Monday, February 16, 2015

A streak of "not-used"

It's really weird when you're called to do extras work (usually very early in the morning) and you go through wardrobe, makeup and hair -sit around for eight to ten hours in holding... and never get to be used on set!? I'll never understand the concept of overbooking extras.  And not just 2 or 3, but 30 to 40 of us.

So far this year, it's been on two TV shows and on one commercial that I and many others, never got used. I'd like to rationalize it by saying that I get paid either way -but quite frankly, that doesn't quite cut it.  It's definitely more useful (and fun) to be an active part of a production -even if you have to stand around waiting for the lights to be adjusted, the film to be loaded or some part of the set needing to be repaired, or whatever.  At least you get to see how it all hangs together with the actors, directors and the crew -but the bottom line is that you want to feel useful... even in the smallest of ways (extras have been known to be called "furniture that eats"). 

Problem is that when you submit for the same show later on, the casting crew wants to know when was the last time you were on the show (because they usually can't use you again for 3 weeks -to avoid someone actually spotting a "familiar blurry extra" more than once in the background).  So then you have to explain that you were on the show but "never used".  Right after which they ask, "O.K. But were you featured?"!

So I suppose the production companies work it all out in their budget.  Cost-overruns are always justified when the end product is a success. And if it's not... well, then the show gets cancelled and tax-deductions abound. As for the extras -the check's in the mail!


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