After my weekly stint as an extra on She’s Out Of My League I wasn’t sure I’d ever want to do extra work again; the work was grueling. Each take would take like a dozen or more times to complete. Set, camera, action. Reset, camera, action. If it weren’t for the other terrific extras that I met and the fun I made on my own, I’d have pulled out my freaken hair.
It also didn’t help that when I packed for that first day at the airport, I actually PACKED my suitcase like I was going on a REAL trip and my suitcase was heavy as all get out, so picking it UP and placing it onto the conveyor belt was excruciating on my back. I was SMART the next few days, however, and left my luggage EMPTY. You learn tricks after a few days and become a pro after a week.
I also saw a Diva up close and personal. Alice Eve, who played Molly, was a real gem. She was late EVERY day, could barely remember her lines and even had someone get her purse when she left it at the other end of the set. Guess walking wasn’t in her contract. It was quite an eye-opener.
Last year I was called for extra work for the movie One For The Money starring Katherine Heigl, which was filmed partly in the little town of Ambridge, Pennsylvania. I agreed because I wasn’t doing anything the day they needed me and it was a nice hot sunny day.
I must admit, the difference between working with someone like Eve and Heigl was like night and day. And I mean that in the most complimentary way to Katherine! She did arrive in a black Suburban-type vehicle but she KNEW her lines and we didn’t have to re-set a bazillion times so it went much smoother and scenes were cut and wrapped a lot quicker.
There was even one time, after we completed a scene, where Katherine got everyone’s attention and THANKED us! Yes, she actually said thank you. That was such a pleasant surprise and it showed me her integrity and class.
There was a scene that I did in the movie where I had to walk in front of the bail bondsman’s office and Katherine had to enter it. As I was walking, Katherine passed me, and bumped into my purse. I haven’t seen the movie yet, so I don’t know if the scene made it or was cut. I just thought it was pretty neat that I was THAT close to her. After all, I always liked her on Grey’s Anatomy and here she was within inches of me. As extras, we are instructed NOT to bother the actors. Now, if they approach us, that’s a different story, but I didn’t have any approach me. I kept to myself and followed the rules, other than making friends with other extras.
I got a call to do extra work in Tom Cruise’s film, One Shot, but I declined. I just wasn’t up for it. It would’ve been a few weeks worth of work and I would have had to commit to at least twelve hour days. A few days here or there isn’t so bad, but weeks on end—I can’t do that, I have too much going on in my life.
There are a lot of people who actually do extra work for a living. I’m not that into it. I just enjoy the occasional job. I find it entertaining and I like watching a film in action (no pun). If you’re ever interested in extra work, find your local film office. I’m pretty sure each major city has one, like Pittsburgh’s and they have casting call notices and updates on what movies are being filmed in the city.
There are also casting companies where you can submit your picture and contact information and they will call you if they need extras. Don’t fall for the scam that you have to pay for these services. I have never paid a dime and have done two films so far.
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