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For when your thoughts are drifting to things not so movie, or if you're feeling trivially inclined.

Ever been an "extra" in a movie?
Topic by: shiftless
Posted: March 24, 2009 - 3:32 PM PDT
Last Reply: May 16, 2010 - 7:27 PM PDT

author topic: Ever been an "extra" in a movie?
post #1  on March 24, 2009 - 3:32 PM PDT  
I just finished 2 days on the set of All About Evil as an "audience member" during a horror/gore film festival. I'd never been an extra before and I had a great time! Projectile vomit, poison kool-aid and lots of blood and stab wounds, this movie had it all (all in the final scene!).

The first day was with Cassandra Peterson (otherwise known as Elvira, Mistress of the Dark),Thomas Dekker and local draq stars Peaches Christ, Heklina, Martiny, and Putanesca. The second day was with Natasha Lyonne and Thomas again (and others too). Peaches Christ is directing the film. Natasha was hilarious even when cameras weren't rolling. It did get quite boring (and long) in between takes but I brought a book to read.

I got lucky yesterday and was picked to be the last man in the theater clapping all by myself when the film in the theater ended, empty seats and dead people all around. I had so much fun and every one was very friendly and enthusiastic. I am wondering if that is typical.

Ever been an extra? What was your experience? I'm going back for 3 more days later this week and next, and even though the hours are super ate, I'm still looking forward to it!
post #2  on March 25, 2009 - 12:57 PM PDT  
It was kind of boring and I got slightly sick on popcorn, that's what I remember.
post #3  on March 25, 2009 - 2:51 PM PDT  
Sounds like a really fun set and experience, Shiftless!

I've been an extra several times. The first was when I was in HS ages ago, in a mediocre golf comedy HBO movie. I played one of hundreds of golf fans, told to cheer at the right times. Pretty dull, though it was pretty pleasant to spend a couple of days on a lovely golf course and get free lunch out of it.

When I lived in LA and was struggling to make ends meet I did a few extra gigs just to make a few bucks. One was for that really bad Garry Shandling/Greg Kinnear/Annette Bening comedy, dir by Mike Nichols, What Planet Are You From? Which given the pedigree I figured would be good. It wasn't but being on the set was great fun. I played an airline passenger (there are several scenes on planes, and Shandling's alien escapes through being flushed out the toilet). We had to jump and feign horrible turbulence, etc. Anyway you can barely see me in the finished movie, maybe 1 second of me and then way in the b.g. Was fun to be nearby larger than life John Goodman in that scene though. He was quite funny. I was also an extra in a made for TV movie that I can't even track down, was like a Lifetime movie. Barely memorable except some of it was a period piece so it was fun to hang around character actors dressed like 50s cops and so on. I was a hospital orderly in the b.g. Filmed in an abandoned hospital in LA.

(This is not counting the short films that friends shot that I popped into, and vice versa...)

It's funny you were in that project, shiftless, because just recently my stepbrother helped finish shooting a low-budget film remaking Whatever Happened to Baby Jane with drag queens.

post #4  on March 25, 2009 - 3:49 PM PDT  
Oh I do hope you aren't talking about the same movie set. The "prop corn" was disgusting and not supposed to be eaten!

Underdog, if that drag queen Baby Jane movie comes out, please announce it, it sounds like great fun!

And yes, it does get boring between scenes/takes but since I was never on a set before I was learning a lot about how a film gets made, so it was still interesting to me. Plus I was really digging my book, so down time was equally fun... :) It didn't hurt that I got to be a somewhat featured background person, it made it all a lot better.
post #5  on March 26, 2009 - 10:57 AM PDT  
Only once when I was assistant to the director for The Scorned, and they needed more people in the party scene. They got an actual keg, so, drinking on the job - not too shabby! I did get nervous when they instructed me to cross a scene in a specific direction while being semi-fondled by one of the PA's.

Sounds like from your experiences being an extra is at least more fun that being a PA, and probably the same pay. That is awesome you got to be the only "live" extra in the shot, shiftless! What did they use for dead bodies surrounding you?
post #6  on March 26, 2009 - 11:57 PM PDT  
All the dead people were the other extras, plus a stand-in for one of the main characters. Today was another long day. I'm going back to do scenes of crowds escaping. Apparently fire will be involved (Probably not really)!
post #7  on May 5, 2010 - 3:21 PM PDT  
I was an extra in Leap of Faith. Found watching the director and the crew a lot more fascinating than watching the actors. During a break, Meatloaf was trying to inspire the extras or something, and turned to me during some holy-roller responsive type rant, and I was completely tongue-tied. So embarrassed I couldn't respond immediately. Ironically, in my head I had a comeback about seeking paradise at night, etc., but...
post #8  on May 16, 2010 - 1:17 PM PDT  
> On May 5, 2010 - 3:21 PM PDT artifex wrote:
> ---------------------------------
Found watching the director and the crew a lot more fascinating than watching the actors.
> ---------------------------------

I agree with this. Watching the lighting guys set up and the camera crew were the best part. I didn't get a lot of chances to interact with the principle actors, just some chit chat. I really never have anything to say to people I don't know. Natasha Lyonne and Jack Donner were by far the most entertaining.

Incidentally, the teaser trailer for All About Evil is up on YouTube:

All About Evil teaser trailer
post #9  on May 16, 2010 - 7:27 PM PDT  
darn, the link is broken now, must have replaced the video, here's an updated one:

All About Evil trailer

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