Saturday, April 8, 2017

So your kid wants to start out being an extra in movies...........

My kiddos have been extras in several movies and web series the last couple of years, and I have been very observant of what goes on behind the scenes of these productions so I thought I would post my observations for other parents who have actors in the making.  This kind of work requires an especially dedicated parent who is willing to give, be patient, and be flexible so their kid can have the opportunity to give it a try but be warned, it is not always a lot of fun, sometimes its no fun at all.  I am an encouraging parent, I want my kids to be free and try things they are interested in.  It helps them define who they are and what they like.

The do's and don'ts in random order.

Don't be late!

If you child is 15 and under, you must stay on set with them until they have wrapped up for the day,!

Bring a lot of things to keep you busy.

You will feel like you are in a panic room after the first couple of hours.

If you are a parent staying and you have younger kids tagging a long, they will be exhausted, bored,
and overstimulated all at the same time.

I feel so sorry when I see these kids.

Please, find a babysitter!  They don't need to be there 14 hours.

Don't expect to know what time the day will begin or end.

They will send you an email/text usually 10 hours (if you are lucky) before you should be on set the next day.  Don't bother trying to find out before that because you won't.

You must respond to the email/test right away with a message that they script.

This is blah blah, and I will be on time and lottie dah dah......Don't respond in any other fashion.

Whatever time you start, plan on staying 12 hours after that time no matter what and be prepared to stay at least 2 additional hours.

Also, plan on waiting around for a long time between takes or when you are not in a scene.  Bring something to do.

Be prepared to do the same scene for at least two hours; over and over and over, the same thing!  This is crazy to me.

Try your best not to cancel on them if you have agreed to work a day.  They could blacklist you.

Don't get caught taking pictures on set or of any of the famous folks.

You will get you butt kicked and thrown out.

You can use your phone, just not on set and never aimed at an actor, ever!

Don't talk loud when they are filming.

You can talk but remember, they have serious equipment that can pick up every word you say and that is not good, you could be talking trash, and as it turns out, they can hear what you have said.

Plus if they can hear you, they will tell you to knock it off or leave.

No fangirling allowed.

If you are working with the famous peeps, don't yell their names, run up to them, take pics of them, or even talk to them (unless you are in a scene with them and talking is called for).  Just don't.  Or do and then take your leave.

When your kid gets a "paid" part try to remember of all the expenses you will have to endure in order for your kid to "get paid."  Gas, food, and clothing.

Time spent away from your job and household responsibilities.

It all adds up so by the time your kid gets a check, it amounts to about what you have already spent in order for them to be a part of the production.

In five days, I filled up my gas tank four times going back and forth but this is the kind of parent I am, I want my kids to have opportunities (another reason they are home-schooled).

Bring snacks.  So they have food on set but its not gourmet and is usually high fat, high sugar food, overly-processed.

If you have a special needs diet, diabetes, vegan, etc, bring your own meal.  Everyone gets the same food.

Do your own make up and do such a good job that the make up crew does not have to do anything for you.  They use the same make up brushes and make no effort to clean them in any way between people.  That's just gross!  They really need to use disposable.

Same thing with hair, follow the guidelines that are in your email/text and hope for the best, same brushes, same combs, same everything.  Pray the person in front of you does not have head lice.

The wardrobe people kind of crack me up.  They usually are just wearing sweats and T-shirts so honestly how can they recommend clothes?  Just saying.  They are not all that stylish.  They are nice though.  That's something.

They will tell you how to dress and how many outfits to bring but if you cannot come up with enough outfits, wardrobe will find something for you.

The problem with borrowing wardrobe is that they take your pay sheet, you won't get it back until you return what they gave you or you don't get paid.  Plus you have to wait in line to return it.

The shuttles are so much fun, not!  You have to park in a certain location to be transferred like cattle to another location, usually ten minutes away.

Hope the crew members are all in a good mood.

I will give it to them, they work extremely hard, and they continue working even after the actors are gone.

There is a lot that goes in to keeping things run smoothly.  I personally could never do any of their jobs.  I wouldn't want to unless I had to.

There is absolutely not one thing glamorous about their jobs.  I'm not even sure if they enjoy it.  I would guess not, they are locked in to at least 16 hours a day.  It seems like a pretty thankless job too.  Hopefully, they are making a lot of money.

Prepare your brain to deal with the different types of people on set.

You will find a variety of personalities from the people who think they are better than everyone else, whiners, complainers, and of course, the cliques.

Then there are the know-it-alls who have been be extras once or twice and will proceed to inform you of what to do and what not to do even if you don't ask.  Just smile and say thanks but don't follow any of their advice, for real.

The busybodies.  They just want to be in everyone's business.  Ignore politely.

And finally, the glory-hounds.

These people try to take credit for things in the production they aren't actually even doing.

They will add their own names to the IMDb page above even the famous actors.  Just let them have their moment.  It is all they have to cling to.  It means so much to them.

Adding people to the IMDb page is for the movie people to do, not you.  They may even get annoyed you had the nerve to do so.

So there is my know-it-all advice to you parents of offspring who aspire to be actors (even if it is just for fun and not a serious dream your kid has of being famous one day) is to just chill.  Sit back and relax, its not like you are going any where any way.  And even though you yourself will be broke, dead tired, and playing catch up at work; an experience like this is immensely beneficial for your kid.  It is a fantastic learning experience not everyone has the chance to have.

It can also help to rationalize why a movie
ticket can costs so much.  Think about it.  They have to pay the high budget actors (and have to provide accommodations while filming), the crew, the director(s), the producer(s), the location fees, the shuttle buses and drivers, the parking lots, the caterers, the extras, and who knows else.

They run scenes over and over trying to get the perfect scene.

Some scenes take longer to set up for or run longer.

There is a lot going on and every minute costs money.

I'm not saying I like paying $14 to see a movie, I'm just saying now I understand a little better why it is so expensive.  But that doesn't explain why popcorn is $12 and a Coke is $8.  That is still a mystery.  A mystery indeed.

I hope this helps someone out there with an actor in the making.  I have to wind this up now because C17 has a 5:30 call time in the morning so quiet on the set please!  

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