Ever since I was a little girl I always wanted to be a movie star. The lights, camera, fame and glamour pulled me like a magnet. I practiced walking, talking and posing in front of my full-length mirror nearly every day. I got caught practicing my lines, my Oscar winning speeches and just plain talking to myself on a regular basis. One would think my parents would’ve signed me up for acting classes considering how well I could act—never know, I may have gone far. But parents of my generation didn’t usually push their children to pursue dreams—it wasn’t practical.
My parents taught my siblings and me morals and good work ethics and we either got jobs right out of High School, went to college or into Military. I worked hard and found myself at the top of the corporate ladder at a very young age and earning more money than most of my peers, however the Silver Screen still called to me, but I drowned it with everyday life, family and hobbies.
In 2008, the voice grew louder and prompted me to send my picture into a casting agency. Lo and behold, I received a telephone call asking me, “Can you be in the movie She’s Out of My League being filmed at the airport this week?” That was like asking me if I needed coffee in the morning! Barely able to hold the pencil, I wrote down all the shoot information, then set about organizing my wardrobe as instructed.
While packing my bag for the shoot, I imagined all the scenes I’d be doing the next day. Never lacking in the imagination department, I of course would be pulled out of the crowd of extras and asked to perform a speaking park, which would obviously catapult me into instant stardom! Needless to say, I didn’t sleep a wink that night, with all the scenarios playing like a motion picture in my head.
My images of instant stardom were turned to star dust when I arrived on set the next morning and saw over a hundred other extras. And my dreams of being spotted and cast into my own movie were dashed when I realized I would probably be total blur in the background.
After fourteen takes of the SAME scene, the reality of movie-making hit me like a ton of bricks. It wasn’t as glamorous as I had imagined, but really rather grueling, well at least for the extras, that is.
Three, thirteen hour days later, I was FINALLY picked to do an up-close camera scene. By that time I was too tired to even muster the appropriate excitement. Plus I had learned that even if you get a close-up, there’s a good chance it could end up on the cutting room floor. The close-up went well—we only had to do it three times.
During my week of shooting, I met a lot of interesting people and saw firsthand how much hard work goes into making a film and I’m definitely more aware of the background and extras when I watch movies. But my starry eyes aren’t so starry anymore.
And, if I’m asked to be an extra for another movie?
Let’s just say that the work I did on Katherine Heigl’s movie, One For The Money, wasn’t nearly as grueling!