Okay, this post will be a bit out of sequence. Let’s talk about:
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.
The job description here describes PAs as ‘gofers’ but they don’t agree with that. They are in charge of you bunch of idiots and don’t forget it. They carry clipboards and have earphones and yell ‘Settle down!’ frequently. Because you and the Crowd people are a large and noisy…..crowd. The PAs want you to listen. They have instructions for you. Such as:
‘No talking on the set. Listen to the director. Move quickly when we tell you. Absolutely no cell phones and NO PHOTOS. Don’t talk to the actors. Pay attention to what I tell you. Don’t leave the set.’ And a lot more. These are your acting classes. Listen and learn. Because your rookie mistakes will really annoy the PAs/gofers/storm troopers.
Here is where I will mention a point out of sequence. In No. 10, I say that by the end of the day, you will be plotting the death of at least one PA. And likely more. You will. Collecting candidates is part of the fun.
There was a particular PA who was one of those permanently disgruntled people. Nothing was to her standards. She spent the whole time disgusted with her charges. She frowned forever, and then she criticized without mercy. One particular extra’s transgression was spilling a cup of coffee. Now, remember, there are five hundred people being randomly herded from place to place on short notice, stepping over cables on the floors, lights glaring down, dodging actors, directors, makeup people, everything happening at once. Something could spill. She fumed at the spiller, stomped off (and she was of a size and shape to really stomp), grabbed paper towels, and came back to yell, “This is what pisses me off!” What, a little spillage?
Another prince of a guy whined, “Single file, people. Don’t you know what single file means? Didn’t you go to kindergarten? One at a time is single file.” For the record, I did not go to kindergarten. Nobody paid any attention to him, anyway.
Okay, so your PA gets you onto the set…if this is your first time in movies, well, now it gets interesting.
4. The set looks nothing like whatever 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.
Movie magic happens now. First, I watched a guy spitting faux blood onto a precisely predetermined spot for about ten takes. After each take, someone had to clean up the faux blood and then replenish fresh faux blood in the actor’s mouth. The process was monitored closely by a couple of directors, crew with lights, crew with a SteadiCam, makeup artists….all going on at the same time. In the actor’s face.
This is where we put our acting instructions to use. Our direction (from the real director!): “okay, you fans are in an outdoor arena and you are all for the hometown guy. When I say ‘Action’, I want you to go crazy, yelling, screaming, jumping, interacting with each other. High fives, fist pumps, lots of smiles.
“I will also say Noise or No Noise. No Noise means you just mime the crazy yelling and screaming. The actors will be delivering their lines and we have to hear them.” Mime, huh? It was fun, actually. My two new friends and I were the best mimes in the place by the end of the day. And the most enthusiastic screamers!
Our work has just begun. Stay tuned.
NOTE: photos in this post are not of the actual production.