Friday, July 22, 2016

How to be a Background Actor

Book the Brook! As Calvin usually says when I tell him I've been submitting myself for acting gigs. Someone Booked the Brook for a job in NoHo (North Hollywood). Background. A Tip for Background or Extra work: Always take wardrobe options along; solid colors, preferably neutral. You can rock the same bottoms as long as you have extra shirts. Have something formal, casual, etc. Somewhere in between works best because you can wear it for any scene. A button down shirt for guys can go as casual or formal. Women, a blouse is better than a t-shirt. The above applies when they haven't specified what you should do. 

A quick shout out to those of you who subscribed to my YouTube Channel. I truly appreciate it. If you haven't yet, it's If you have your own channel, I will sub right back. 

Sometimes I get booked for gigs, I know the role but I don't know whether it's a commercial, a short film, movie, what? OR I will know all that and not know what the title of the thing is, I just know the scene we're doing, which could fit into anything. This was one of those times! I knew that I was going to play a staff member in a boardroom for Christmas party. I brought a dress and a skirt and blouse for that role, for them to have options. I had a third option on when I showed up. The dress I had in mind for the role was green and black, bearing in mind that we were playing Christmas party scene. 

 Always show up camera ready! I'm lucky in that, they usually like what I have on and tell me to keep that, sometimes you have to change, when it's cold and wet outside, you're really not interested in all that. You're just trying to stay warm. It was cold and wet this particular day. I know! LA, raining? Yup! Call time was 08:00, I went to set from Cal's, so I left just after Cal. He leaves for work at 05:30. I got to set at 06:30 or so. I was more than an hour and a half early. Which suits me just fine! It gives me time to catch up  on my reading. 

They opened the set early, so that helped. I went in and started reading on my tablet. There were only two other guys in the holding room (waiting area). 

Eventually, two ladies showed up, one of them sat next to me and cracked up a conversation right away! My kind of girl! She was gorgeous! An Eastern European girl, I used my go to Russian words, she got impressed, all was well with the world. They had full breakfast for everyone. I had a bagel with peanut butter. There was always food in the table in holding, crafts and warm real meals! 

We filled out our paperwork. My Russian friend pulled the lady aside and told her that she didn't have work authorisation but they do let her work in most sets, especially if it's cash paying gigs. I didn't know if that gig was going to pay us cash or not. I didn't even know that. That's one of the things I am usually not clued up about. That's because, when you submit for so many gigs at once from so many different avenues and they book you weeks after your submission, you really can't keep up. Fortunately, they are usually patient and will explain when I ask who they are and where they're calling from. Just as they were discussing the work auth issue, they called us to check our wardrobe and make up. I was so early, I had ample time to put make up on. Always carry, at least powder with you, to prevent the shine from set lights. They're hot and will make you sweat a little, which, in turn will make you super shiny. Guys, you too! You don't have to do a full face of make up, you can just do the forehead and nose! Otherwise, they will use the same powder sponge to dab everyone's sweaty face. You don't want that, do you? I don't! When I see them coming, if I don't have my handbag with me, I do my best to wipe my T-Zone (forehead and nose area) with tissue or even own hand. I just don't fancy being massaged with someone else's sweat; most of all a stranger! I use Eye Shadow for set makeup, it has three colors, a cute bronze-ish color, nude and reddish. I use the red part as blush on my cheeks and the other two on my eyes. 

First outfit. Bow, wardrobe's 

I guess the bow alone wasn't enough, therefore....

Feeling my wardrobe on set

I'm always game for whatever they put me in or on me, just not in me, lol, just kidding! But I'm always down! There's an old commercial I did in Johannesburg where they asked me in the middle of winter if I would mind putting on a swimming costume and getting in the pool. Did I have to think twice about it? Nope! I was like, YES! The wardrobe lady loved me, she was like, you're such a great sport! Why not? Be a great sport! Make people's life easier. Don't be a pain in the neck!

When I came out of wardrobe, or should I say when I came out of the closet, my Russian roulette was gone! What? Where'd she go? We just got here! Whose business card is this? Oh no!!!! They sent her home! I was so touched that she left me her business card. We had already had a nice conversation, I wanted to be in contact with her. I added her on social media, she followed me back. We never really got to meet up, even though we had said we should before she they sent her home. 

I felt bad for her but everything happens for a good reason.

We stayed on set for hours doing nothing. The other girl was chatting with the guys.  I was sitting alone at my own table reading. I would contribute once or twice to the conversation but mainly I was reading. Lunch time!

Lunch on Set

The guy in the kitchen is very generous! The meet was delicious, I had that and the black beans. I love black beans. My ex client, Teddy, got me into Black beans. He loved Mexican and would always make sure I picked Black beans for him, not pinto.

Second scene,  I just had a plain black dress on with my grey sweater.

Wardrobe lent me the necklace with three gold rings as charms. 

I loved that necklace, in fact, I liked the rings more! That's why  I took the picture. Crew was based in New York. They told us the director or someone has a house in LA, so they use that house whenever they film in LA, which is, usually twice a month, according to the guy we walked to. I can't wait till I'm bi-coastal. That's the life!

There wasn't that much traffic after we wrapped. People exchanged contact details, I just wanted to get out of there! I didn't make any new friends but when this one girl asked for my number, I gave her. She probably was being polite because I never heard from her. 

On my way home, I got a call from a lady I know from the TV shows. I called her back when I got home. She wanted to come see my place. She had been asking me about my place for the longest time. 'Do you really live in Beverly Hills?' 'What part?' 'Which two cross streets?' She had started driving for Uber, she told me she was going to be in my area. I think she mainly wanted to prove to herself that I do or don't live in BH. I didn't care. For the most part, she's cool people. This is the same girl who went to see me at Chris's  when I came to LA from Vegas to pick up some of my stuff. At one point, she also contemplated being roommates. I told you about her before. 

She came over, I asked her to take off her shoes at the door. She obliged and told me she liked that idea. She complimented me on my apartment. I offered for her to sit on the massage chair, she loved it. Who doesn't? She took me out to dinner, I declined. I was so tired and still full from all that food from work. She insisted, I went along. She drove us in her new car to iHop. I had never eaten there before. 

My iHop Dinner
The waiter recommended some watermelon lemonade as their special drink. He told me if I didn't like it, it was free. I didn't like it but my friend was too shy to have me tell the waiter. I don't think the guy would have minded, he was a great sport. I took the soda home, well, intended to, thinking it would taste better when I am hungry.It  spilt all over my take away bag. I only had the wing and took the rest home.


I felt bad for that restaurant, nothing was really appetizing, even the appetizer. My friend ordered the appetizer, I guess she was hungry. I think she had been on the road all day, driving for Uber. They had some sketchy people there. I was scared to go to the restroom alone and it was late. Around 10pm.

My friend's dinner, Lamb and everything else you see in the picture

Friend took me back home. I passed out and woke up the following day, I was so tired.


Unknown said...

So when you go on set you take your own clothes? I thought they ask you for your size and provide you with something in line with the script.

My sister was stressing about something to wear on set for an audition for an ad and I didn't understand.

Brook said...

For background actors aka extras, yes. In South Africa, they used to provide us with wardrobe and would pay us to use oir pen clothes. No such luck here!
Auditions are different, even if you're going to be the lead, you have to come in your own clothes.
It's like going for an interview, they won't give you uniform for the job you're applying for to wear to an interview.

Unknown said...

Mhhh I suppose that makes sense. Lol true you wangle your way when you go for an interview

Brook said...

Yup! :)