Not so Glamorous Extra Work! – Extra, Extra

Written by | B-Roll, Peer-to-Peer

A reader writes in about her not so glamorous experience on the set of a feature film! Plus more tips for when you are on the set as an extra!

I was in Up In The Air.  Well, then it was in March, I think, as it was very cold and we had to be there, in the Detroit Metro Airport, at about 5:30 am. So, we had about 100 or so people. We had to park our cars and then, with our luggage, we had to wait for a shuttle that was to take us to our first holding area (there were two) Well, they only had three shuttles going back and forth for us. Do you know how hard it is to get into a shuttle with a high step with your luggage and a winter coat on?  The ones that could get on easily had to help pull the others on that were having a hard time, and the others had to push from behind. That was not fun! That was extremely irritating and inconsiderate not to have that little step to step onto inside the shuttle! So, we got to the first holding area. If you were lucky to get there early enough, before you got shuttled to the main holding area, you got to grab a bite or two from the breakfast buffet. Otherwise, you got nothing to eat. After that, we got to the second holding area at the airport where they were filming. There, we were able to have a few minutes to grab a bite or two of a bagel and a few sip of a beverage.  

Then we got to where they were filming. All day long we were standing in lines at the airport and shifting to different places in line. So when lunchtime came and went, we were not happy campers! Finally, they told us we could have a break. So we all trudged down to the holding area. We no sooner got there, then they told us that we only had five minutes before we had to go back! Well, the only thing we had to eat was leftover bagels. Again, only a couple bites and a couple sips before we had to go back.  

They told us a fifteen minute break. However, it took us ten minutes to go to the other end of the building, then down two or three sets of long stairs to get to the holding area. So we did not get to eat anything.

About 1:30 or so we all just plopped down where we were and sat there for about a half hour or so while they changed cameras or had some kind of technical problem. We finally got finished around three pm. When we got back to our first holding area, there was a buffet there, but the ones that were done and weren’t coming back the next day could not eat, or else we would miss our shuttle back to our car. We were extremely upset to say the least.

Well, this was not good for me. I had one granola bar all day. The next morning when I got up to do my husband’s lunch, and then went back to bed till I had to get up, the room started spinning about 200 mile per hour, and I was getting sick!  So I sat up and it stopped spinning and I was ok. I have never had that experience before and hope I never do again!  It was really horrible!

I heard that George Clooney was very upset when he found out they didn’t feed the extras all day.

At one point, as he was walking past me when I was standing in line and they were panning him as he was walking by, I had a really good place and thought that I would be able to be seen.  However, when we saw the film, they had cut out the whole airport scene! I couldn’t believe it!   I was very disappointed! Ah well, that is showbiz!

-Darline B.

Do you have a story of being an extra? Share it with us to be featured! 


Some tips for extras!

Tip #1: Know where you’re supposed to park when you get to the set. Avoid meters—you will probably be there for a while and will not have time to put more money in the meter. If you park in a parking lot, you should be reimbursed for your costs.

Tip #2: If you smoke, you will NOT be able to smoke on the set or the holding area. There is usually a small smoking area, but make sure that you have permission to go there before leaving.

Tip #3:  The person you check in with on the set will either be the 2nd AD (assistant director) or the extra’s coordinator. Make sure you check in right away! 

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Last modified: June 2, 2017

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