MOVIE STARS FOR A DAY – Take 2 begins now… AND ACTION!!!
(Quiet on set, we are now rolling)
I get super excited AGAIN and tell John:
“TOMORROW WE ARE GOING TO BE IN A MOVIE!!!!”
John’s reaction is NOT what I was expecting. I just ASSUMED that he would be just as excited as I was, but he sure put the ass in me (see what I did there?)
Not only is John not nearly excited as I am, he is not excited in the slightest. IN FACT, he has the nerve to be not very impressed WHATSOEVER! I am extremely confused as to his reaction and cannot understand why he isn’t jumping off the ceiling after I told him that we were going to be in a movie the next day! (Now to be clear, I realize that I potentially have made it sound as if John totally blew his fuse and berated me… but there was no abuse involved at all. Or yelling. Not even voice raising. God, he’s so patient…)
The funny thing is is that John just kind of looks at me with a look that says “What have you done?” … He knows me so well. RIGHT before we moved from Calgary I was only 1% away from submitting John’s photos to a modelling agency without telling him. I was certain that he would be scooped up right away and would be walking the runway with Giselle. I know what you’re thinking, why would I want my husband to walk the runway with GISELLE!? Because I trust him and my jealous days are behind me. How cool would it be to transform from mathematician to supermodel man?! Pretty cool right? I didn’t think he would feel the same way, which is why I didn’t tell him my trick up my sleeve. But I spilled the beans during our 3,500 hour road trip to Chicago.
Okay, okay.. back to the story of being movie stars. I tell him what I’ve done and how I submitted some photos of him, etc, etc… and next thing I know I get an email saying that we are booked to work TOMORROW! FOR A MOVIE! I try to convince him how awesome it all was, but he wasn’t biting. I told him that the email said it would only take 3-4 hours and then we could retire from our movie careers. He begrudginly agrees.
And that is when I tell him that the location is in Ukrainian Village (about a 3o min drive) for early morning the next day. This makes John even MORE unimpressed as he was VERY much looking forward to not waking up to an alarm clock on his Saturday morning. Fair enough, but I mean… how often does this opportunity come around!? I am able to convince him by reminding him that it is only 3-4 hours and that it is a “once in a lifetime opportunity”. Finally, because he loves me so and realizes that he doesn’t have an out… he is sold.
We have a celebratory drink and then we hit the sack to get some good shut eye before our big debut. I cannot sleep for the life of me because I had no idea what to wear. The ONLY info that we received was to wear “dressy casual” for a “baby viewing party”. That’s it. At this point we had no idea what the movie was even about or who was cast in it. I had no idea what the hell a baby viewing party even was. I still don’t. Finally, instead of sleeping I settled on 3 options to wear for the next day. When I woke up extra early the next day to do my hair and makeup, I pulled the options out. When John saw two of the options I had pulled he had said something along the lines of “I regret to inform you that clubbing attire and sparkly sequence dresses are not baby viewing material.” He was so right…. but the “dressy casual” part was playing with my mind… what would that be considered in Hollywood!? You tell me.. So I settled on my third option.
When we arrived on set, even John was a little bit excited at this point. We parked and saw the Brownstone where they were filming. It looked so neat. We were told to go into this crappy church to sign in. There were maybe 8 round tables with people scattered around them and I figured that these must be the other extras. We sat down at a table and tried to be friendly to a couple of men, but they weren’t all that interested in chit chat with us. I can take a hint and I’m happy not to participate in awkward small talk with people who don’t want to talk to me. One guy was even chewing tobacco and spitting in to a plastic cup. Gross.
John and I kept looking around at the awkwardness of the entire situation and I tried to avoid eye contact with John’s eyes that I’m sure were screaming “You dragged me out here for this?!” Without having the courage to look him in the eye, I muttered a quick “sorry”.
Eventually we all had to line up for Wardrobe to go over our looks, and thanks to John, we were the only ones who got the thumbs up from Wardrobe and didn’t have to change… I most definitely was not the only one who was confused as to what “dressy casual” for a baby party was… them other girls thought they were going clubbing as well!
We sat back down and I figured we were going to be called any minute to do our scene so we could leave. We had already been there for two hours, so we only had to be there for another hour or so… two hours at most. Au contraire, mon frère! We sat around for hours… literally hours. Finally people started to talk to us and we quickly realized that we were the only newbies. These people were serious. Like legit serious. They were trying to make it to the big screens and were “pros” at being extras. Because I’m such an ass I had extreme difficulty in taking these people seriously as they told us the rules for being extras… we were NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE to make ANY eye contact with any of the actors/actresses. We were NOT TO SPEAK unless spoken to. And when you are told to jump, you dare not talk back to ask how high… you just DO AS TOLD! It all seemed so serious to me.. and ridiculous. I used to bump into the CEO from my company back home in the elevator and the hallway quite often.. and guess what? He looked me in the eye and would joke and make small talk with me. If the CEO wasn’t too good for me, surely these actors weren’t either. Does that make me conceited?
I did my absolute best to keep my mouth shut and not shoot out any sarcastic comments. One or two popped out, but I still consider that to be a success of biting my tongue. I could tell John was thinking the exact same thing that I was thinking… Why are these guys making such a fuss over this, and how do these people think that they are going to be making it big when all that we had to do was send over a few photos the day before to “get the job”… it’s not THAT hard. That probably makes me conceited too.
FINALLY we got called to go outside and to line up outside of the brownstone home. We literally stood in a line as if we were being picked for Red Rover teams in elementary school (why would that game ever get banned?! It was AWESOME! Makes ya tough!) So there we all are, a bunch of wannabe schmunks, standing in a line on a brisk, chilly morning without daring to make eye contact with anybody but the squirrels. Two people eventually came over to us schmucks, didn’t say a word, looked us all over as if they were the Marine Sergents and picked four people out of the probably 20 or so people there. Somehow, John and I were part of those picked. We were mostly excited to go inside as it was seriously really cold that morning… the email failed to mention to bring winter jackets.
The four of us followed the cast crew inside like cattle. When we got inside the Brownstone, we saw two famous people. I will not tell names, but they are both well known for sitcom series. I was EXTRA excited to see the actress as she is from Canada, therefore I figured we would bond over our Canadianism. Nope. It was really weird inside… I’d much prefer to get caught in an elevator with my prior CEO than these people. All that kept running through my mind was that I better not sneeze or look at anyone. We were placed and John got to sit on a couch close to the actress. I was SO jealous that he was going to bond over Canadianism with her instead of me. I had to stand in a hall so that the actor could walk past me to the actress. THAT was the scene. And we were inside REPEATING the same effin thing for TWO HOURS STRAIGHT!!! I forgot to tell you that I get bored REALLY easily and after the first 30 times of redoing that scene I was ready to go home. But it wouldn’t be Hollywood if they didn’t redo it 3,333 more times just to get that perfect shot.
Finally, the extras were told to go back outside. I figured that it was time for John and I to go home now! YAY! I was so excited to be finished! When we got outside, ALL THOSE OTHER POOR SCHMUCKS were still waiting outside!!! They now had chairs, but I felt so awful for them! We had figured that all the other extras were sent home… NOPE! They were still outside FREEZING!!!! Little did I know that we would be joining the other schmucks to freeze outside for the next few HOURS! Eventually, John overheard some work crew guy say that lunch would be in two hours. I figured that John and I would be gone by then so I started to google places we could venture to afterwards to reward John for being such a patient hubby and coming along with me. Except two hours had passed and we were still sitting outside….
Then we heard “lunch will be at 5:00pm” … isn’t that dinner time? I figured that we would still be gone by then, so tried to calm my teeth from their constant chattering. Sadly, we were around for the 5:00pm lunch time and at that point, I figured that we could scarf down our food and then peace out. And truthfully, I was kind of excited for an elaborate actor’s lunch… the other extras bragged about how they always get fed so well, so my expectations were way too high when we were served dry, boiled chicken with microwaved broccoli. I was bored, cold, and sad that I dragged John along for this, and was sick of hearing all these wannabe actors talk about how they are going to update their IMDb accounts with this “extra work”. Um… you guys just sat outside for the whole entire day!?? But before the schmucks were allowed to eat their “lunch” everybody had to wait for everybody else to eat first and you still had to be on your best behaviour not to talk to them or look at them.
Over lunch, we started talking to people who told us that this was a normal day as an extra and that only certain kinds of people were cut out for this. I agreed. I tried to whisper my apologies to John for wasting a Saturday on this and I told him that we would just leave right after lunch. I went over to the “casting director” and told him that John and I had to leave as we were only told that the scene would take 3-4 hours and now we were having a lunch at 5pm. I told him that our puppy had to be let out because he’s been alone all day as we were not expecting the day to be this long. And cold. And boring. (I didn’t mention those last two points.)
The “casting director” looked at me with a look of utmost confusion. He was flabbergasted to say the least! Like sincerely flabbergasted. Apparently, when you have the “honor” to be an extra… people don’t just leave. They are thankful to have gotten the opportunity, etc and this was a first time he or the extras had ever heard of extras leaving before they were told they were able to. I was adamant to the guy that John and I had to leave by 6:30pm at the latest and sat back down, proud of myself for standing up for myself.
This is the best part and this is when I should now tell you that THIS WAS NOT EVEN A PAID JOB!! FOR ANY OF THE EXTRAS!!! WE WERE ALL VOLUNTEERING OUR TIME!
This pissed me off. Here I am being TOLD that I am not permitted to leave when I am volunteering my time? Holy Dina! I almost went all Diva like… surely they couldn’t kidnap us all! But I didn’t. I go back and tell this to John and I am adamant that we are leaving at 6:30pm NO MATTER WHAT!
And then.. at 6pm John gets called to do his couch-sitting scene again. I figure that it should only take about 30 minutes this time around as last time it look so long they couldn’t possibly need him for longer than 30 minutes. Like c’mon, a person is literally walking ten feet to another person… It could NOT take more than 30 mins. And then we would be able to leave… HURRAH! I assumed that only John had been called because I had pissed off the casting director and he was punishing me by not being in the scene with John. Fine by me! At 6:45p, John comes back inside… I go all Ikea Commercial on him and tell him to get in the car! I almost toss him the keys, tell him to run and then…. I hear my name being called. Shit. I am called back to do the scene.
I am at a crossroads and decide to just shut the hell up and participate. But I cannot get poor Ernie’s exploding bladder out of my mind. I figure if I hurry then it won’t take long. Nope… FINALLY at 8:30pm, they are done filming the scene where I stand and the actor walks by me.
During the whole day, the actress was stuck up, wouldn’t talk or look to anybody but the Director or the other Actor, and would suddenly need a drink before they were reading to say “ACTION!” And of course her drink of choice was not in the vicinity. I got over my earlier jealousy of John being so close to her and there were many times throughout the day that her and I were face to face. Literally. And she would not make eye contact with me! And trust me, I tried! It almost became a game to me. At one point, I thought that I would force her to make eye contact with me, but she simply looked at my forehead. Seriously?! What a stuck up son of a gun…. you’re disappointing another Canadian, lady! In a last ditch effort to bond over our Canadianism, I loudly whispered “Go Canada” at her. She gave me the most pathetic sound/laugh and still did not make eye contact with me. How rude.
That ticked me off, so as I was leaving the scene, I took out my phone and snapped an unflattering photo of her. I was really sneaky about it but the other extras who saw were horrified on my behalf. I didn’t care. It’s not like I had an IMDb account to update.
In my failed attempt to become an extra on Chicago Fire or Chicago PD, I somehow had managed to get my husband and I roles as extra in a friggin movie that probably won’t even make the big screens.
As we drove home after our 12+hour day on set (for which we did not get a penny for… legally we wouldn’t have been able to accept it anyhow, but it’s all about principle, people!) with a bunch of wannabe actors who will also likely never be an extra on Chicago Fire or get their 15 minutes of fame. Am I judgemental? Yes! One girl was moving two LA in two weeks time to live her dreams… I asked her about her plans once she got there and she didn’t have ANY! NOTHING! I assumed she must have a sweet resume or something, but her clubbing’ dress didn’t seem to help her out there either. Another girl was still living with her parents and doing free extra work was her “job”. Call me judgemental, but that shit wouldn’t fly with my parents.
As we were leaving, I withheld myself “Peace Out, beyotches!”ing the extras. What that other extra had said to me was so very accurate… “there are only certain kinds of people cut out for this” – surely, I am NOT one of them… but if volunteering 12 hours of your day to stand outside in the cold is your cup of tea, drink up sister!
As a side note, John was incredibly sweet and never gave me a hard time about our shit day together. He even told me on the drive home that maybe one day it’ll be a cool story to tell. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I have the most supportive and patient husband to put up with me and my shenanigans. Thanks for loving me.
To any extras or wannabe actors out there who I’ve offended, my apologies. At least you’ve gotten rid of two more potential competitors as I hope to never do that again… unless it’s for Chicago Fire or Chicago PD (call me)