Wednesday, April 06, 2005

So You Wanna Be In The Movies -- Part 4

A quick shout-out to the folks at the SMG forums, who I've seen in my hit lists (though for some odd reason I can't seem to find the post directing you to my little corner of the web). I can confirm fully the Ms. Gellar had her hair a dark brown, relativley long, and straight. She wore jeans, a jean jacket, and what seemed to me to be some sort of light sweatery thing. Okay, on with the story:

I left out the catering crew in my initial list of production people. Technically, you don't need them, since a PA could simply call for pizza, and come back from HEB with a sackful of chips and cookies to snack on, but a good catering crew can make a major difference in a crew's outlook on life.

The people we have are very good. I've eaten their stuff before, when doing extra work on "Man of the House". The setup here is much the same as before. For breakfast, they lay out an amazing pile of goodies: eggs, bacon, two kinds of sausage, toast, biscuits, gravy, spicy potatoes, and tortillas. This is just the stuff they cooked. Also out are all manner of doughnuts, pastries, yogurt, fruit, cereal boxes, juices, whole, low-fat and non-fat milk. And coffee. I've probably left something out. In addition, they cheerfully accepted a number of special orders like omelets, breakfast tacos, and the like. I managed to restrain myself until the final day, when I asked for some sausage egg, and cheese tacos.

Lunch on each day consisted of a choice of three entrees, plus vegetables in various styles (potatoes mashed or grilled, grilled sliced summer squash, sweet potatoes, and more). And there were three kinds of salad, bread, assorted desserts, ice cream, tea, lemonade, milk…You might say we ate well. I had grilled amberjack, a truly amazing chicken-fried steak, and pork pot roast as my entrees on my three days of working, with assorted veggies to go with.

The smaller the production, the more random the eating arrangements are likely to be. I've only worked "major" productions -- no independents -- and the food on all of them was generally good. But I did hear stories of fourteen-hour shoots with nothing but a light breakfast. So it ain't all gravy.


After lunch, the crew returned to the power plant, but we didn't. What we did was sit there and talk. I was impressed at the number of people who had done this before, several times. One fellow even did some video production work. In retrospect, it wasn't so odd that the people there were old hands. The movie folks only had the plant for three days, and we extras would be in close proximity to the star; they needed people who would hit their marks and not bug the talent.

A couple more extras showed up, including a fellow I'll call G. I missed where G was from originally, but if he wasn't from Texas he should have been, as the man was something out of central casting. I'd brought a book to read, but wound up instead listening to his stories. G had a lot of stories, and never seemed to cease talking for more than a minute or two at a time. In the vast majority of people this would have gotten old very fast, but G had a storyteller's gift. Some of my comrades thought he was making stuff up and perhaps he was, but I knew several of the stories were true and a couple of others had been on the same shoots as he had and were able to confirm some of the others as well.

I mention G in detail because from my point of view he was pretty much the highlight of the afternoon, aside from one curious incident.

At approximately 2:15 a PA showed up and said they needed one extra. Somehow I managed to get myself chosen. This was a risky move, since I didn't know what they wanted an extra for, but it seemed worth it to me. Anything for more camera time!

What I got was farce. I got off the van at the set and was taken in tow by a baby-faced PA (the same one who would later direct me at the top of the plant), who planted me in a spot and told me to wait a second. Then he moved me to another spot, then a third. None of these spots were remotely connected to a shot. Finally, after more consultations via his headset walkie-talkie setup, he said "They changed their minds, we won't be needing you after all." The van returned and I was back at the base camp area. Elapsed time: About 15 minutes.

That was the end of our day. We sat there at the base area and watched the catering crew clean up and get ready for their next day, talked, read books, and generally killed time until the boss PA appreared around 6pm and told us we could go home.

1 comment:

Eleagold said...

Hope your vacations were fun :)
And thanks for the SMG info, it's greatly appreciated!
I really enjoy reading your report and can't wait for more.