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!

 

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.

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.

More CONRAD Fun

More CONRAD Fun gum scene
The famous chewing gum scene!

Here is some more CONRAD fun from day two of this booking.  First of all, click here to check out this Tweet.  It has a fun scene that had us giggling, but we held it together for the actual shoot.  So fun!

Fun on Set and New Friends

I had such a great time getting to know new people so had to take lots of

More CONRAD Fun Consuella

pics.  First of all, Consuella was super fun to talk to and we discovered that we have worked a show or two together before.  Most particularly, on Proven Innocent when she played the defendant’s aunt.  What a nice lady and I hope to see her soon.

More CONRAD Fun with my "husband."
Bob and I ready for our closeup!

And did you know I have a new husband now?  Ha, ha!  Not really, just on TV.  This is Bob and we were supposed to be a husband and wife duo.  All we did was exit the building and walk away holding hands.  Everyone thought we made a very cute couple.  So funny.  But really, he was a super nice guy and a great addition to our holding room group.

Here is a cute pic of two of the younger girls.  Deb and Ashley were

More CONRAD Fun with Ashley and Deb
Ashley and Deb

 

having a lot of fun and the other pic is of Kristi Hum-Dell.  Kristi was the first Assistant Director and she couldn’t have been nicer.  I loved working with her.  Hopefully, CONRAD will be picked up and I will again.  That’s it for CONRAD.  Stay tuned for more pics from my Empire booking and also my booking for Mixtape.  Can’t wait to see how that one will go!

More CONRAD Fun
Kristi Hum-Dell AD extraordinaire

Getting Busy in the Background

Thinks are starting to heat up and I’m getting busy in the background! This week I am working on three shows; CONRAD, Empire, and Mix Tape.

Getting Busy in the Background

My week started off with a booking for Chicago Med. With a 5:30 pm call time, I thought, “Oh no, it is going to be a late one!” But I was wrong. Just as I’ve said before, you never know what to expect. In fact, they didn’t even use me at all. I sat there for 3 Getting Busy in the Background holding

On set for CONRAD–holding area

1/2 hours and then we wrapped. Don’t worry, however, as we’re still paid the whole 8 hours whether we work that long or not.

So I was okay with not being used. It happens. This was the first time it had happened to me so that’s not too bad since I’ve been doing this a little while now. Although, when I started, my goal was to be in the ER set on Chicago Med. Still no go. I was so close! Literally, right on the other side of the fake wall of the set. Oh well, just gives me something to look forward to. I’ll get there someday.

CONRAD, Empire, and Mix Tape

These are the shows on which I am working this week. Click here for a link to CONRAD. This is a brand new show that hasn’t even been picked up yet. In fact, that’s where I am right now–sitting in holding updating my blog. And I’ve been in holding all day! My call time was 7:00 am. Here it is 1:30 pm and I have not been placed in a scene yet. There are only about ten of us Background actors here so I know I will be used, just not when. And I’ll be back tomorrow too. Hopefully I’ll be a bit busier.

Getting Busy in the Background friends
Janaan being patient while we wait for our scene.

At least I have other extras to keep me company! Here is my new friend, Janaan. Talking makes the time in holding go faster so I always appreciate having the other extras around.

On Tuesday I will be working on the season finale of Empire. Still haven’t worked that one so pretty excited about it. And on Friday, I’m working on another new show. It’s called Mix Tape and it will be on Netflix. You can click here to find out more on that one. Looks like it’s going to be so fun. That’s all for today. Stay tuned for how things went on my three shows this week! Hope to see you in the background!

Me On Chicago Med

Hey Background friends!  Check out the above picture.  Do you see anyone you know in the background?  Yes, that’s me on Chicago Med.  And Dr. Halsted seriously needs a haircut.  By the way, his real name is Nick.  I met him in wardrobe when I was being fitted for a feature role on Chicago Fire.  Very nice guy!

Me On Chicago Med

Yes, it’s blurry but it’s me!  I was walking up this staircase directly behind the two actors in this scene.  And had a little trouble with it too.  Even though I was wearing tennis shoes, the stairs were loud.  After the first take, the 2nd Assistant Director asked me to try and walk with less noise.  After the second take, I looked like I was tiptoeing.  So I practiced on these stairs a bit and think I finally did okay.  They told me it wasn’t me and that these stairs were just loud so I didn’t feel too embarrassed but still, can’t they just make the stairs quieter?!

Me On Chicago Med staircase
The loud stairs on the set of Chicago Med

Here is a picture of the same staircase when I worked last week on Chicago PD.  You really shouldn’t take pictures of the set while you’re working.  But I did ask permission and made sure that I didn’t show any upcoming scenes.  I just knew I was going to write about my staircase dilemma and wanted a pic.  Again, I asked permission.  I guess it has been a problem with people taking pictures on the set and posting on social media.  I still haven’t worked on Empire but I hear they don’t even allow you to use your phone at all.  Apparently, someone released some footage which resulted in them having to re-shoot an entire scene.  That’s just what I heard, please don’t quote me as I do not have any of the actual details.

Chicago PD Booking

Me On Chicago Med nurse on PD
Me as a nurse on Chicago PD

My Chicago PD booking went very well.  We were on Med’s set, as I said above, and it was kind of cool that the crew had never used this set before.  The 2nd AD asked us what we usually do when on this set and I was able to tell her.  Also, they used my name when directing me which is nice.  You have to realize, there are a lot of us extras and usually we’re not referred to by name so it’s makes it special when we are.

For this episode, I played a nurse.  Check out my uniform!  I have been wanting to play a nurse on Med for quite some time now.  It wasn’t for the show Med but hey, PD is the next best thing.  Also, I was a bit disappointed because I have been dying to work on the ER set of Med.  When I was booked to be a nurse, I was hoping.  But no, maybe next time.  All in all, it

Me On Chicago Med waiting for scene
Waiting for our scene at Cinespace.

was a pretty easy day in the background.  We arrived at 3:30 pm which makes for great mid day drive time in Chicago’s traffic and left by 8 pm.  Again, a nice easy drive home.  I am not a morning person so I much prefer an afternoon call time over those hellish 5:30 or 6:30 am ones.  After we checked in and went to wardrobe, we were only in PD’s holding area at Cinespace briefly and then went to our second holding area on one of the stages not being used.  You can see that picture here.  Thanks for reading about me on Chicago Med and Chicago PD.  See you next time in the background!

 

Two Days on Proven Innocent

Here we are, back working in the background.  Read below about my two days on Proven Innocent.  I love two day bookings.  It’s nice knowing exactly where you’re going and you are able to see the same people two days in a row.

Two Days on Proven Innocent

Two Days on Proven Innocent me and Anna
My Bama Mom friend and me with our Bama gear. Roll Tide!

Hey There!  I had a great two days on Proven Innocent last week.  The first day my call time was for 9am and I didn’t check out until 1am.  A very long day, that’s for sure!  You just never know how long you might be there when you’re working as an extra.  So if you’re interested in doing this work, make sure you have the entire day free.  I’ve had call times from 5:30 am to 7pm.  And you won’t know until the night before what time you will have to be there.  So be prepared for anything.  The second day was better as my call time was 12:30pm and I was finished by 7pm.  Much better hours but no overtime pay.  As of February 2019, this job pays $96 for 8 hours.  You receive a full 8 hours pay even if you don’t work that long.  After 8 hours, it is then time and a half, which works out to $18 per hour.  The day might be long but the ensuing check is very nice.

Two Days on Proven Innocent Marla and I
Marla and me on Proven Innocent

I had a very nice surprise for this booking too.  I was booked as courtroom gallery so I would have been sitting in the courtroom all day.  That’s still what I did but instead of the gallery, they chose me to be a juror.  I’m not sure why they still needed more jurors as some people were originally booked as one, but they did and I was in the right place at the right time.  The Production Assistant (PA) was looking for another juror and I just happened to be right in front of her.  So I’m hoping to catch a glimpse of myself as a jury member when the episode airs.  This was for the season finale so I have a little time to wait but the show will air starting on February 15, 2019 so be sure to check it out.  It’s going to be a good one!

Friendly Faces

Two Days on Proven Innocent Heather and me
Heather and I on Red Line

I am starting to come across some of the same people when I work as an extra and am not only recognizing faces, but knowing names as well.  What I’ve really noticed is how friendly everyone is.  I have found that the other extras are usually quite nice and helpful too.  One of my friends, Anna, started doing background work recently and we were lucky enough to work together this time.  I know Anna because she ran the parent group for the university my daughter goes to–The University of Alabama–Roll Tide!  So it was great to be able to hang out with Anna for two days and we had a blast.

The last, and only, time I had a two day booking I met Heather.  And she was there for this one too!  She is so nice and I love working with her.  The first time we worked together was in September on Red Line.  That show will air in April.  We were dressed to the nines for a fancy gala

Two Days on Proven Innocent Heather and I on PI
Heather and I on Proven Innocent

and while the conditions of the job were a bit difficult, we made it fun and had some great laughs.  You might be wondering what was bad about it.  Well, it was quite hot the first day and very muggy as well.  We began the day at Studio City in Chicago for check in, wardrobe, and makeup.  We then boarded nice coach buses to the sight of the shoot but our holding there was a large tent outside.  There was no floor and our heels kept sinking in the grass.  The tent was unbearably hot and the bees in September just won’t leave you alone.  The lesson here is be prepared for anything and try to make the best of the situation.  The other extras really don’t want to hear your complaints.  Be the positive one!

Two Days on Proven Innocent Sam
Sam in the holding area for Proven Innocent

Check out the pictures with people I spent time with during my two days on Proven Innocent.  It was the second time working with Marla and Sam and my first time working with Kathy.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to see everyone again soon.  That’s all for this week.  See you next time in the background!