Extra! Extra! Read all about it

That message had no business landing in work email in the first place.  I would delete it, but it represents a career path of potential interest to the library’s job seekers and vocational explorers.

OK, so  I’m rationalizing; I kept it because it intrigues me personally.

Sent by Onlocation Casting, recruiting local extras for the NBC television series Revolution (“filming in Austin, TX and various surrounding areas”) the notice asks us to publicize their casting call.  Links (further details, Facebook page, an application) accompany the letter.

Applicants are encouraged to complete the form and cautioned not to pay for unnecessary “active” upgrades.  I found that tip even more interesting than the promise of free snacks and references to other company projects:  Friday Night Lights, Crazy Heart, Titanic.

But why would an introvert like me find this opportunity even remotely appealing?

Certainly not my prior film career: the highlight was a close-up on a local TV children’s show years ago.  The camera panning the row of seven-year-olds in Blue Bird vests caught my freckled nose and wide grin then devoid of two front teeth and zoomed in.

And last summer, what might be my shoulder is visible in audience sweeps on The Colbert Report and The Daily Show.

Aha.  Now I remember the lure of “extra” work: behind-the-scenes access. For the price of waiting in several consecutive queues, I discovered how much smaller the Colbert set is in real life than it appears on television and how Colbert interacts out of character (just as funny, but really charming).

Studio audiences also see how glitches are managed. Singer Regina Spektor flubbed a couple of notes — she was the only one who thought so — and requested a do-over. The intro was repeated, the built-in time lag covered the re-shoot, and an apparently seamless musical segment was broadcast. But Spektor’s grace under pressure and warmth lent our onsite perspective added value.

On a film set, in costume and in close proximity to actors, directors, and whatever unscripted goings-on transpire, an extra witnesses the good, the bad, and the ugly.  For me, that (and the $8 per hour) would represent a nice payoff for filling out the application, waiting in more lines, and devoting a vacation day or two to the project.

Cinema fans who are Round Rock Public Library cardholders now have a new way to participate:  The Library’s new IndieFlix resource (accessible 24/7 with your library barcode) allows our patrons to stream thousands of independent films, including documentaries and shorts.

Because IndieFlix was founded by filmmakers and assembles the best (or, as their FAQ page notes, “possibly the weirdest, depending on your taste”) offerings from film festivals, you not only provide worthy productions with an audience, you help to fund future creations and innovations. IndieFlix shares revenues with filmmakers and even invites film submissions.

Important notes:  (1) To view IndieFlix for free as a cardholder, always start from the library’s homepage to log in. (2)  After you’re “discovered” on the Revolution set or presented with a statuette for your film, please tell the Academy that you owe it all to the library!

Leave a Reply