Grocery stores, hospital patients, nurses and common people old people walk across the street.We are the movements that often go unnoticed, but without us films and your favorite TV shows wouldn’t be the same.You see, I do background work for several TV and movies during New Mexico. To be not all glitz and glamour.
Most days are 12+ hours, starting at daybreak and not ending until late at night, but I wouldn’t trade a minute of it. Days can be during a scene 8 different times in 4 different camera angles while doing everyday actions like walking back and forth on set or eating a hamburger. Some days if you’re lucky you can get ripped off meaning you have definite airtime which is just doing the same mundane things while trying not to look at the big black camera which is about 5 to 10 feet away.
Now I am by no means downplaying this because this is my dream job. They’re not kidding when they say it’s “movie magic”. To see how the whole crew works tirelessly to set up one scene and break the whole thing down in a matter of minutes and get it ready for another or how the cameramen work with the people in the light to get the right lens flare or move around the cast to to take the perfect photo. There’s so much going on behind the camera that the whole prproduction together.
If I’m being honest, the hardest thing about being an extra is keeping a straight face. If you’re filming a scary or sad scene, the first few takes might be easy to catch up on facade but on take 12, there’s only so much head shaking and pouting you can do before you burst. But I don’t even have to think about the best part of being on set, it sure is the food! I know what you’re thinking, what about seeing? yourself on the screen or the final product? That my friends, comes in a very close second. The food they provide in the background is what dreams are made of. In all my experiences I have not encountered bad catering.
My advice to anyone wanting to do background work is: GO FOR IT. It’s the best job I’ve ever had, the days aren’t easy and the work isn’t consistent, but the experiences being on set are the best memories I could wish for. I’ve met some of my favorite actors and actresses on set and have even been lucky enough to be on one of my favorite shows soon, so what more could I ask for?