Saturday, April 30, 2011

My Day as an Extra

(Read post below for the pre-story!)

My call time was 6am and I was told to be prepared for a 12-14 hour day, and to arrive with hair and makeup done for a formal event.  When I arrived, we were not on set but down the street a little.  There were tents and tables set up.  We were told to fill out a time form and then have breakfast before heading to the set.  Arriving at the set, there was a table with everyone's pictures laid out.  We had to find our picture to know what dress to change into, then head to the dressing room before heading to hair and make up.  (Apparently, I didn't need to wake up extra early to get ready as I did)  They had chosen my own dress for me to wear, which shocked me because I was so sure I'd be wearing the first one I had tried on in casting. It seemed a little less formal than the rest of the group but it was comfy so I went with it.

Next I went to makeup, quite humbly, with my chinzits.  I apologized..but also was grateful because I expected them to turn me away for being a chunky monkey with an acnified chin.  They spent quite a bit of time trying to cover those suckers up too.  Then it was sit and wait for a hair chair to open up, and while waiting another make up person grabbed me..I told her I already had been to make up to which she said "You did?!  Have you looked in a mirror?" 

Oh my, I thought, jumping up and into her chair, purposely avoiding the mirror.  I didn't even want to know what she was talking about.  Look, she tells me again.  Cautiously I peer into the mirror and see 2 big white splotches on my face.  Oh phew, I thought it was going to be something like a big clown nose..or maybe she had magnified the acnified chin instead of covered it up.  White big thing.  It was just some moisturizer and powder that didn't blend in.  The second girl spent another half hour on the chin area though, and again I found myself amply apologizing for such a tragedy.

Next up was hair, and I thought they may fluff it up a little and send me on my way, but nope, they gave me a full on up-do.  Seriously in 15 minutes she put my hair back and up with a million bobby pins in a style it would have taken an hour to do at the salon. 

We were then greeted by the maestro of the extras and given instructions on pantomiming. (Pretending to talk without a sound coming out.  Even so much as a whisper could be heard by the sound guys and they'd have to retake the scene.)  I mean, not just the extras in the scene, but anywhere in the building or on the outside could not make a peep.  At one point someone was talking at a whisper and the director grumbled out "Haven't these people ever been on a set before!?" 

Ooh, I couldn't wait to get in there and pantomime!!

It came time to start picking people for the scene.  Hands went up all over the place - pick me! pick me!  And I wondered, seriously is this what it's like?  We have to beg to be put in?  And as I marveled on that thought, they picked everyone for the first scene before I could put my hand up.  But then the maestro said - aw heck, this whole side of the room (my side) come to the front

Since we were going to a ball, we'd need dates.  So, just like a jr. high school dance, the women were lined up on one side of the room and started to get paired up...until maestro got tired and said to the men...just pick a date and get out there.  I was towards the back since the people who raised their hands were up front.  I did not get picked.  Instead, youngen's not far out of high school in all their petiteness wearing their prom dresses from last year were the first picked.  And there I was left standing at the end, dateless and out of the scene.

For 8 hours I sat and waited.  My fancy up-do threatening to frizz, my chin threatening to shine.  Lunch came and went and then!  Finally, all who have not been in a scene yet - head in

I get to pantomime!!

As I headed into the ballroom, dateless, I was placed on a chair off to the side of the dance floor.  Then a couple was instructed to walk in and stand directly in front of me when they heard "action!" pretty sure I won't be seen in that scene.  Another time I was standing drinking champagne and laughing with a group..only that time there were also people standing in front of me.

What amazed me, a single scene of a couple leaving a dance floor, took at least a half hour to film.  And in between every scene, the hair and makeup people were scurrying about, fixing everybody up.  And, as quiet as everyone had to be, we still couldn't hear the dialog between the main characters.

Finally, 12 hours later I was sitting off to the side with 3 other women.  The scene was about to begin when one of the stage guys came up to us and said - You're walking! to us.  I felt a little thrill of excitement at getting to walk right through the scene.

The scene starts and he says - Ready? Walk and talk..go!  Just you two! To the ladies on my left.
After 30 seconds he says it again..get ready to walk!  The other girl I was standing with asks him, Both of us?

The man quickly glances at me, over my dress, and quickly says..Just the other girl.  Leaving me the last one, and scene is over.  Did.I.ever.feel.the.chunky.monkey!  I mean..I really did.  Shortly after the day was over, and I left completely emotionally drained.  I felt bad in a way you shouldn't let a look cut you down but you are self conscious enough that it does.

But ~ I am on the weight loss track and it was a fun experience nonetheless...but it would have been so much more fun had I been skinny.  When that happens, I will jump on the chance to be an extra again.  All in all, it was over 10 hours of sitting there doing nothing at all, but it was a lot of fun too.  And, I got to cross something off my list of things to do before I die!

1 comment:

  1. I know I'm a complete stranger (and I just discovered your blog! I love it) but I have to say that: you are a gorgeous, intelligent, lovely woman (who also writes quite well0. And that entire situation sounds like utter hell (even though you said it was fun haha).
    I'm doing Tracy too! And I really really hope she helps you find the body you've always wanted to have. But you also have to know that you're beautiful NOW and you can be happy (and have more fun) NOW, you really can. The weight loss thing may take a while (slower=healthier unfortunately), so love your life now! Keep working towards your goals, you got this! (sorry to turn into a strange motivational speaker...I'm weird), anyway, I really adore your blog! Bye love.