Friday, February 11, 2011
Extras in the City - Contagion
Is there hair and make up for extras? I thought to myself while smirking.
When I got to the Bill Graham Auditorium, I checked in with a film crew who in turn crossed my name off his list. I was number 123. I was ushered in to fall in line. There were two lines. One for union members and one for people like me who are non members. We were supposed to fill out the form they gave us for employment purposes.
Since the call requires us to wear a winter outfit, I came in my full cold weather regalia complete with a scarf, gloves and a beanie. I could say almost everyone there was good looking. Some may even be bordering on stunning! You can tell by the way they carry themselves and the way their skin glows that they're totally ready for the camera. Speaking of being ready, those who have been cast in a movie before also brought extra clothes that they haul around with them in a suit case. This is in case they'll be asked to play a different background role. On the otherhand, I was far from ready. I didn't even bring a lip balm so I won't look chapped. I've never felt so insecure with my looks until today.
Jude Law is supposed to be on the scene or scenes. We were also warned that taking pictures on the set is not allowed. It is grounds for getting kicked out of the set. There were a lot commotion inside - hair and makeup, film crew carrying radios, costume folks, soldiers, policemen, medical people, people with masks on, the caterers, construction workers, and the crew in charge of paper work. There was a long downtime until a crew started telling us what the scene is all about. Apparently, we are only needed for two scenes. A few moments later, we were asked to leave the waiting area one by one.
Outside, there were a lot of activities, a lot of moving here and there. Some of the the film crew were busy laying out the rails where the entire camera crew sits and would move up and down. Others were busy directing us, the extras. For someone who is coming from a data processing background, the dynamics involved in making a movie was very foreign to me. It takes a lot of work just to capture a scene.
I ended up being paired with an Asian woman and we were supposed to be a couple. We were picked as a small group of walkers so we got separated from the rest of the extras. Our acting task was to walk while Jude Law does his thing. He looked like playing a character that is sort of a reporter. We rehearsed for quite a bit and then we did the scene over and over again. There were times the director would yell cut before I could even make it into the camera's view.
I was excited the first time I saw Jude Law. I guess everyone was excited too. At one point, he was only a few yards away from me while he was snacking on nuts and water. This was the highlight of the day for me. I said Hey Jude! He said How are ya? He seems like a nice guy. He's very handsome and very nice to look at. I can't help but notice his receding hairline and after a while his eyes started looking disproportionately big for his face. Maybe because he's a bit too skinny?
The second scene was not as exciting as the first because I was one of the people trying to get a vaccine and worse, I was far away from the camera. It took five hours to prepare and shoot our two scenes!
I was told the check will be in the mail.
Is there hair and make up for the extras? You betcha! Would I do this again if I get a call from them? You betcha!
(The photo above is a picture of a scene inside the hair and make up for the extras while filming Contagion in San Francisco, Ca)