Spent this past Sunday/Monday doing some work as a background extra for the TV show Leverage. I got to be a Boston dockworker despite being in Portland. Through TV magic Portland locales are transformed into Boston. It was a long tiring day but a lot of fun.
Sunday I was up at 3:30am to make it to the set by 5am. By 6am we were getting our wardrobe checked out and props. I had some old blue coveralls with me and my steel toe boots so that was my outfit. They provided an orange safety vest and hard hat, voila, a dockworker! A lot of what we were doing was being the miscellaneous people you see in the background of a shot looking like we're busy doing shipyard/dock stuff. Some guys were carrying pipes around, others driving carts or carrying lunch boxes. Some were on bikes. I got to stare at a power meter a few times.
Other extras got to be FBI agents, Boston PD, Port Authority PD, Thugs, Gun Buyers. Neat seeing a shot come together. Helicopter, police and FBI cars racing around the docks. We did a lot of the same walkthroughs for different angles. The main actors probably had it worse though as they had to keep doing the lines for all the different angles and shots while being on a ship in 80+ weather with that heat just reflecting off the deck. And when we wrapped up at 8:30pm they kept going until almost 11pm.
Yesterday there were a few shots and then mostly just waiting in the holding area in case they needed some more background. Later call time so I didn't have to be there as early, plus they fed us a really good lunch before sending us home. The actors were all really cool people, the directors and assistants and other crew were all awesome. I don't think I could do a job like that full time like they do, it's pretty demanding, but it was neat to get behind the scenes of a TV production to see how it is done. I've been an extra on one film that hasn't been released yet, but I didn't get any camera time, it was also neat but the routine was different for it.
Extra work isn't glamorous but it is fun, you meet some neat people and you just might see yourself on TV for a brief moment.