Monday, June 18, 2007

Monk and the Curse of the Starving Extras

Okay, so I decided to give extra work another shot. I needed the money, and I'm sure you would do the same in my situation. It was a 2 PM call and would probably only last till dusk at 8 PM. We were to be San Fran people moseying around the Westwood area. I haven't seen the episode, but assume I made it in because Tony Shalloub ran into me quite a few times. My first physical contact with a somewhat famous person. Don't worry..I've washed the shirt since. Along came 8 PM and we still weren't wrapped and the complimentary donuts we recieved were wearing off. I didn't complain...cause I guess I didn't know better, but I found out that they are required to give us a meal break after 6 hours. And since it had been EXACTLY 6 hours, many people were complaining. We wrapped like 15 minutes later, but that didn't matter. A few middle-aged extras were going crazy demanding meal penalties and food and snipping at the PAs. I decided that those people give all extras and even actors in general a bad name. It also made me long for the other side of the camera since I often feel that I relate to the crew much more than the cattle. It's a fine line to walk on and one I will probably continue to walk on as long as I live in LA. Also I learned a new film set term today. They call vans and buses that transport people to and from set and base camp People Movers. Silly, huh? Well apparently people in the entertainment industry need to make up silly nicknames in order to..entertain themselves?

Friday, June 1, 2007

Made Of Honor

No one ever forgets their first time, whether it be their first ride on a bike, their first kiss, their first trip to Taco Bell, their first roll in the hay, and well, their first day as an extra for a major Hollywood movie. I was so excited. Straight out of graduating from USC in Film and ready to leave my mark on my first real professional set. It was for a Halloween party set in the mid-1990s. I was to wear this milk maid costume that I borrowed from a roommate Marian the previous year. The excitement of the day must have blocked my memory, since I had forgotten just how small this milk maid outfit was. Just imagine for a roommate was about 5'3" and I am 5'8", NOT including the 3" heels I was forced to wear all night. They gave me fishnets to help cover my exposed ass, but really I was quite doomed for the night and am shocked they okayed me to wear it. Also at this point I should say that it was about 50 degrees outside and that milk maid costume was irrationally skimpy. Needless to say I was freezing and close to tears, since I knew no one and the shoot was going to go on into the wee hours of the morning.

I made friends with a bumble bee....her name is not important, clearly since I have forgotten it. She had just broken up with her boyfriend. She made my life seem not as pathetic. Joy. There was also a guy dressed as a clown, and for those who know me, you may also know of my deep and RATIONAL fear of clowns. I avoided him like the plague. Clowns really are an occupational hazzard for the background extra. Note to not do anymore Halloween Calls. Then there was my dance partner, let's call him Mike. Mike was getting into real estate. Mike offered me a nice seat on a block of hay next to us. I declined since having sticks shoved up your bare fish netted ass is more unpleasant than standing on sore feet. Mike offered to make out with me on camera. Mike was no longer my dancing partner after that.

Patrick Dempsey finally came on to set at about midnight. Patrick Dempsey is a very small man. He's tall, sure, whatever, like 5'10" but still he is petite. It makes sense I suppose when you think about it. He plays opposite Ellen Pompeo on Grey's Anatomy and she is like anorexically thin and yet....they match well. So, there you go. After dancing to Thriller till 2 o'clock in the morning, feet blistered, and suffering from hypothermia, I was finally released from my hell. And the grand total is...........$60. Nice evening's work. I figured that was my first and last day as an extra. Boy...was I wrong.