Friday, June 20, 2008

Long Day's Journey into Night...

Yesterday I worked as a movie extra from 9:30AM until 2:00AM. You read that right. A total of 16 1/2 hours.

Extras here usually get paid $65 for the first 8 hours, then time and half after that, minus 1/2 hour for lunch.

The fun parts:
--hanging out with interesting fellow extras
--being so close to famous stars/directors you can hear them discuss the scene and see the results of the conversations with each take, so it's like a master class
--watching a scene being developed and changed
--the chance of my scene making it onto the big screen
--when the movie is released, comparing what I saw during filming to the final version
--when not on set, getting paid to read and check email
--eating tasty food I don't have to buy, cook or clean up after (often there are yummy homemade desserts and a salad bar that rivals many a restaurant, many times carved beef and grilled fish)

The not so fun parts:
--wearing their shoes that hurt your feet
--the "hurry up and wait." Yesterday lunch was ready, but since extras can't eat before the crew, we sat waiting. The minute we were allowed to get in line, they said we had to rush to we should box up our food and carry it with us.
--waiting for the camera(s) to be reset and for changes to lighting, etc
--uncomfortable working conditions: the set and/or holding can be very hot or very cold, or even very dusty (crew members may actually create extra dust, several times before each take)
--somehow the sitting and waiting is exhausting

I have now worked as an extra on 61 different major motion pictures/TV shows. Wonder who holds the world record?


Eileen said...

I've always thought it would be interesting to do extra work. I am always fascinated by the behind the scenes aspects of film making.

Ruth Kaufman said...

I was lucky in this film to be in a shot with just me and one of the main stars. But I know some people never got to the set, and some who were so far from the action the couldn't hear the dialogue or the director....