Friday, March 11, 2005


The cameras stopped rolling in my vicinity 36 hours ago, but I'm still tired. Since I'm in charge of the home fires, the next day I'm up at 6am (which actually was sleeping in, compared to when I got up on the days of shooting) getting Jake off to school and trying to catch up from three days of missed effort. Poor Trish had much to deal with while I was gone, and getting out from under that as well the normal stuff has left little time for rest.

I managed to scribble about 3 pages of notes about my experiences, which I'm thinking of trying to turn into an article-length…er…article. But that takes time, and since time is something I’m short on for, oh, maybe the next month, I'll let you have some tidbits.

I've been an extra a few times before, but one thing you never realize is the extent to which you simply sit around and wait. And you have no idea how long you are to wait. And even if you ask someone, they don't know, and if they do think they know, they are wrong more often than not.

The food on a commercial production is generally good. And on a major motion picture, it can be really good. Each day there was a full breakfast buffet, with sausage, bacon, eggs, biscuits, tortillas, cereal, fruit, doughnuts, bagels, coffee, juice, milk, yogurt, and probably some other stuff I've forgotten. Lunch was similar. I had grilled amberjack, an excellent chicken-fried steak, and pork roast, plus assorted veggies like roast potatoes, roast squash, grilled asparagus, etc. And of course dessert. We also (sometimes) had access to snacks during the course of the day; chips, candy bars, water, soda, pretty much whatever.

Something few people who haven't actually been on a movie shoot appreciate is just how much of moviemaking is about high-speed temporary construction. Platforms to film from, places for people to stand, reflectors for lights, shades to create shadow, smoke generating gadgets, "concrete" abutments, small offices…simply an amazing array of stuff that is built with surprising speed and attention to detail.

Years ago, I heard a grip say to one of his buddies about Hollywood "It ain't all sunglasses and cast parties", and that’s the truth.

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