Yesterday, I had an opportunity to be an “extra” at a movie shoot (I’m not sure if I am legally allowed to divulge the title so I won’t mention it). I had envisioned what it would be like to be on a movie set—somewhat “glamorous” and maybe a chance to talk briefly with a “star” or at least take a distant photo of them, but it was nothing like I had imagined.
I knew ahead of time the outfit I needed so I made sure I had it—long black gown, glittery jewelry, a small black purse, and dress shoes (I was supposed to be an attendee at a black-tie event). After the costume director looked at my outfit and approved it, I then headed to hair and makeup. I had arrived with an “up-do” but the hair person changed it into a wide bun on the back of head—not the kind of hairstyle I would normally wear; in fact, it kind of reminded me of Evita’s hairstyle (http://www.panam.ru/main/argentina/info/1.html), except I had bangs.
From there I was escorted to the “Holding” area—a large room with chairs. This is where I waited for almost two hours.
Finally, we were brought onto the set—a banquet hall. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take pictures of the set. We were there for several hours as they repeatedly filmed the five minute scene from various angles. Finally, the majority of us, the “Background,” were told to go back to holding. After about an hour we were given “Lunch”—that was around 4 pm.
I noticed that there was a different meal for the crew—they used real utensils and they had steamed broccoli and other fresh foods. Meanwhile, “Background” was given food that appeared to have been frozen or from #10 cans— for example, corn, round-shaped meat with bottled BBQ sauce poured over it, chocolate pudding, etc. The rolls looked good, but were stale.
After “lunch,” we went back to holding then shortly afterwards we were escorted back onto the set. This was a different 5 minute scene, but it seemed to last an eternity due to all the retakes. The leading actor laughed during one of the takes and they had to re-shoot, but he laughed again. I probably would have thought it was funny, but it was past 9 pm at that point and I just wanted to get out of there. Finally, by 9:30 pm I was released from the set.
I don’t think this is something I would want to do again, at least not as a “Background” member. After spending over 12 hours there, I was only paid $64 (base pay, before taxes) and I’m not even going to be seen in the movie. I can’t get back the day that I lost, but at least I can cross this activity off my bucket list…
Copyright © 2016 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti