Sunday, December 2, 2007

Extra Extra

Last week I was an extra in a movie. It was a date with destiny, of sorts. I always knew I'd do this someday, and I must say I have extra talent. On a lark, Katie and I answered a casting call a couple of months ago. We had our mug shots taken and filled out a questionnaire, and then waited. A few weeks later I all but forgot about it thinking that was it. Not so. The day after Thanksgiving the call came. It was for the film Management starring Jennifer Anniston, Woody Harrelson and Steve Zahn. This is not the kind of movie I go to see, but it certainly is one I would be in. We showed up at 6:30 am and found that part of the Portland Convention Center had been transformed into the Baltimore Airport. I's not difficult to do. Airports and Convention Centers have lots of directional signs, escalators, thick carpet, underground parking lots, and lots of folks running around. Ushered into a holding room, the three sets of clothing we were required to bring were inspected for the right color palate-Jewel in this case. My navy blue raincoat was perfect and the gray plaid shirt I brought worked well too.
The first scene was cross traffic in an airport. For five takes, just as I got the cue to walk in front of the camera the director yelled, "cut." This proved to be quite a blow to my extra sensibilities. The frustration rose, I was becoming angry and hyper, and extremely competitive. Fortunately, when I asked Katie, "what do you think we should do about this," she shot back something I'm always telling her to do.
"Be in the moment,"
That's when the entire experience changed. We were then selected to play a couple returning from the best vacation of their lives and placed in a "pod" with five other people. Six times we rode an escalator in front of the camera emoting about a trip that never happened. It was moviemaking at its best. It looks as if we are having a spirited conversation but in reality were bickering all the way down. She thinks I'm moving my head too much, that my antics are over the top. I'm asking her to smile a little and reminding her that overplaying a bit won't appear on film that way, it'll simply look like we're really talking rather than half alive.
After a few hours, the movie wrapped and we were sent on our way. I don't think that Management will be my first film. I'm hoping for an extra career now. I have the time, for the first time in my life. I have the talent. I have seized the moment.

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