Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Tales from a strange business

A couple weeks ago I was on set and chatting with a fellow backgrounder about the business. He stated that when friends ask him, "What is it that you do? Exactly?" he has difficulty answering, because many times the nature of the job changes from day to day, and set to set.

This is just what happened to a friend last week. He worked an eight-hour gig and was wrapped. He drove home only to realize that he had left his hat back at the shoot location (it was a Western-themed production). So, after changing he drove back and luckily found his hat.

But then an AD saw him and asked if he could "stay on" for a bit. he thought they might need more BG bodies in the scene. Even though my friend wasn't dressed for the part, he agreed, and was rushed to wardrobe to be refitted and hustled back to holding, where he waited, on the clock, for an additional five hours of overtime, including the time he had spent driving back home.

And he was never used.

Recently I was photo-picked for a featured bit and booked for an interview. Usually these involve the director looking at two or three BG'ers and then making a Caesar-like thumbs-up or thumbs-down decision about who would look best in the shot.

And so I thought that would be par for this interview.

That is, until I showed up and a script was thrust into my hands with some throw-away lines and I was given a few minutes to compose myself for a cold-read audition on camera.

Nice. Basically, it was really more of an audition (i.e., SAG Theatrical Contrac) versus an interview (i.e., SAG Background Contract).

Haven't heard back from them yet, but I appreciate the experience.

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