Blog: Movie extra

By Laura Beth Gebhardt

I absolutely love movies. One could even say that I am addicted to them, so you can imagine how excited I was to be given the opportunity to be in one, especially one that starred Claire Danes, David Strathairn, Catherine O’Hara and Julia Ormond. Yet, being an extra in a film is not for everyone. Most of the time a person will either love it or hate it. I personally loved the experience and would do it again in a heartbeat.

This opportunity I had to be a part of the Temple Grandin project was not a normal one, because like most extra work, I wasn’t just seen as a blurb in the background. I was, instead, working on set for four days, and had many scenes where I was right in front of the camera.

Being on a legit movie set was unlike anything else I have experienced. It was absolutely amazing to see how much detail and work went into getting a simple scene done. For example, on the first day, we were shooting a scene where all we were doing was playing outside in front of the school. It couldn’t have been more than a 40-second shot, and it took us almost four hours.

This is one of the reasons some people are not so fond of extra work. A phrase that describes it well is, “hurry up and wait.” The first hour you get there everyone is in a hurry to get your make up and wardrobe done, and then rush you off to set. Yet, when you get to the set, you wait and wait some more. One day we actually waited 10 hours before we started filming our first scene. But as frustrating as this sitting around was, it ended up bonding everyone who went. Since most everyone who was involved was from UMHB, we all already knew each other, but being stuck in a log cabin together for 10 hours brought us a lot closer.

In spite of the long waits and sleep deprivation, the experience was so rewarding. In the film business, it sometimes comes down to whom you know. Being a performance studies major and wanting to someday be involved with movies, networking is extremely important. I believe I got a good start by being a part of this film. The director talked with me one on one several times, and the assistant director knew me by name and always made a point to say hi to me. What a great opportunity!

Author: The Bells Staff

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