I recently had the pleasure of working as an extra in my friend, Marena's new movie, "Tear It Down." She put out the call that she needed some extras for a day of filming and I was more than happy to oblige.
Marena has decided to make her own movie after realizing that she was coming close to graduation and had no way to get her movie produced unless she did it herself. Marena reminds me of Felicia Day from "The Guild". Felicia Day realized that there weren't a lot of parts available to her and so she set about creating her own webseries. Marena realized that the chances of her script making to the SJSU summer movie production was slim and decided to do it on her own. Marena has written, produced and will star in her upcoming movie and I think that is amazing.
As far the day of shooting, I think it was a fairly typical day of what a person will experience on a low-budget, student film. You arrive when called and wait. You wait while the shots are set up, while the equipment is set up, and while the lighting is checked. Seriously peeps, bring a book or some device to entertain yourself on a film shoot. There is a lot of down time, and remember if your entertainment device is a smart phone turn it off during takes. Marena was generous and also brought us some snacks to munch on between takes. This was supposed to be a rather short shoot as it was only about a page of dialogue. However, due to it being an outdoor shoot things took a bit longer than expected. First off, we were filming outdoors in a public space-SJSU to be specific. That means lots of people walking about and in today's case lots of ground maintanence. There had been a huge wind storm the night before and the ground maitnanece was about clearing out all the branches and leaves that had fallen. Also, something that I don't think was taken into account, the shade. The area we were filming on had great sun until about 1pm and then the shade from the trees started to creep in. This lead to set up shot, talk about something for a bit and realize we lost the lighting because the sun moved. So start again. Also, I never realized the reflector was so bright. I'm curioius to see the final product and if you can see me trying not to cry as the sun pierces my eyeballs. Although, crying would've worked in this case since we were at a "poetry reading."
I have to say my favorite part of the day was when myself and the other extras were doing our background work and pretending to have a conversation about one of the readings we had just witnessed. Our conversations involved how Edgar Allen Poe and Emily Dickinson should've been star-crossed lovers in different time dimensions and that Slyvia Plath was thier love child. Very exetensial and ridiculous.
Even though the shoot ran later then expected and I had to leave a bit early, I had a great time. I can't wait to see the finished product.