Wednesday, November 16, 2005

November 16, 2005

Not much to report on today. Yesterday I worked on "House," which I quite enjoy. Today I worked on "CSI: New York," which I'd never done before. I can't think of anything noteworthy about either shoot, except that the A.D. on "House" remembered me and kept calling me Tom. As Tom is not my name, I wonder if he remembered someone named Tom, or actually remembered me, just not my name.

In military terms, the extras are the lowest rungs on the ladder; the grunt privates used for cannon fodder. There's a hierarchy on a film set, from director (or producer in television's case) down to grips, or even lower, craft service. And at the bottom of the list, way down below pets of the crew, you find me.

I'm the guy who can get it for you.

Whoops, wrong production.

Extras, traditionally, aren't treated very well, and are respected even less. It's understandable, really, since a quarter of all extras are ex-convicts, scumbags, and alien replicants. Plus, the potted plant or the chair your actor sits in doesn't wander off the set or have to be given lunch.

George Lucas is notorious for not liking actors, preferring to create digital/puppet/miniature creatures, armies, and background players. And I imagine most directors, assistant directors, and P.A.s feel that same way about extras. I've worked several big gigs ("cattle calls," they're sometimes called), where cardboard cut-outs and/or dummies are used among the extras, or in place of them. And you'd never know the difference, except the fake ones don't complain about the long hours or need a place to smoke cigarettes.

There are exceptions, to be fair. When there are hot extras with big boobs and visible thong underwear, I'd imagine the attitude changes a little.

To be fair.

Rish "Human Prop" Outfield

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