Monday, April 30, 2007

Changing the subject

Since I am completely blocked on what to knit and/or spin right now, but I am also afraid this blog will slip away from me if I don't write about something, I'm going to share with you another story about being an "extra." You know, the people who walk around in the background of the action in TV and film? I write about this from time to time but never explained how to land such a job. I'll tell you how I did it. It's simple, and here it is:

Signing Up

Make a note: Central Casting accepts new sign ups for non-union extras on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays in between 10:30 and 11:30 am. This is where you need to be if you are going to make it big time. The office is on a small street in an industrial part of Burbank. That is, for those of you not in the know, Hollywood adjacent.

First comes the paperwork. You have to apply for this position after all. They need to know your age, size, weight, height, eye color and what sort of costumes you own. For example, if you have your own police uniform, you can work on a show with such a crap budget they can’t afford to put you in a cop outfit. I lie in regard to my weight and dress size. I tell the truth in my bra size, because I am proud of this.

After I fill out the paperwork I wait in line with all the future movie stars. I see the man behind me is struggling with his paperwork. The guys need to know their neck size, their hat size, and other numbers that are irrelevant to the youth of America. He is wearing jeans and a t-shirt. A woman (who in addition to acting also works at the gap) helps him guess his numbers. The numbers don’t really matter anyway. There is no reason a casting agent would be searching the data base for actors with a particular hat size.

When I get to the front the woman takes my papers and looks them over. She looks back at me to see if I am full of s**t. Then she hands me the papers back and I get to stand in the photo line. That’s where a guy says to me that Brad Pitt got his start there, at Central Casting. You hear this a lot in this sort of work.

After I pay the photographer $25 and hand over the papers, she has me pose for a photo. This is exactly like what you do at the DMV. I am certain the picture is unflattering. I tell her I am vain. I want a better picture. Too late. She says. It’s no longer on the screen. This is not a good explanation of why she won’t take another one but I accept it anyway. I leave with the packet of info on what to do next... And if you follow this Very Important Guide, you can be like me!

When I get my knitting mojo back I'll resume more familiar territory. Besides, these stories do usually contain knitting. Like the time I knit socks while on the set of Alias. Or armwarmers on the set of ER. So there.


Anonymous said...

I'm thinking about signing up to be an extra.... but I don't know if I'd use my time to knit!

Anonymous said...

Do extras make more money than hospital residents? I need a new job.

Anonymous said...

Thanks. I took very good notes.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info. I took very good notes!