Broken Bay Writers – Stories of NSW Central Coast and beyond

Scribbles on life, the universe and everything… Woy Woy, Ettalong, Umina and teh Central Coast that is!

All in A Days Work.

Nothing to do, no job in sight. Then I saw the ad, “extras wanted for TV and movies.” Why not! It sounds like fun!  So I called.

Olga asked my age, height, weight and then asked if I had done any “work” before. Even though I said “no”, she told me to come in and see her anyway. I had no idea what to expect. she had said that I should bring a change of clothes or two. I arrived to find that we would be doing a photo shoot as I would have to be listed on a website! Then Olga told me that I would be charged $250. to be listed on the website.

Was this a scam? I decided to take the chance, paid my $250. and had the photo shoot done.

A month later, I get a call. I have been selected to be an extra on an advertisement! I was told to bring several sun dresses, summer shirts, sunglasses and a selection of jeans. Sundresses! What exactly does that mean? I brought four summer dresses that I am sure don’t qualify as sun dresses, but oh well, that’s all I have. A selection of jeans? Are they crazy? I have one pair of jeans that fit me! I brought them.

The shoot was yesterday. I had to travel for an hour, so I decided to dress comfortably for the train. I wore a long summer shirt with capri tights. I figured it would be easier to change in and out of. First mistake! I got there and found we would not be given time to change. This is what I would wear all day.

The interesting part about the entire day were the other extras. We were given a lot of time to stand around and were often asked to work with another extra and make conversation while we walked. This gave me time to chat with some of them. Interesting.

There was “actress girl”. Her name is Gabrielle. She is 30ish and feels that she is “too good to be an extra”. She lives for the day she will be “discovered”!

“Italian girl”, Connie was a breath of fresh air. The life of the party! She seems to be a “what you see is what you get” kind of person. I liked her instantly.

“San Jose girl” is Jana. She is an Australian who lived in California for five years. She and I shared the ups and downs, trials and tribulations of living in another country. Jana is another very authentic person. I really enjoyed her company. She has only been an extra for a month and this week alone she was dragged across the floor as a dead body on Tuesday, did this ad on Wednesday and Wednesday night was off to have her head shoved in a bucket of water as a murder victim! She was really enjoying herself.

There was “Polish girl”, who is typical Polish. Blonde, blue eyes and beautiful with a delightful accent! She is twenty nine, very well travelled, well spoken and will go a long ways in life. A ray of sunshine!

“Irish girl” was a sweet, quiet person. She and I shared immigration frustrations. She married an Australian whom she met when they were both living in London and then came to Australia a year later. They have been here for three years. She has served her two years on her temporary visa and is now in the second stage of applying for her permanent visa. I learned that she has to resubmit all the crappy paperwork all over again. As well, they have asked for more proof that she is in a relationship with her husband even though they have now been married for five years.

“Producer girl” is English and works as an extra when she is not producing. She has been in Australia for many years. She was quite interesting, very pretty and not full of herself which she easily could be as she knows what goes on behind the scenes. I was “shopping” with her because that was what we had to do at that moment and we were chatting away when she saw an old friend. After saying “hello” to the friend she shared with me that the old friend was actually an old boyfriends friend and when they had broken up, the friend said that she couldn’t be friends with her anymore. It turns out the old boyfriend got caught cheating on her (he married the girl), but wouldn’t admit it. As they both worked for the same company she was embarrassed and actually left her job! I am not sure what she would be embarrassed about when he was the “crud” who was cheating or why the old friend would choose to stay friends with him rather than her! Anyway, she is a very nice person who adores her cat and is probably well respected in the industry. Her looks remind so much of a person I know back home (Shari). I always find that weird when I am on the other side of the country and see someone who looks like a person I know in Canada.

“Russian girl” was quite interesting. She was quiet, reserved and at first stayed off on her own and did not chat with anybody else. Not an outgoing person at all. She was dressed in a dress that looked like a KGB overcoat. It reminded me of something a flasher would wear. It also made her look very “Russian”. I had the chance to chat with her during one of the scenes and she turned out to be quite nice. She works in an office and has Wednesdays off so she looked for something that she could fill her Wednesdays with, hence working as an extra. Very “matter of fact” woman, very Russian!

“Maori guy” was quite striking dressed in a suit. As a typical Maori he was a large, muscular build. I often find Maori men to be quite handsome and he fit the bill entirely. He did have a big chip on his shoulder about how Maori’s have been treated in their home country of New Zealand. Rightfully so! He did take offense to the recent announcement by scientists that they have traced all peoples DNA back to Africa. He feels that Maori have always been in New Zealand and that this is society’s way of justifying taking their land away from them! Who knows, but he was certainly passionate about what he spoke!

“Young guy” was interesting in that he didn’t have a conversation with anyone the entire day. Not an easy feat when you have to work with someone and part of that work is to act like you are talking to each other. He managed to avoid it at all times. He looked like he would have rather been anywhere else than where he was.

“Kind guy”.  Jason was the first person to introduce himself to me. He is very soft spoken, about 30ish and has the kindest eyes. I told him my name was Judy, he replied “I will remember that name, because it is my Mom’s name”. He then told me his name was Jason. I replied, “I will remember that because that is my sons name”. We certainly got a laugh out of that. Jason is the type of person who is willing to share any information he has. He knew of several websites that have information to help extras be better at what they do. He was willing to send the site to anyone who wanted it. Truly just a kind guy who definitely got very bored near the end of the day!

There were a couple more extras, but for the life of me, I can’t remember anything about them!

The shoots I was involved in went something like this: walk from point A to point B and back again. Make it look like you are shopping together! The next shoot was to walk up and down the escalator to fill in the holes when there are no people on it. We did this for about two hours. Up and down, up and down! The next shoot I had to walk with Jason and a shopping cart to look like we were grocery shopping, then it was back to a shoot where I was with Connie going from point A to point B and back again. We were standing waiting for the shoot to start when a lady walked up to us and asked what they were shooting. I said, it was a Citibank Commercial. “Oh” she said, then suddenly realized that we were watching the director waiting for his arm to come down which was our cue. It was funny, she was suddenly “oh my goodness, you’re in the commercial”. I was surprised at how fast she could move! It was a good laugh for the two of us.

The next shoot involved Jana and I walking along in the shopping mall, then turning back and walking the other way. A lot of walking the entire day. Good exercise. The producer then asked for four of us to stay on overtime and shoot a scene at the bank. He asked me to change into jeans. My first change of the day and it was 4:30! We arrived at the bank, sat there until 6:15 and then the producer told us we could leave. He never did use us in the shoot. Nice to get paid to sit around although all of us were quite tired by then.

As you can tell by now, I can’t remember everyones name, which is frustrating.  I learned two important lessons yesterday. In the future (which I hope will be a future as it was a fun day)  I will take a pen and paper and write down each persons name as I learn it and I will come to the “shoot” dressed to start! The important thing is that I made my original $250. back and then some. Good pay, good company, good fun. All in a days work!

6 responses to “All in A Days Work.

  1. jackie December 18, 2009 at 6:16 am

    How interesting!! How do you find stuff like that to do?? I could have looked at a million papers for job listings and not in a million years would I have decided to give that a whirl!! But you already know that because you know me! And I could have guessed you would say”why not??” Anyway, your article was well written and very interesting!!

  2. Jane December 18, 2009 at 10:04 am

    Way to go, Judy!

    I could ‘hear’ your voice throughout the entire article. Now, that’s writing about something you know, in your own voice.

    …,waiting for the next installment.


  3. jeune December 18, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    Sounds like you had a great time.Maybe it’s the start of a new career.

  4. Trixie January 16, 2010 at 7:28 am

    Wow, that’s so neat! I wouldn’t have a clue of how to get one of these jobs. That’s an interesting line of work.


  5. Shari January 21, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    Judy…how cool is this new adventure!!!?! Awesome writing! You really are gifted old friend….anything you try you always excel. I can’t wait to enjoy more of your litererary expressions.
    Hey! Am I the ‘Producer Girl’ … ‘Shari’ …you were speaking of…. makes me wonder how wrinkled she was!! Ha Ha Ha!! Take good care!

  6. Judy Clark January 28, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    Hi Shari:

    Yes, producer girl reminded me of you. No, she wasn’t wrinkled! Quite the opposite actually!

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