Sunday, May 21, 2000

Do's and don'ts for extras

By Margaret A. McGurk
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Hundreds of Tristaters have applied to be extras in the Michael Douglas thriller Traffic, which will be shooting in Cincinnati for the next three weeks.

        Some of them don't know what they're in for.

        If you are hired as a “background artist,” be prepared to spend a lot of time doing nothing. You may spend hours outdoors. You may walk back and forth across the same patch of ground a dozen times or more. You may be bored to tears.

        You almost certainly will NOT be discovered, chum around with the stars, hang out with the cinematographer or get the director to read that script you've been working on in your spare time.

        With the help of Linda Winters of Winters Casting, who has spent the several weeks screening potential extras for director Steven Soderbergh, we have compiled a short list of critical do's and don'ts for extras.

        • Clear the entire day. Hire a baby sitter, take vacation time, cancel your poker game.

        • Bring at least two forms of identification.

        • Show up with your hair and makeup ready.

        • Wear muted colors unless specifically told otherwise.

        • Wear shoes you can stand in all day.

        • Be prepared to remove or hide your wedding ring.

        • Bring a book, magazine, knitting, homework — anything portable to do during long waits in the holding area. Then leave them behind when you are called to the set.

        • Fill out all required paperwork at the end of the day.

        • Check call-times and locations for the next day, if you are returning.

        • Be accessible at all times, including late at night, in case of last-minute changes in location or schedule.

        • Look into the camera.

        • Talk to the stars unless they talk to you first.

        • Distract the director or any crew member.

        • Bring children or other visitors to the set.

        • Wear flat white, black, checks or stripes.

        • Leave the extras holding area until you are called.

        • Carry pagers or cell phones while filming your scenes.

        • Move in your scene unless you are told to do so.

        • Touch any equipment.

        • Count on seeing yourself in the final version.


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