I was starting to wonder why I haven’t been called for the new season of Chicago Med yet. I have applied and applied and nothing. Well guess what, the phone number I gave them was incorrect. Just a little typo but I had been copying and pasting the same info. Luckily, Bre from Joan Philo Casting sent me an email today to tell me she hadn’t been able to get a hold of me. Duh! I can’t believe myself. So lesson learned background friends. If you want the job, make sure you give the right phone number!
I am happy to report that I will be working this Wednesday as a PICU nurse!
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.
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.
Then 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
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.
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!
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!
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!