5.11.10

Extra, Extra!


It was the grossest day ever here. The wind won't stop beating against the side of the house. I went to get the flu & pneumonia shot today and got bitch-slapped by a sheet of rain. My usually-reliable LuLu rain coat failed to protect me. After the shots (ouch) and grocery shopping (hello festive PC products!) I was warm and dry in my living room. I searched for something brain-numbing to watch and came across 'The Matthew Shepard Story.' For those who don't know, Matthew Shepard was gay man murdered by two homophobic a-holes.

But this post is not about that.

Stay with me.

The summer after my first year of university, I went home to work and party with my friends save money. After a few failed attempts at waitressing (it's really not my bag) a friend of my mother's suggested that I become an 'extra' in movies and TV shows. Within a few days, I'd met with my agent, had my measurements and photos taken and booked my first 'gig.' It was one of the sweetest summers ever. 

Living in/near Toronto had its perks because working as an extra meant there was always tonnes of work! By 'work' what I really mean is 'show up and get paid for sitting under a tree for 7 hours.' For reals. It was amazing.

My primary gig that summer was for a Canadian diddy called "Relic Hunter," starring Tia Carrere (the hot singer from Wayne's World). A typical day would start around 8:00 A.M. with hair, makeup and wardrobe. There would be craft service with teas, coffee and breakfast snacks. Then, we'd pile into a waiting room where the Assistant Directors would choose who would go to set and where they'd be. This is where I'd try to be as inconspicuous as possible because if I didn't get chosen then I got to hang out, play cards, snack and chat in the waiting room. The best part was I'd still get paid!! As long as I showed up to set, I got paid for a minimum of 8-hours (go union!). There were times that we'd get wrapped early and we'd still get the 8-hour minimum! Every set had eager-beavers who thought their ticket to stardom would come from extra-work (it doesn't, btw), so I'd throw myself on the opposite room of them. That was a summer of days lounging outside in the sunlight and meeting fellow non-thespians-but-need-the-cash-ers. 

(Here's where I circle back)
Although I was a regular on Relic Hunter, I was never near a camera. Over four months, I only had two movies where I was a 'featured extra' (sort of an oxymoron, but whatever). One of those movies was the made-for-TV-special The Matthew Shepard Story. Nothing is stranger than seeing a teenage you... on a TV... in your own living room. There are three times in the flick where my face is fairly front-and-centre. Each time, I look half-bored and annoyed (I was playing a high school student...) but it's still pretty cool.

The best part about that shoot though was the hair-guy on set. He was seriously flamboyant and totally hilarious. He was the regular hair-guy and I was there a lot, so we'd get to chatting about things as he'd give me the doo-o-tha-day. One day, we must have gotten our wires crossed or something because from then on he thought I was a lesbian. I didn't care enough to correct him and I got crazy awesome hair styles after that. In the scene where my face is right behind Stockard Channing's, I have the best hair ever! It's twirly and spiky and I'd forgotten how fly it was! My hair's too short now to wear it like that, but seeing it brought a huge smile to my face.

Aw...that was such a great summer...

ps. I also met William Shatner when he cut in front of me in the lunch line on the set of American Psycho II. He's quite short but nice, so I let it slide. 

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