to remember if you want your shot at being on the big screen, just in case you get the acting bug. Here goes:
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.
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.
3. You are a prop. You must move when and where the little PAs tell you, in exactly the manner they command, or risk their exasperation and maybe even ridicule.
4. The set looks nothing like whatever it is it’s supposed to be. Ok, maybe a little, but it’s surrounded by those notorious Green Screens that will, in the final production, make the scene real. Or faux real.
5. You will dress as you’re told. In pre-approved colors. So even if you are indoors and the scene is supposed to be outdoors in cold weather, you will broil in coats, hats, scarves, under the big hot lights.
6. It takes a very long time to do one little piece of a scene. I mean little. It’s done over and over and over…..
7. You will hear all kinds of conversations going on among your fellow extras. You have no idea the kind of things you’ll hear. You will learn new things.
8. You will make new friends, too. Or at least new acquaintances. Be open. Remember: the General Public.
9. You will watch the real stars go through their paces, from stand-ins to rehearsals to takes. Again, it takes a long time. So just be quiet.
10. You will be so exhausted by the final wrap that you will abandon every direction you have been given by those bossy PAs and will do as you please. Also, you and some of your new friends and acquaintances will plot the death of at least one PA. MAYBE MORE. And it will be very late. Very.
So that’s a short intro to what you might expect as you take an entry level job in the motion picture industry. In the next few posts, I’ll elaborate on each of the Ten Points with more details, insights, and descriptions of the fun. Stay tuned!