Booked to Work

Yeah!  I have been booked to work this Friday on Chicago PD as a nurse.  This will only be my second time on this show.  I apply and apply and just when I thought they would never call again, they did!

Booked to Work

It’s time to get back to work.  I have just returned from a long weekend cruise with my Bama mom friends.  I never knew when my daughter chose the University of Alabama that I, also, would be having so much fun.  But I have drunk the Crimson Kool Aid and am now a huge fan.  There is actually a cruise for Bama moms.  The only requirement is that you have a child who is a current or former student.  It’s a great group of ladies and we have a riot.  The picture at the top of this posting is of me and some of the other Bama moms.  I have to admit, I was pretty tired after a weekend with these girls.  But life can’t be all fun and games so it’s back to reality–or back to the background.

Since I was out of contact with very limited internet, I really wasn’t expecting to have a booking this week.  You have to follow the postings quite closely and submit right away.  Luckily, I was checking my Facebook today and the posting had just arrived.  You have to submit right away if you want to be considered.  So how do I keep up to date without spending every waking minute on Facebook?  Well, hold down where it says “following.”  When you do that, you will notice a “see first” selection.  I choose this and also have FB notifications turned on so I can see when a posting comes across.  For Chicago PD, you need to follow New Deal Casting.  Click here for their Facebook page.

Booked to Work Chicago PD
New Deal Casting Facebook page
Booked to Work Chicago PD 2
Click on “see first.”

This booking is for season 6, episode 17 so look for me if you’re a fan of the show.  I love when I’m booked to work and excited to return to PD.  That’s all for now.  I’ll post an update after my booking.  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!

Being Released

Remember my last post when I said I was so excited about working on Empire.  Well, sad news; I received an email stating that I have been released.  Being released means that they no longer need you.  So even though you have been booked, sometimes plans change and you’re out of a booking for that day.  Not to worry, though!  While I lost the one day booking for Empire, I gained a two day booking for Proven Innocent.  And that has been my favorite show to work on so far.  I have also greatly enjoyed Red Line which doesn’t air until April I believe.  Great crew and the assistant directors are very nice.

Being Released

Don’t be upset if this happens to you.  It doesn’t happen often.  In fact, I have been doing background work for about 8 months now and this is the first time it has happened to me.  You can’t take stuff like this personally–you would go crazy if you did.  Maybe the production schedule changed.  Maybe they booked too many.  Whatever the reason, it isn’t you.  And just like this time, perhaps something even better will come along.  I believe Proven Innocent is filming their finale and I’m super happy about being a part of that.

Being Released - weather in ChicagoStay Safe Background Friends

It’s cold here in Chicago.  It is cold even for a city that is used to cold.  Check out the picture of what we’re expecting for tomorrow.  I know Chicago PD canceled their outdoor shoot and the shoot I am doing will be indoors, but just getting from one spot to another can be dangerous in the super sub zero temps we will have here tomorrow.  Dress properly!  Hats, gloves, scarves are not only useful, but necessary.  Frostbite can happen within minutes.  Your body will react as it’s supposed to.  It will concentrate blood flow to your vital organs which takes it away from your extremities.  This could cause a change in blood pressure so if you have issues with that, be aware.  Also, if you’re driving, have emergency supplies in your car.  You should have a warm blanket, water, a snack, and cables to jump your battery.  With my car sitting in the extras parking lot all day, I don’t want to go to start it and then be stranded.  So stay safe background friends!

Back In The Background

Back in the Background audition

Well here it as almost the end of January and I haven’t written any posts since well before Christmas.  Mostly that is because I haven’t worked since then but now, I’m getting ready to get back in the background.

Back In The Background

To start off the year, I had a job working on Chicago Med.  I really like that show and have worked for that one a few times now.  This time, however, was the first time I had been on their set at Cinespace Studios.  All the other times I have filmed for this show have been out on location somewhere.  I’ve filmed at Rush Hospital, McCormick Place, and even Bloomingdale’s Home store.  I have been dying to see the set and was not disappointed.  So cool!  I still haven’t been on the set for the emergency room.  That is my next goal.    Had a sight of myself on camera last week when there was a big car crash scene; which I can talk about now because the episode has aired.  No one would have been able to recognize me as I was kind a dot in the background.  But hey, they pay me to be that dot.

Back In The Background Mom on Med

Check out this picture though.  This is my mom working on Chicago Med.  I just paused the TV to get this photo so quality isn’t great.  She is the one in the tan colored coat and hat.  Doesn’t she look just perfect?!

I am so excited to get back at it and have a job next week working on Empire.  It will be my first time working on this show.  I can’t tell you what I’m going to be doing until after the episode airs but it sounds like it is going to be super fun.

Also, Proven Innocent will begin next month and I can’t wait.  I think this is going to be a great show and have worked on it a few times.  One episode in particular will most likely have a great view of me.  If the scene makes the final cut that is.  Who knows?  Click here to see a trailer of this upcoming hit from Fox.

My First Audition

So I had an audition for a commercial!  I probably didn’t get it because call backs are next Monday and it’s Thursday already.  But hey, it was my first one.  Another guy and I had to pretend that we were the store clerk and the shopper.  It was fun, it really was.  Maybe I’ll have the chance to do it again and one day actually get the job.

Till next time, friends.  See you soon as I am now back in the background!

First Time on Chicago PD

First Time on Chicago PD

Yesterday was the first time on Chicago PD for me!  I have been submitting and submitting for them and finally they chose me.  The above picture was taken at my home but that is the outfit I wore for my role as a “steakhouse restaurant patron.”

First Time on Chicago PD

First Time on Chicago PD
Chicago PD’s area at Cinespace

I was pretty excited to work on PD yesterday.  I love working on new (to me) shows.  It’s so interesting to see the different directors, crew, and actors for each show.  Our day began at Cinespace.  You can click here to read about Cinespace, the studio for so many Chicago productions.  Their website states, “Cinespace Chicago Film Studios is a family-owned company based in Chicago specializing in the development, management and operation of studio space and support facilities for the film, television, and digital media production industry.”  There is a lot to look at here and you can find some great photos too.  So we checked in, saw wardrobe, had a great hot breakfast, and then it was on the bus to the holding on Taylor Street.

First Time on Chicago PD
The Drum and Monkey pub on Taylor Street

PD was filming in two different Taylor Street restaurants and our holding was in a Taylor Street Pub called The Drum & Monkey.  It was a nice place and very comfortable for the long, long time I spent in holding that day.  I could see myself going here if I lived in this area.  Click here to check it out.  I only saw the restaurant I was able to work in.  Called Davanti Enoteca, it also looked like a place I would go.  They had some sample food out so we could pretend we were eating and although it had probably been sitting there for some time, it looked delicious.  We were able to take a peek at the menu too.  Looked very yummy.  Their website can be found by clicking here.

Not Much Time on Camera

Unfortunately, I didn’t have very much time on scene at all.  I worked the one scene but was quite a distance from the main action.  Me and another guy, Danny, did have a good time as he was quite funny but I’m sure I will not be seen on TV.  I did enjoy seeing Eriq La Salle as the director of this episode.  He was one of my favorites from the show ER.  He seemed like he was a pretty nice guy, as did Jason Beghe, the man who plays Hank Voight.  I saw him talking to a couple of extras which doesn’t always happen.  We’re not

First Time on Chicago PD
One of my new background friends

supposed to talk to the actors and they usually don’t make it a point to talk to us so it’s nice when they do.  Just from watching him, I think he is probably a pretty fun guy.

Other than that, I wasn’t used in the second restaurant scene and spent most of the day in holding.  As my mom says, “The pay is the same,” which is true but it’s not as fun as watching how the shows are made.  I do have to say, however, that it was a good day in holding.  I met some new background artist friends and we had some great conversations.  That is one thing I like about being an extra, the people I meet.

So all in all, it was a fun day with some really nice people even though I wasn’t used very much at all.  Hey, better than not using me even once because that too can happen.  Hopefully, I’ll soon have another chance to work on Chicago PD and have some fun things to say about it.  Thanks for reading mylifeinthebackground.com.  I’ll post as soon as I have another role.  With the holidays, the productions will be taking time off so it may be a couple of weeks.  Merry Christmas!!!

Working With Mom

 

Working with my mom
Mom and I in holding for Chicago Med

 

One of the fun things about my experience as an extra is working with my mother, Nancy.  Working with mom is super fun and I’m hoping to do more of it.

Working With Mom

Mom and I have only been able to work with each other twice.  The first time we both worked on Chicago Med.  The scene was at the gorgeous Bloomingdale Home Store which

Working with Mom
Mom getting her hair touched up in holding for Proven Innocent.

used to be the Medinah Temple.  It’s a Chicago landmark that now has a new life thanks to Bloomingdales turning it into a store in 2003.  So that was pretty cool, being able to be in the store after hours.  For Chicago Med, it was supposed to be the department store owned by the character Cornelius Rhodes, the father of one of the principals, Dr. Connor Rhodes.

But the scene never made it into the episode!  Mom and I were pretty amazed that with all of the work that went into that scene, it wasn’t used.  It must have cost a fortune to rent the building and pay all of the cast and crew, including us–although we don’t make much at all.  And we were right behind the actors, center scene, pretending to shop while they spoke at a table.  We thought for sure you would be able to spot us on the show.  In fact, I haven’t yet seen myself on any show, which is fine as they still pay me.  But in all honesty, it would be pretty cool.  I’m sure it will happen soon enough.

Best Mother/Daughter Duo Around

Working with Mom
Holding for the set of Proven Innocent

At least we think so!  We do look quite a bit alike so if production is looking for a mother/daughter duo, we’re perfect.  Hopefully, production will think so too.  The second time we worked together was just this week on Proven Innocent, a Fox show that will air beginning in February, 2019.  It’s so nice having someone to hang out with during those long hours in holding.  I have only lived in the same area as my mother in the last five or so years so it’s super special that she is taking the time to share in my new little endeavor.  She’s even worked on her own, driving herself into the city from her home in the Northwest suburbs.  Thanks Mom!  I love working with you!

How do I find more work?

How do I find more work? set photo
Taken last week on the set of Proven Innocent. Great Chicago Skyline in the background.

I’ve been working steadily about once a week for the past couple of months.  But how do I find more work?  I would love to work at least 2 or 3 times a week and I know it can be done because I talk to people who do so.  So this post is here to brainstorm ways of finding more work.

How do I find more work?

These are the top 5 ways that I have learned so far in finding work as an extra.  Hopefully we’ll be able to increase this list when my blog goes public and will, hopefully, have some readers who know more than I do about the background artist industry.

1.  Keep your profile up to date.

As I stated in the previous post, 4 Star Casting has an online POP Profile that you should complete as thoroughly as possible.  This includes all of your sizes!  Yes, get out that tape measure.  You will need it.  Be sure to update the availability calendar too.  I’m not sure but I suspect it’s an algorithm that spits out who is available and generates availability checks.  So marking yourself as available might be better than leaving the dates blank.

2.  Keep your photos up to date and change often.

You need to have current photos of how you look now.  I would love to provide pictures from ten years ago when I was younger and skinnier but they need to see what you look like right now.  And don’t keep sending the same photos over and over.  Give the casting agents various photos in various styles.  You should have a business look, an evening wear look, a casual look, and any other look you can think of.  I’ve seen posts looking for homeless types, so even a no-make-up, very sloppy dirty clothes look would be appropriate.

3.  Bring along good wardrobe choices.

You should always have at least 3 choices of outfits for the wardrobe person to choose from.  Don’t bring super bright colors or crazy patterns unless asked to.  Pay attention to the wardrobe notes and bring appropriate choices.  You wouldn’t want them not to hire you again because you are known for showing up with either bad choices or no choices.

4.  Follow the casting agency’s social media and try and submit as quickly as possible to any listings.

Most of the agencies that I know of at this time post calls on their Facebook pages.  You can set your FB to see those posts first or to have a notification if there is a post from them.  I really wanted to take a social media break during this crazy political climate but that is the only way I can find jobs.  Maybe I should have a Facebook account that I only use for following the casting agencies.  What do you think?

5.  Pay attention on the set and listen to all directions.

They’re not going to want to work with you if you are not going to listen to what they need from you and do it without complaining.  You know you’re an extra, not the star of the show, so don’t expect to be treated like one.  Of course we should all be treated fairly and in my experience, I have been.  But I have seen some people who act like they’re doing the show a huge favor by being there.  Remember, it’s a job.  Do your job.

Let Me Know

Let me know what you think about the above 5 ways to find more background acting jobs.  How do I find more work? has been my question since I began this journey and I hope to add to this list as I go along.  Any additions would be greatly appreciated.