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
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.
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!
It’s time to be honest background friends. Life is hard. If you’ve read my “about” tab, you know that the whole reason I became interested in being an extra is due to the fact that I left my teaching career over a very upsetting incident. I don’t want to dwell on that incident, because it has totally taken over my life for the past year, but I will just say that I was accused of throwing something at a student. She, with her parent, pressed charges and I spent a long ten months going through the court process. And I was found not guilty. Want to know why? Because I didn’t do it, that’s why.
My whole point in bringing this up today is that life can sometimes seem to present insurmountable odds. Over the past year I have lost my job and had my name ruined with the accusation, my husband had been out of work, and our most valued asset, our home, is not selling. We’ve had it on the market for slightly over a year and we’re still here. We really want to take the proceeds from the sale of our home and start again somewhere new. But we can’t do that until we sell. And not only that, our home has dropped so much in value that we will lose a ton of money. These are all first world problems, I know. Not the worst I’ve had in life but definitely not the best.
So why am I writing about this and what does it have to do with my life in the background? In truth, being an extra has been my saving grace this past year. It has given me something to look forward to and get excited about; because there is not a lot of excitement for me lately. And I was starting to be pretty down about everything. I’ve started looking for a teaching job and I’m finding it difficult. Even though I was found not guilty, the accusation is out there and I think employers are leery. I am at a point
where I think my teaching career might be over for good. If you know me, you know that teaching is my calling. I am really, really good at it. I love what I do (or did) and love my students. So, all in all, I was feeling pretty down.
Then, I prayed and asked God to give me something to hang on to. I told Him that I will continue to do my best and trust that He has a plan, but that I could really use something to help out while I wait to discover what that plan might be. With no extra jobs lined up, I was beginning to feel a little dejected. I didn’t have any bookings. My house won’t sell. I am finding that securing a teaching job is going to be much more difficult than I had thought. So I just prayed.
And guess what, within one minute of that prayer I received a call from Joan Philo Casting with a booking for Chicago Med. I thought, “Wow! That was awful quick. Thank you Lord.” I even told my husband that the timing was just perfect because I wanted something and I got something. Maybe it wasn’t a teaching job, a buyer for my home, or a literary agent to represent my novel, but it was something.
Following that, about two hours later, I received an email from Extraordinary Casting that stated, “Congrats! You were selected by Production and Director for one of just a few Civilian extras on…” I don’t know if I’m at liberty to say what the production is so I won’t but it’s not anything I have heard of. It is either a new show or a movie but they did say a lot of big names have signed on to this one. And it is a two day job! And I have never worked with Extraordinary Casting before. My mom has and I have met a lot of other extras that have, but not me. So then I was thinking how cool it was that I received one thing but now two. How lucky am I?
But that’s not the end! I woke up this morning and looked at my Twitter feed and saw this man’s prayer. Click here to see it. Uhmm, could that have been more perfect for where I am right now? Wow! Someone is talking to me and telling me to hang in there. It’s not quite time but it will be. You can do this and God is with you every step of the way.
Keeping the faith that God has a plan for you can be difficult sometimes. But hang in there friends because if you do your part, that plan is already written for you. For now, I will keep doing my part. I will continue to query ten literary agents a day for my book, I Gave You a Boy. I will keep up with my little free lance writing gig for Felix and Fingers Dueling Pianos. I will try my hardest to find the school that needs me most. And I’ll be out there looking for background work.
Sorry for the long post. It was just one of those things I needed to put out there in the world. I hope you’re hanging in there with whatever issues you might be having. Me, I’ll be hanging out in the background.
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?!
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
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
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!
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.
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.
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
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.
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!
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
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!
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!
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.
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.
Stay 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!
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.
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!
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
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.
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
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!!!
Remember last week when I said I hadn’t yet seen myself on TV? Well, that same evening I was watching Chicago Med and there I was! Nobody who knows me would have noticed it was me, but I still felt pretty good about seeing myself for the first time on TV!
The above picture is from the third time I worked on Chicago Med. I told you about the first in the previous post; the one where Mom and I both worked as shoppers. This one was an outdoor scene that was shot out in front of Rush Hospital in Chicago. The second time I worked on Med was the same but I wasn’t seen on that episode. Just this past week I worked for the fourth time and it was another outdoor scene, but at McCormick Place, not Rush. And some exciting stuff happens on that one but since it hasn’t aired, I can’t yet reveal any secrets!
But back to the episode from the above picture. It was just an okay day as far as the work day went. We met in holding in a building about a block or so away. After checking in and getting our wardrobe approved, we headed over to the hospital. Some background actors received scrubs and other hospital garments but I was supposed to be an administrator so I was in my own clothes. We were supposed to have nicer fall jackets and I didn’t have one so Mom and I headed to the thrift store earlier that week. Luckily, I found two that I really liked for super cheap. And I needed a nice fall coat that I could wear anyway. I am finding that I love thrift stores to find my extra work wardrobe. You really can find great deals on awesome clothes. And since you need some diverse pieces so you can have lots of looks, it helps that you don’t have to spend full price.
Once at Rush, we have a smaller holding area blocked off from the main lobby. Since it’s small and right in the hospital’s main entrance, we have to leave most of our stuff at the other place. I had a small bag with a book and my iPad, but I find it hard to read with so much going on around me. I really like it when there are some fun and talkative other extras because that makes it a little more entertaining for me. Which was the case here so most of the time in holding I was having conversations and comparing our extra experiences.
The scene I shot took a good two hours or so to shoot but after that, I wasn’t really used much so spent most of the day in holding. And they had us there for eight hours. But that’s my life in the background. You never know how it’s going to go. Another reason this was just an okay day was that the timing didn’t work out for the full buffet lunch experience. They did bring us pizza which kind of made me unhappy. I have been trying to lose weight and the extra thick crust would not have been my choice.
Not Just My First Time on TV
My mom and I had my step-dad, Jim, apply for a featured role on Chicago Fire as a crotchety old man. He had never, ever worked before as an extra but he was chosen and played an Uber driver. So the same night I saw myself, we then watched Chicago Fire and there he was! Both of us on the same night. The only thing I didn’t like was that I had also worked as a featured extra on the same episode of Chicago Fire but wasn’t seen on screen. So at least someone from my family was! Now we just have to see Mom!
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
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
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!