Sunday, September 6, 2009

House, continued

This was my lovely outfit for the following scene. It took place after a concert in a hallway of the hotel. I really liked the jacket and the tights had gold sparklies in them! Then they gave me shoes to wear...

These boots are admittedly cute. Unfortunately, I do not possess the skill to walk in heels this tall. The muscle strength isn't there, and I need to build my core. Wardrobe was concerned, but I insisted I could walk in them. I staggered around and was able to walk in them after a while (at least a little better). The biggest pain came when I would stand still in between takes for the scene. It felt sooo good to get out of those hours later!
Other than that, it was a great gig. Apart from one woman at breakfast making a comment about daring to eat half a doughnutand getting glared at after I suggested she eat the whole thing because the crew said they weren't going to feed us for six hours. Also, when we were checking out, I got to see a fellow extra have a freak out moment. This can unfortunately be a common occurance among background, and I've been guilty of having one in the past. They can come in all sorts of forms (I started organizing the chairs in holding very aggressively for mine), but the most popular is lashing out at people. This guy was complaining to the PAs checking us out that they never called lunch, which they did. He then went in all directions and was thwarted at every turn. I think he was aware that he should've just shut up, but decided he was commited and forged ahead. He then complained that there was nowhere else to eat, but was told there was a restaurant in the hotel. Then he complained that some people couldn't afford that, and they told him that the show had provided food (mmm... tuna). Then he complained that there was no vegetarian option, which there was in abundance. Not only was there what I had, but there were also two salad bars, pasta and a build-your-own taco bar! Oh, I was so bummed after I'd loaded my plate and saw that I'd missed that. They were also carving prime rib...
I mentioned that extras tend to judge shows not on the quality of entertainment, but how well they feed you, right? House is an amazing show!
So, I've gone slightly off track. When I got to the front of the line, I thanked the lady who signed me out and told her I had a lot of fun. She thanked me right back and told me that meant so much (brownie points! Next time, I'm going straight for the taco bar!)
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Working on House

On Friday I drove many, many miles to work on House. I will not divulge any spoilers (well, not any huge and obvious ones), so I'll just stick to the people stuff.
The first thing I discovered is what a big difference an attitude adjustment can make! When I used to do extra work, I was mainly focused on getting SAG vouchers. That affected the way I viewed everthing: the quality of the show I was working, the crew, the other extras, the food, etc. Obviously, I didn't get me three vouchers, so it made me very bitter. But this time I went with no expectations for that, and it changed my whole outlook on the situation. I was working on a popular tv show, getting dressed in fun clothes (more on that in a moment), eating well and generally having a good time. The upside to this attitude was that I became more aware of the people around my (imagine!) and everyone was very nice to me.
For breakfast I had eggs and tea. For lunch I had tuna steak with mango salsa, seasoned green beans, cous-cous (that's hyphenated, right?) and a pretty pudding cup with a cookie straw for dessert! We ate in the hospital corridor, which is pretty cool when you think about it. One time I did a Saturn commercial and a small part of the 134 freeway was closed off for shooting. While we were waiting as the crew prepared, a lot of us laid down on the road and took a nap. How many people can say they've taken a nap on a freeway?
The first scene was shot at an actual hotel restaurant. I sat with another gentleman with real (questionable) food before us. They asked us to eat, but if my fusion flatbread pizza was bad and they shot us again and again, I'd have to match all of my shots by eating the same amount of food. I know I'm just background, but I think like an actor ;) Fortunately, there was a bowl of (stale sourdough bread at our table, so I nibbled on that during our take. Even better, they only needed to take one shot of that scene, so they sent us back to holding.*
*Holding is where the extras go when they're not being used. Holding can be anything from a separate soundstage in studios, a tent on location or a parking lot with folding chairs and no protection from the elements. This time it was a large conference room on another floor of the hotel.
Once back at holding, we were left alone for two hours. It was then when I realized I'd commited a cardinal sin: not bringing anything to do. I talked with a few people, but we ran out of things to say. I tried to write but couldn't. I took a nap but woke up. I texted and emailed some friends, but received little response because they have "real jobs" (whatever).
Finally the PA (production assistant) came in and told us to go to wardrobe so we could change for the next big scene. I wasn't supposed to in that scene, but I brought clothing options just in case. Out of the clothes I brought, I was allowed to wear my top. Everything else was theirs. Here's what they dressed me in.
Okay. I'm experiencing difficulty adding my pictures from here, so I'll add them in the next post.

Thursday, September 3, 2009


I will be working on a show that rhymes with "mouse".
I'll be a upscale patron of a fancy New York diner.

I'm an Extra Again!

On Wednesday I signed up with Central Casting again. It turns out that if I had renewed my status with them every 2 years, I wouldn't have to pay the $25 fee. But then, I didn't think I'd be doing extra work anymore. Three years of full-time extra work will turn anyone off of it, especially if you only get two SAG vouchers and your third one keeps getting taken away from you.
There are some things I'm going to have to explain for those who know nothing about extra work. If you know about these things, just skip ahead.
First thing you should know is why most people do extra work in the first place. It is not for exposure, although that is fun. Extra work doesn't exactly have a very positive connotation in the entertainment industry. It takes no skill, only a way to get there and adequate costume changes. Therefore some people tend to look down upon those who do extra work as simply taking up space and eating all the food.
The main reason people do extra work is for the SAG vouchers. Most people doing extra work are actors and want to get into the union. When you arrive at a gig, you are handed a non-union voucher (presuming of course that you're non-union). Sometimes, for various reasons (nothing illegal) they might give you a union voucher! This is great because not only will you be paid twice as much for the gig, you can also join SAG once you have three union vouchers and pay an obscene amount of money for the initiation fee.
I spent three hours at Central standing in line to register, but everyone was very nice and I was relieved to get through it. I will be working on Friday.