Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Extra Working Extra

I did some more extra work yesterday on one of the films being shot here in Boston. It stars Steve Martin and Jean Renau, a French actor of some heft. It was being shot at the Boston Convention and Exhibition center and it was supposed to be an airport , and it sure did look like one. When the girl from the casting company called me, she said to wear sophisticated clothing. To look like a French traveller, they don't wear jeans and sweats and stuff to travel. They get dressed up . Oh, and it had to be in muted colors-grays and browns. Nothing says sexy and sophisticated like nutral colors. I wore what I think is very classy , my gray pantsuit with my brown silk blouse, and, of course, with a good piece of foundation garmentation underneath.

A lot of being an extra is waiting -in lines, for direction, for vans to take you to the parking lot . Stuff like that there. I had to wait in line to report for work and get checked off and then I had to wait in a line to have my hair approved and then the next line was to have my make-up approved and when all those approvals have happened, I can get my wardrobe approved. So, I get in the wardrobe line with my nifty wheeling Samsonite luggage that my best friend gave me for Christmas last year and I wait to get my outfit approved or to have it rejected. When you get near the top of the line , you open your suitcase or garment bag and show the wardrobe guy/girl what you got. Just when I was about to get to the top of the line some Russian chick cut in to get her second approval and then some other chick had to get her belt chosen (yeah, these are just the extras !) and then the guy got a phone call from someone named Richard. From what I overheard, it did seem to be about business for this movie, but I still had to wait a long time. When he finally hung up, he wanted to know what else I had. He chose a blouse and skirt that I just bought at Kohl's last week (with money I don't have yet) and the same gray jacket from my suit. I was a little pissed about it but , you know , when I was all changed I looked really good. I actually got compliments on the outfit from other actors !
During this whole process, I'm hanging out with my friend Heidi. Heidi and I enjoy each other's company when on the sets. We amuse ourselves and create an impenetrable force field so that we don't have to deal with other extras and their boring character flaws. It's boring enough already,do I really need to listen to your college days in Vermont and the one traffic light in town that you went back to recently and found that they still just have the one traffic light in town ? (true story) Hmmmm ? No, I don't need to hear it. Nor do I need to listen to some old coot who's not paying attention and trying to get us to laugh. That's what his wife is for . Go home and bore her ! Heidi and I can simultaneously carry on a conversation in a barely audible tone and keep our ears peeled for direction. Years of practice, that.
Our main direction was to stand and look at the arrivals board. We got to stay in postition for the whole scene. We were the point of reference for the other extras who are hurriedly trying to catch planes to the far -flung destinations. Heidi and I were rooted to the spot trying to figure when our flight to Istanbul was arriving and/or leaving. We had worked out a subplot where she thought I had the tickets and I thought she had the tickets and then we decide we're just going to hang out in the lounge and pick up pilots. Over the course of our stay in front of the arrival/departure board, which , by the way, was a plywood board painted black, we had further evolved the story to include us having escaped from a mental institution and how retarded people must think we are for standing in front of this board for so long. People must think there is something horribly wrong or stupid about us. We would check our watches , we would look at each other's watches to see if the time was insynche. We were desperately trying not to acknowledge the mother -daughter team placed beside us. They kept inching closer to us as if we knew we were on camera and they wanted to make sure they were in the shot. We had no idea if we were or not, though, frankly , we were pretty sure we were in the shot.
We were close enough to see first postition for Steve Martin and Jean Renau. They were both very profesional . I was impressed to see the consistency and also the slight variations, which was from the director, on each take. They really couldn't talk to the extras. It's an expensive enterprise to produce a film, they don't want to slow things down by yacking with the Extras. One of Jean Renau's assistants, as she was walking away, said "Merde" over her shoulder to him as he was about to film his scene. "Merde" is French for shit. It is also the French equivalent of "Break a Leg".
Lunch was fried catfish, summer squash, eggplant, roasted potatoes, flank steak and chicken breast. On another table was a seaweed and scallop entree, it sounds disgusting but it was really good ! The desserts weren't that great -chocolate chip cookies, melted Friendly's ice cream and some pies. I really liked the catfish. My friend Carol didn't finish hers, so I did !
It wasn't a terribly long day. It was 9 hours. It was tough standing for so long in my heels. The shoes looked great but they're not really designed to be worn for more than 4 hours at a time. I have blisters on the back of my ankles. I drove my friend Heidi to the train station and got lost doing so ! But I got her to her train on time.
I was glad I got to do it. Any day on a movie set is a good day for me.


Blogger Dee-Rob said...

I'm so relieved you didn't visual taking someone elses bag to the airport with his passport in it.

Sunday, September 23, 2007 3:28:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home