Posts Tagged movie extras

Hot Mustang, Stunt Men, Car Chase…I think I’m in Bullitt!

Or…scenes of a movie extra, day 3.

They called me back for a third day to be an extra on Higher Mission. This was fun. I had been told to bring “dressy” wardrobe. We’d be eating dinner in a nice restaurant.

I wear an “outfit”. I have learned enough on movie sets to take extra clothing, and take a wide variety of clothing. But, I dress nice at home, and drive in, wearing my outfit.

It’s back to Guthrie, OK and my call time is 9:30. It’s dark and gray and there are little raindrops every so often. But the wind is up, and it’s generally miserable to be outdoors.

So, guess what? We are to film outdoors!

We are to play restaurant patrons, at an outdoor cafe. Well, if that’s the job, I’m happy to do it. I’ll do anything they ask.

Then you start to overhear things, and….gee this is kind of cool….

They have hot cars…

Setup for car stunt scene

Setup for car stunt scene

The hot Mustang

The hot Mustang

I tell you…I see this car, and I see the setup they are doing for the car crash stunt scene, and I start looking around for Steve McQueen. Did they have this much fun on Bullitt?

Note the license tags

Note the license tags

So, I play “pedestrian”. I get to walk down the sidewalk, and as the action happens, you react to it.

That’s another thing that was soooo cool about this production.

Let’s say that on a movie set, you are dining at a restaurant, and they are filming two people in the center of the restaurant. So, you don’t get to LOOK at anything. It’s hard to act like you are dining. But, in the actual filming, you can not watch. That’s pretty standard. You can’t look at the camera. You can’t look at the action.

This movie….you could look. If there was some type of action – a person running into a scene, or cars moving or something happening, you got to watch. That was a first for me. When anything happened on set (on camera), they wanted you to react to it.

Guthrie is an amazing town. Great downtown. Great restoration of buildings.

SANY1939 med ir


I love the process of making movies. Yes, there is a lot of “sit around and wait”.

But, when you are a movie director/producer, you are responsible for every single thing that happens on a set. The success or failure lies on your shoulders.

So, that’s why it’s really fun to go be an actor. You don’t have responsibility. Let me re-phrase that. You have the responsibility to do your job. But–as an actor, even if you are only an extra, the weight of the entire production doesn’t rest on your shoulders. You meet the most interesting people. You can learn what others are doing–production wise. I realize that as a writer–my movies are too talk-y. I need to include more action (and I’m taking the lesson to heart–our next movie project of our own is ALL action).

Working on this movie was a great experience. I’m glad I had it. But, whew! I need some downtime. I told someone I was probably going to take a week of downtime (meaning to just do the day job, but not take on anything else–no extra projects). That’ll probably last about a day. After one free day, I’ll be so bored. I’ll dive back into the grindstone of creative endeavors.

That’s okay, I have lots of projects to keep me busy. I’m sooo close to having that book published. I would have had it out by now, but this movie process was too neat to pass up.

Thanks for sharing this journey. In a world where negativity and criticism are the standard; it’s great to have friends with whom one can experience the joy.




From Oklahoma to Russia in an hour and a half

Or….scenes from a movie extra day 2.

So, last Wednesday, I got called back to work on the movie as an extra. You have this phone number to call, and it gives you the time and location of where you show up. So, I’m supposed to show up in Guthrie, OK at 11:30 on Wednesday….at the Scottish Rite Temple.

Scottish Rite Temple in Guthrie

Scottish Rite Temple in Guthrie

See those columns on the front of the building? Pay attention to the left one. More on that later.

So, it takes me about an hour and a half to get to Guthrie, and when I get there,  the back of the temple doubles as Russia. They had Russian cars and put men in Russian police uniforms. This is super cool.

Russian Ambulance

Russian Ambulance

Russian police car

They staged a fight scene. And they went really far with it. Was really amazing to watch. I had heard that they wanted maybe 200 extras that day. (You hear a lot of things, but you can’t be sure of anything, and when I got there, I heard that they had 31 extras on the sign in sheet. Whoops!) I’m supposed to play “angry mob”.  So, in this first scene, while the men are fighting, several of us ran thru the shot in the background.

Now, under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t give specifics on a movie job, or on someone else’s production. If they asked me to sign a confidentiality agreement, I would sign it and honor it. So, when I made the previous blog post, I kept it rather vague.

Then I started surfing the web, and the principles are blogging and tweeting about this experience, and posting all sorts of behind the scenes shots.

Allrighty then….this movie is called Higher Mission.

It has many stars, among them, Casper Van Dien, Victoria Summer and Catherine Oxenberg.

Casper Van Dien Twitter feed

Victoria Summer Twitter feed

Catherine Oxenberg Twitter feed

There is even a hashtag #Higher Mission

Okay…so if everyone else is posting behind the scenes stuff, cool!


Remember that pillar I mentioned? The slab next to it has about a 6 feet drop down to these steps. And about a 20 foot drop down to the ground on the other side. I stood as much in the middle of this slab as I could. I have issues with energy management and balance, and I didn’t trust myself around the edge. And here are all these young men, taking leaps and jumping around. I stayed up there about 2 1/2 hours. You could SEE so much of the action, and the scene is happening right in front of me.

Scenes from the pillar

Scenes from the pillar

It’s kind of a standard rule on movie sets– you don’t bother the principles. They have their job to do, and you do yours. Well, let me tell you, Casper Van Dien is a riot. He was super cool, and easy going and thoroughly entertained everybody. You can do a lot of waiting around while they set up shots, and I’m about 2 people behind him, and Ms. Summer. Well, he told stories, cracked jokes, pulled funny pranks. It was soooo amazing to get to be on such a relaxed and fun set.

Capser Van Dien and Victoria Summer

Casper Van Dien and Victoria Summer

I played a reporter. We had to push at the police to try to rush the principles.

waiting on a scene

waiting on a scene

This is such a super fun movie set. It was so relaxed and pleasant. [There are some that are the opposite–believe me]

In most instances, when you were not specifically in a shot, they move you back to extras holding..

oh yes..

Extras holding

Extras holding

But in this instance, if you weren’t specifically in the shot, they let you hang around and watch. They even told us where the chairs were upstairs, and if you were not in the shot, you could sit there.

So from the balcony, you could see the action.

The principles on the main floor

The principles on the main floor

The day was a BLAST! This was the most I had done on a movie, or on any acting gig. (And I’ve been sore the last couple of days, so I could feel the physical toll–ha!). Those floors were marble and hard. Imagine standing in heels for about 3 hours in one spot on those floors.

It’s kind of amazing. I didn’t feel that well to start with that day. Thank goodness it was a later start time, because I was sure slow that morning. But, once I got signed in, we didn’t have to wait long till they called us. And once I went out on set, some sort of mental thing takes over. It’s kind of amazing. In normal life, my brain is always “on”. I can’t turn it off. But, when I’m on set, I’m on set. Nothing else in the world exists. I am completely in that moment. It’s such a joy to experience that.

Then you go off set and back to the holding area, and I don’t feel well again. But, boom,  as soon as you are back on set, the magic happens again.

Yes, it’s tiring and fatiguing. But, something about this process feeds you. It fills something in you.

Part of the take-away experience is the people you share the experience with.

I’ve done this enough, that I divide the extras into three categories:

1)The ones to live to bitch (bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch–you know the type)

2)The ones who exist to be seen (they must prove over and over again how important they are)

3) The ones who enjoy every single part of the experience.

Well, on this day, there were so many of the #3 types there. Young people who want to make movies for a living and who come to set and soak up everything. They are never bored and entertained by it all.

Getting to meet those people, and see their enthusiasm–that is the icing on the cake!