Recently I picked up the fun hobby of background performing. You know, film extras! I've been away from the computer all week because I just wrapped up being on set for a new miniseries that's coming to HULU. The job is pretty easy, it's interesting, and you meet tons of cool people.
|What you think BG will be like|
Okay, the easy part is mostly true. It's not particularly hard, but some days on set can be over fifteen hours and you get to do nothing but stand there in uncomfortable shoes and ill fitting costumes.
The interesting part is also mostly true. Sometimes you get to see stunts and celebrities and the magic of film making. You also get to be stuck in the back of a crowd, far from everything, and they are only filming you walk down the street while someone you've never heard of is having a drink of coffee. Over. And over. And over again.
And as for the cool people, again, partially true. Partially. I've talked to some great people
on set. I've also talked to... well, some interesting ones. I've been doing background for a month and I've met some new friends, had a guy come on so strong so repeatedly that I had to complain, had a woman insult me for being vegan (loudly and aggressively, but she asked!), a guy start a fight over A&W coupons, another extra get mad at me for using the herbal cigarette prop I was told to use, and so on. Again, some interesting folks do background!
|What BG is actually like|
|What craft services calls vegan|
But the vegan thing. They are required to feed you on set if you're there for six hours (at least, here in Canada). They do their best to accommodate, but vegans - bring snacks. Bring lots of snacks. Some shoots I've been on have had amazing vegan gourmet food, and some think that cheap mac and cheese counts as vegan cause there's no meat. You will get the non-vegans taking all the vegan food if you don't act fast. Why? Because it's free food and people take more than their fair share every time. Bring your own snacks. If you don't end up eating them, great. If you need them, you'll be glad you brought them.
And of course, when you turn down the free food in favor of your own snacks, the questions will come up. When you say, "Oh, I'm vegan," you'll get everything from "That's cool," to "BUT YOU NEED MEAT RAAARRRR," but I've also found, "Me too!" and made some cool veggie friends.
Being an extra is pretty cool sometimes, but after several 15 hour days in a row in the worst shoes imaginable, it's not so glamorous!