Saturday, July 17, 2010

day on set

This is where I spent most of Thursday. These are various background performers having a break before heading in to mime being restaurant patrons in the movie Cloudburst. Just regular people, extras are supposed to blend in to the background and not distract from the main action. Each person is checked for what they are wearing and general "look". When working as an extra you are advised to bring some extra changes of clothing so the wardrobe people can mix and match everybody according to colour and mood of scene.

Working on sets is a lot of hurry up and wait. Lighting is meticulous and every shot has to be lit separately. Every shadow is examined. Sound is checked and things like fridges and fans are scrutinized. It is all about the details.The extras are put into place before the main actors are brought in. Often rearranged according to how the shot looks.

I was placed back to back with Olympia Dukakis. We were sharing the same booth bench but her table was behind mine:) We kept bumping elbows (she had her arm along the top of the seat). When the camera starts rolling, as background performers, we have to mime conversations with our fellow extras. No sound at all. The ambient noise is all put in during the picture editing.

This is what the food stylist/props person brought to place in front of me. I was very hungry and quite disappointed when I saw "my" meal. We did break for a lovely communal buffet lunch shortly after. Food is one of the highlights of being on set, it breaks the tedium.

In this scene, we are supposed to be in a Salt Lake City diner. One of the extras was reading a prop newspaper from there! Olympia and her partner are on the lam and stop in for a quick bite here with a hitchhiker they have picked up to throw off the people looking for them. It was a very funny scene with some memorable lines. Especially one involving a second hair net!

Sitting right next to the lead actors was very interesting because I could eavesdrop on their banter and listen to the director and actors work out how the scene was to be played. Thom Fitzgerald is the director and I was very impressed with his calm manner and clear vision.

If you are interested in extra work in Nova Scotia, Hennessy at Large is the local company that casted this film. Filmworks is another casting agency that is looking for talent.

PS. I am trying out larger pictures on my blog. What do you think? Are they too big?


The Words Crafter said...

I think the pictures, as well as the story, are fantastic. How exciting!!! I didn't know the conversations were mimed. I've seen 'the making of' a few movies and knew that dance scenes were without music, which I can't imagine. Really cool post, keep us updated! And I hope you continue to have a good time!

Debra She Who Seeks said...

I bet every chip and ketchup smear on your plate was carefully arranged by the prop people! And yes, I love the bigger photos!

Suzie Ridler said...

I heard Olympia talk about the movie on CBC the other day, how cool you were working with her! I wish I liked that diner, total disappointment to me. Really weird feng shui and the food was meh. I love the larger images and it is so cool you are doing extra work Shelagh! My husband did it all the time when we were in the Vancouver area, he loved every second of it.

Sara said...

So cool that you were so close to her...and how fun it must have been to be an extra...I'll look for you when the movie comes out.

Love the larger photos...

YogaNan knits, too... said...

Love the bigger photos! And love eavesdropping with you!

Anonymous said...

I've been catching up on reading your blog (i'm somewhat of a lurker). I am from N.S. and love how you love Halifax--(and incidentally all of my favorite spots--and some I didn't know about, since I moved away).

a friend took me to this diner last summer when I was home--it's too bad they didn;t put the coconut cream pie in front of you--it is FABULOUS!