Sunday, 4 September 2011

life on set!

So ok, not literally life on set, but I thought I'd give you girls an insight to what it's like being an extra in a film.
For those who may not know, extras are those random people who are always in the background in movies. I've been doing extra work since 2005 and whilst it may be tedious, it's mostly fun and a great experience.

On Wednesday, I was an extra of this small luxembourgish production. They only needed 15 extras and we were asked to bring along cameras as they needed people to be taking pictures (although when they say this, it means pretending you're taking pictures because they need everyone to be silent so they can pick up what the actors are saying. Same goes for if you have to 'talk' - you have to pretend to talk and then afterwards, they'll do a recording where you talk and then add that in post production.)

They also wanted us to be fashionable and edgy (although being luxembourg, I'm not sure they really understood the concept of fashionable and edgy...I brought along a few outfits that in my eyes, were quite trendy, but they didn't want them as they couldn't use patterns.)

So here we have my outfit. I was quite surprised that the costume lady picked this as usually, the production steer clear from bright clothes as they could interfere with the filming and stand out too much (another big nono is to wear a lot of white, I think, but that's only in certain films, so I'm not too sure about that).

And as for makeup, they weren't doing makeup for extras as it's a small budget movie, and as I suspected this, I brought my own makeup along. I kept it simple though, with black liquid eyeliner and my sleek pout paint in Pinkini.

Now I'm gonna just post pictures chronologically and sorta explain how a day like this goes.

This is us (from l-r: my sister, her boyfriend, my friend Jasmine and my brother and then in the front, my other friend Sandra) putting our bags in the car after having put on our 'costumes'.

And then...we waited. Hanging around doing nothing is something you do quite often as an extra as you need to wait until the crew actually need you (they will give you a set time as to when they'll be needing you in the scene but ast his is the film industry, things can go wrong, so filming can take longer than planned. Sometimes you'll be hanging around the set long after the time you were supposed to go home or you could be finished earlier)

Turns out we waited so long that it was time for lunch before we actually got to any filming. Lunch on film sets is nothing to get excited about. It's usually something like pasta and at that, nothing special. Of course, if you belong to the crew or if you're an actor, you may get better food but I wouldn't know, having only ever been an extra.

BAck to the film set after lunch! Here I took a sneaky picture of the camera as everything was being set up. Quite big, isn't it? If you're lucky to be behind the camera (or not so lucky, depending on how you see it) you can actually look on the little screen they have to see what it looks like being filmed.

Here's a picture of my sister's boyfriend waiting around in his first position (a very often used phrase in the industry is 'First positions, please!' as some extras are either motionless or they have to walk across somewhere) and of the crew setting up the reflectors, I think. That guy on the left has been on loads of films that I've been in, after a while you start to recognise him. I don't think I've spoken much with him but one of the films I did last summer was an all nighter and whenever I yawned or something, he'd smile at me in understanding and as crew members can often be quite rude to the extras (who happen to be the lowest ranking in the film industry - even lower than runners. It's another story so maybe I'll write a post about how extras are treated based on my experiences) it's nice to meet someone nice every once in a while.

Now this lady here is apparantly quite the famous actress in Luxembourg. I can't tell you who she is as I have no idea, I only heard it through another one of the extras (who couldn't remember her name). Her role in the movie is some opera singer who was having a concert at this hotel. She's sitting there signing autographs and trying to give them to the people taking pictures of her (I was one of them) but most of them just walk off and I'm the last one to get it and just look at it and chuck it on the table. Basically, we were people who just wanted to take pictures of someone famous for the sake of it.

During one of our breaks where we got to hang out in the hotel bar. My sister and her boyfriend showing their props - people at the chess event (that is part of the movie's plot) that's taking part at the same place, obviously vips with the badges.

This is one of my friend's props (I didn't get one as I had a DSLR with me) - an old SLR camera that didn't work, unfortunately, but it was fun to mess around with.

 Me posing with said camera during our break.

The crew setting up for the next scene. The lady in the yellow vest is standing behind the actress and I'm not entirely sure what her job is, just that she has to say 'Silence, please!' when they're filming and if people are being noisy.

And another photo of everything being set up. The people dressed as army people are actors although I'm not entirely sure what their role is. At one point they have to stomp up to their rooms. Behind the actress from before is a costume lady, who I've met on other movies and in front of her is the guy filming the making of.

Finally, a shot of my sis (posing :P) and her boyfriend at their first position in this scene and in front of them, the making of guy, who in my opinion, was quite good looking ;)

So that's all for today! If anyone has any questions about being on a film set, feel free to ask and if you want a follow up post on something specific, please let me know!


  1. Oh that's so cool! My dream job is to work on tv and film stuff, just have to work out how to do that! :S xxx

  2. This sounds and looks so cool! :D I've always wanted to do extra work just to see what it's like...