Summertime as an Extra

Hey there everyone! I have been so busy with my new freelance writing career that I haven’t had a ton of time to write about my life in the background. So I am taking a few minutes to tell you about a couple of recent experiences this summertime as an extra. If you happen to know anyone looking for a content and copy writer, check out my profile on Upwork.  If you want to work as an extra, you are going to need an additional source of income and this is mine.

Summertime as an Extra

To be honest, things are kind of slow right now. Many shows are on summer hiatus. This means there are a lot of extras competing for a limited number of jobs. Luckily, I have worked a couple of times in the past two weeks and have had some great experiences.

The first one was working on an overnight shoot for Utopia, the upcoming Amazon series I talked about before in this post. I was wary about working all night for sure. But you know what? It ended up being a really good experience. The director and assistant

Summertime as an extra coworker Kizzy
With my new friend Kizzy on the overnight set of Utiopia

director were awesome to work with. They consistently told us not only what to do, but why we were doing it. For example, they were very clear on what our motivation was supposed to be during the scene. Not only that, but they were super complimentary and kept telling us how important we were for the scene. It’s great receiving that recognition because it doesn’t always happen. Thanks 4 Star Casting for scheduling me for this valuable experience. I am a night owl and hence, am never up to see the sun rise. But as I was driving home watching the beautiful colors of the sun coming up, I had a smile on my face as I thought about my excellent night.

In The Movies

Summertime as an Extra bus ride
Our home for the night!

I was lucky that Extraordinary Casting cast me for a movie scene. There were only nine extras this evening and I love it when the background group is so small. It was a fun night talking with some friends I had previously worked with. The night itself was super easy. All I did was sit on a bus the whole time from 4:00 pm until 10:00 pm. Even our holding was on this nice comfy coach bus since there were only nine of us. We had plenty of room to spread out. The scene with a famous actor, don’t think I can say yet who, was also on the bus. All we did was ride around while they were filming. It was pretty easy money, that’s for sure. Finished a lot of my current novel too as we could read while filming.

Summertime as an Extra friends
With Larry H., playing a bus passenger, and Justin K., playing a man who is homeless. I was also a bus passenger.

So that’s about it lately. Hopefully, I’ll become a bit busier in the summertime as an extra. Shows will begin filming again next month and there are some new projects coming to Chicago so stay tuned. Hope to see you soon in the background!

 

Proven Innocent Jury plus Redline Dancing

proven innocent jury plus red line dancing
Marla in blue at the other end. Me in cream on the upper right.

Wow! It’s been a while. I’ve been neglecting my blog lately. But here I am, back with pictures from the Proven Innocent Jury plus Redline Dancing pictures. I have to say, it’s pretty fun seeing yourself on TV. I’m wearing three or four different outfits because the trial was supposed to be taking place over a few days. Actually, we did it in two separate days. Do you see Sam, sitting in the jury box right in front of me? Or check out this picture with my friend Marla in the front row. I wrote about both of

Proven Innocent Jury plus Red Line Dancing
We the jury find the defendant, Madeline Scott, not guilty!

them when we were filming this episode. You can see that post by clicking here. This is also when I was lucky enough to work with my Bama Mom friend, Ana. So here are some more pics from my jury duty!

 

Now, let’s get to Redline. Redline airs two episodes each week and in episode 2, you can find me dancing away. This is the time when I had to go to wardrobe the day before and they dressed me in a long gold dress. You can also read about that job by clicking the link in the previous paragraph. Did you know that

Proven Innocent Jury plus Redline Dancing
Me dancing at the LGBT Gala on Red Line. The main character is on the right.

when you see people dancing on TV, there is probably not any music playing? Nope, they give you a few seconds of the song and then turn it off. It’s kind of weird dancing with out music but I am such a crazy wild dancer and I will dance anywhere, any time. I just love to dance. They add in the soundtrack later. It’s pretty cool. Sorry for the bad photo. I’m just not great at getting good screen shots. I’m trying though so hopefully will improve soon. At the end of the gala, you can find me again with my

Proven Innocent Jury plus Redline Dancing
Look closely!

friend Ahnree. We sure didn’t get much screen time with the amount they were filming us but you can see us if you really look.

Proven Innocent Jury plus Redline Dancing red line pic 2

Since the last time I wrote, I’ve done a few more things. I’ve worked on Utopia, a new show for Amazon starring John Cusack. The first time I worked as an extra but the second time I worked as a stand it. Stand ins are paid a little more and are also considered part of the crew so the benefits that come with that are pretty nice. When the crew is setting up the lighting, camera angles, etc., they need someone about the same size and coloring as the main actress to stand in for her. Literally, all you do is stand around the set all day and when they call, “second team,” you get over there and remain still in the actresses’ position. How did I like it? Hmmm, well I think the stand ins are definitely better treated than the extras but I like the work of being an extra better. But if the opportunity comes up, I sure will do it again.

I should be working again soon for Utopia but most of the shows are on hiatus now so there won’t be a whole lot of time in the background for me. I’ll be sure to keep you up to date. One last thing. A very special lady I know who reads this blog is going on her first audition tomorrow for a commercial. I won’t say who because I don’t want to embarrass her but I do want her to know I’m thinking of her and wish her the absolute best. Love you!

See you next time my friends! Thanks for reading my Proven Innocent Jury plus Redline Dancing post. The Finale episode of Chicago Med aired last night. I haven’t watched it yet but hopefully, I’ll get another glimpse of myself in the background!

Season Finale of Chicago Med

Season Finale of Chicago Med behind the scenes
Here I am behind the scene for Chicago Med.

Have I talked about how I really, really wanted to play a nurse on the actual hospital set of Med? Well, finally, on the season Finale of Chicago Med I did. And it was the very last day of filming for the season too so I made it just in time.

Nurse on Med

I’ve played a nurse before but on Chicago PD, not Med. So when I found out they wanted me for a two day booking on Chicago Med as a PICU nurse, I was pretty excited. I really wanted to be on the emergency room set but this was the next best thing. I was booked for a Friday and a Monday, the last day of filming for the season.

Season Finale of Chicago Med Jody
One of my new background friends, Jody

So on the Friday, guess what, we weren’t in the PICU but the Atrium. I’ve already been in the atrium (that’s the set with the loud steps I previously wrote about) and I was bummed because it wasn’t an inside hospital set. They sure did keep us busy however. My Apple watch said that I completed 15,721 steps for a distance of 6.93 miles and also 16 flights of stairs. Definitely worked hard that day. Which I love because time flies when you’re occupied and busy.

Finally

Season Finale of Chicago Med yummy tacosThen Monday came and our call time was 11:30 for this season finale of Chicago Med. I began my day with these awesome tacos. Sometimes the food is just so good I wonder if that’s part of the reason I love doing this work. And then guess what, we were off to the PICU and I was finally on a real inside hospital set. Yay!!!!! It’s about time. And with it being the absolute last day of filming for the season, it was also my last chance. I was quite a happy camper after that day.

Season Finale of Chicago Med

Season Finale of Chicago Med shuttle to parking
Shuttle back to parking after a 12 hour day

I worked eight days this season on Chicago Med, more than any other show I’ve worked on. To tell the truth, I was a little sad when we were wrapped this last Monday. But it won’t be long. If I remember correctly, Mom and I worked the first episode of the season last July so it will only be about three months or so before I can work again on this show. Since hospital shows are my favorite things to watch on TV, I really do want to spend more time in the background of Chicago Med.

About Time

It’s about time I updated this blog about my background experiences. I think I’ve been a little down lately and not in the mood to write. But here I am, ready to work and ready for my close up.

Mixtape

I recently had my third booking for Mixtape. This was originally a pilot for Fox and Netflix picked it up. Click here to see a video about this. Out of my three bookings for this show, I’ve only really liked one of them. That was the one I wrote about where I was in the conference room. This last one had us meeting in a parking lot and then going to a restaurant. It was a 4:30 pm call time which I do like because I am kind of a night owl. But my evening did not start out very well at all.

As I was turning in to the parking lot, I hit a curb pretty hard and blew out my tire. Well, actually my mom’s tire as I was borrowing her car. My husband had to fight rush hour traffic to come and put on the spare and he was not happy about it at all. So I was already upset about it but this made it even more upsetting. Ugh!

They took some extras over to the restaurant but left a few of us in the parking lot with a production assistant and someone from the casting agency. There were trucks with bathrooms and changing rooms but still, we were in a parking lot. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you just never know what you’ll get so be prepared for anything. Finally, after three hours or so, they took us over and I was used for one scene. Yes, only one and it was with my back to the action. So not really very fun.

Another thing that kind of annoyed me was that I was told to bring outfits for an upscale, business like, after work type of restaurant/bar. Since I’ve been on this show before, I know that they’re particular about wardrobe so I brought a ton of options. But no, we get there and find out it’s a barbecue place and very casual–the kind where you order at the counter and the food comes out in those red plastic baskets. So my choices really didn’t fit the location at all. Gathering and packing all of your clothes for a booking can be kind of a pain as you’re never sure what they are going to want. I try and be super prepared because I don’t want to be that extra, the one who shows up with nothing good. Most of the time, I have found that they like my first choice that I am already wearing but I’ve had to change quite often as well. So it’s important to bring great options.

I hope I haven’t discouraged you from trying to be an extra. While this booking was not the best, some of them are just so fun that it makes it worth it. And that’s just life in the background.

Major Screen Time

Hey there background friends. I have good news and bad news. First let’s go with the good news. I received some major screen time on episode 7 of Proven Innocent. Click here for a link to check out this video! It was pretty awesome seeing more than a fleeting image of myself on TV. The only sad part is that I also worked with my mom that day but I couldn’t find her in the episode. How about you Mom? Did you see yourself? I truly looked but maybe my fascination with seeing myself caused me to miss it. Anyway, it was such a fun thing when I saw how much time I was on screen. If you haven’t checked out Proven Innocent on Fox, please do. You won’t see me again until episode 13 when I am on the jury.

And Now Major Bad News

I guess I won’t be taking a break from background work for the next two months as that job I told you about last time fell through. Yep, it’s true. I had a great interview with the principal and the job was mine as soon as he checked my references. Knowing my references were great, I thought it was a sure thing. But nothing in this life is a sure thing, my friends. I guess the superintendent of the school district did not feel comfortable with hiring me due to the false accusation I told you about before. This situation is going to haunt me forever it seems. If you click here, you can read a letter I wrote to this superintendent. I know it won’t get me the job but maybe she will realize the impact her decision has had on me. I even asked her for advice. I am pretty sure I will never receive a response but if I do, you will be the first to know.

Major Screen Time Key West View
My awesome view of the Atlantic Ocean

I’m sad. I am very sad about this whole thing. I’m still hanging in there and having faith that God will show me the way. Maybe it is time for my teaching career to be over. Maybe my talents are needed somewhere else. Who knows? But, in all honesty, my faith is wavering today and I ask for your prayers in helping me recover from this recent set back. Looking on the bright side, if I have to be sad, it might as well be as fun of a place as is Key West. With this view from my balcony, it’s hard to not notice God’s wondrous world.

Another Mixtape Booking

I had another Mixtape booking yesterday. It was a lot of fun because I did not have to spend the entire day in holding like last time. Other than the beginning of the day when we were checking in and seeing wardrobe, the rest of the day was spent on set. I like that much better because there is always something going on, even during my down times.

Another Mixtape Booking James and I waiting
Waiting our turn on camera with James.

Another Mixtape Booking

Since I had been cut from working on Mixtape the previous week, I was very happy to have another booking.  For this booking, I played a DCFS Social Worker at a DCFS office. One scene I was in had us around a conference room table. It was me, three other extras, and the four actors. I love when we are able to work in small groups like that so much more when there is a huge group of extras. The whole day just feels more personal.

Where Did I Just See Her?

When one of the actresses entered, I knew I had just seen her on something. It took me a few minutes but then remembered she was on The Resident that I had just watched the night before. Her name is Jenna Dewan and you can click here to read more about her.

Another Mixtape Booking the guys
The other James and Brian – Don’t we look like social workers?

At first, I was supposed to be sitting right next to her which would have given me great camera time. But because I was wearing the same color they moved me across the table from her and I don’t think you’ll see much of me at all. Oh well. I also did a scene where I was just walking in the hallway. As long as you remember when you’re supposed to go, it’s pretty easy.

It was a good day as a background actor. The pictures are of James, Brian, and another James. All super nice guys. As you know from my previous post, I’m going to be out of the background for a little while but I’ll be back before you know it because I am so hooked on being in the background.

A Lot Happening in the Background

There has been a lot happening in the background, the foreground, and everywhere around. Last Friday, I was supposed to work on Mixtape.  But around 9:30 pm, I still hadn’t received my call time or wardrobe requirements.  I was going to wait until 10 pm to send an email but shortly after I received an email from 4 Star Casting that supposedly some of us were sent an email a few days before cancelling our booking but for some reason we did not receive it. I have to admit, I was a little ticked off as I had passed on submitting for a couple of other shows. I don’t know if I would have been chosen for those shows but at least I could have tried.

A Lot Happening in the Background head shot 3
My new head shot #3

And to top it off, I had even been to the thrift store the day before to buy some dresses for this booking. It was supposed to be for a Hollywood Hills party and be on the fancier side. I have found thrift stores to be great to add to my extra wardrobe. I wouldn’t want to spend full price on something when I make as little as I do. But wardrobe is important if you want to be booked to work, so make sure to have a diverse collection of choices.

So, I was not happy but said, oh well, and let it go. And guess what? Another sign that the Good Lord is taking care of me. I received a phone call from a principal on Friday asking if I could teach 8th grade Language Arts for the rest of the school year. Now, you know what I’ve been through with my teaching career so this is kind of a big deal. It is going to be difficult to find a position again after everything that happened and my age does not help as well. School districts don’t want to hire someone with my experience because they would have to pay me more. So this call was pretty important and had I been working on Mixtape, I would not have been able to take it. Since the following Monday was that school’s Spring Break, I had to go in an interview that day!

Big News

A Lot Happening in the Background head shot #1
My new head shot #1

Yes, I will miss being in the background for two months, but really, it’s only two months and I need the money big time. After that, who knows?! And that brings me to my next bit of news. The previous Saturday I went to an open casting call for Gill Talent.  It’s kind of funny because I really didn’t even know I was going to an open call. One of my background friends mentioned that she had recently signed with them so I had emailed them and they said to come in the next day. So I did. Everybody was there with their professional head shots and I didn’t even have any. Instead of a true resume, I gave them a resume that explained how my teaching skills would translate well to acting as well as a couple of pictures of me at the bottom. I had to do a cold read with another girl and we had five minutes to practice before we went in the audition room.

When it was our turn, we walked into the room to find three talent agents sitting at the table. They asked for our resumes and head shots and here’s me saying, “I don’t have a head shot yet.” I really thought they would think “Who is this crazy lady coming in here with nothing?” They said they would let us know if they were taking us on as clients in four to five days. In all honesty, I really didn’t think anything would come of it and had kind of let it go from my thoughts.

Then the following Wednesday I received an email that said they wanted to represent me! Seriously! I now have an agent. I am really hoping for a commercial or an industrial. Industrials are videos for corporations for training or other purposes. I think my skills as a teacher, and a great one despite everything, would be wonderful for this. But the work is still up to me. They might send me on an audition, but I have to do the work that will land me the role. This means be prepared. Yesterday, I was again working on Mixtape and asked those in the know what they thought about my new agency and was happy to hear that they are very good and reputable.

A Lot Happening in the Background head shot no glasses
Head shot without glasses

SO NOW I HAVE AN AGENT! We’ll have to see what becomes of this and I’ll be busy teaching for the next couple of months so it may be nothing until summer. Or maybe nothing at all, who knows? Life is crazy, isn’t it?

A Break from the Background

I’m about 95% sure I have this temporary teaching job. The principal is on vacation and is planning to speak with my references when he returns. As long as everything checks out with that, the job is mine. And I know my references will say only good things about me so, barring some unforeseen thing, I will be taking a little break from the background. Sad, I know. I love being an extra, most of the time.  But returning to the classroom will be a wonderful opportunity for me. I can reaffirm that I am an excellent educator and will hopefully leave this with a great reference that will help me obtain a full time position the following school year.

I’m planning on keeping this blog going, even during these two months so I’m not disappearing, just taking a little break from the background. I do have one more post about another Mixtape booking so be on the lookout for that and hopefully it’s not too long before I see you in the background.