Thursday, September 15, 2016

Extra, extra, get in the car and lets go.......

Being a movie extra; the good, the bad, and the evil.

My kiddos have developed a great interest in movies and acting and all things drama really, and I get asked all the time what do you do when they get parts so here is my official answer.

I will start by saying if you want to be an extra, you need to be a fairly organized person to pull off what needs to happen before each gig.  You also need to be extremely flexible and have the patience of a Saint.  In the last six days, the girls have had three separate parts on three different projects.  That is insane!

It might appear that being an extra or having a small part would be easy money and a piece of cake but I can assure you, it is not.

C17 is the one who finds most of the parts and makes contact with the directors.  Then C17 and A15 submit their photos and correspond via email with the casting directors.  They are so good at this!  Then they just let me know so I can verify that they can participate, print, sign, and scan forms, and then we wait. and wait. and wait.  The waiting stinks!

When they do get parts, they are not given call times or locations until late the night before, and there is always a chance that the time and location could be changed so you have to be flexible, very flexible.  For example, they might tell you to be here at 4 p.m. and at 11 p.m. the night before, change it to there at 8 a.m.  Crap!  This does happen, it is a stinker, but if you want the part, you do it!

Casting directors can be very picky people, and you want to make them happy.  You will be given a dress code which varies significantly from one director to another from one movie to another.  They might require solid, light-colored clothes.  Clothes with no logos.  No stripes.  No patterns.  Jeans with no holes in them.  Jeans with holes in them.  Shoes do not matter.  No shoes.  Nothing black.  Nothing white.  Dress like a gypsy.  Always bring two alternative outfits in case they do not like what you wear when you get there.  Pulling together clothes like this for each different part is a pain in the butt!  If you don't have a lot of money like me (single mom every penny counts), you have to go to vintage or thrift shops to hunt down your movie clothes.

Another aspect of being an extra is time on the set.  Usually the law will only allow children under 16 to work 4 to 6 hours a day and never before 6 a.m. or after midnight.  If school has to be done on the set while your kiddo waits, then an instructor can have them work on the school work or homework when they are not shooting.

The weather can also be a factor on a movie set.  The show much go on if it is 20 degrees, 95 degrees, raining, snowing, or storming.  My kiddos have worked in both extreme heat and extreme cold.  I definitely prefer the cold to the hot.

You may also have to leave your house at 3 a.m. when the location is far away and since you do not know the location or the call time until the night before, you really cannot plan for it, you have to just go!  This gets really tricky for me since I have a job to support my kiddos.  I am grateful for the amount of flexibility I have in my job, and they are too.

The movie sets are also more fun when the famous actors are on set.  For the most part, they just act like regular peeps.

Did I mention food?  Depending on the production company, there is usually a smorgasbord of food, snacks, and drinks on the set.  Feeding people keeps them happy.

This is pretty much what happens when you are an extra/small role character.  It is not all that glamorous, it is very unstable, long hours, long drives, and weather variations but in the end, it is great fun, educational, and wonderful opportunity.  Even the most famous actors had to start somewhere.

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