Thursday, May 15, 2014

Be on television somehow (for something good, lol) Decade Bucket List Goal #35

So early one afternoon, I was perusing my social media feed when I noticed a post from a group I follow, which casts extras for Chicago Fire. They were looking for people to play teachers and asked, if submitting, for a close up of your face and a full body shot, along with height, weight, and age.

Oh boy.

I am not a model. I am not a size two. I am not an actress. But, I am trying to stretch my comfort zone and do things I never would have done before, so I figured why not? I plucked a couple photos and sent them in with the necessary info. I sat back and allowed myself a moment of pride in having had the courage to hit "send", and expected nothing else to happen. (Here's the photos I sent. The second pic there of me in the blue was in front of the house they were filming "Jupiter Ascending" in - we went to take a peek while they were filming.)

Ten minutes later (I kid you not, ten minutes), my phone rings, asking if I am able to be there the scheduled day, all day or all night (depending on shoot time). Um, yes please! I had vacation days from work to use, so this would be perfect!

I showed up to the designated parking lot at the allotted time -- okay, that's a lie. I showed up in Chicago an hour and a half early because I didn't want to be late, so I walked around (in flip flops and a winter coat, because I was so nervous I'd only packed the heels I'd brought for shooting and didn't want to walk around in them for an hour). After a soda at Subway and calling my husband to let him know that I had successfully made it and parked, I headed to the parking lot we'd been told to park in. There, I waited for the shuttle to take us to set along with the other extras. It was pretty fun to talk to them; some of them were first-timers like me while others had been extras several times. We were able to see a few of the actors arrive to their trailers. So cool! (I know, I'm a geek. But this is as close to actors as I will probably ever get, unless my books become movies, right?!)

We arrived to the set at 6:30 via shuttle. They fed us some excellent food (which I hear was pretty nice because some sets don't feed extras at all) and the wardrobe people went through the outfits we brought (I had to change. Twice. Good thing I brought plenty!).  We sat around with the other extras. They called us out (it was April, but 30 degrees out at night - brrrr!) I was (obviously) a teacher, and we each had a handful of kids who "escaped the boarding school fire", and so we stood there with our group during all the takes. It was interesting to talk to all the kids in my group about school and what they'd been extras for - I had some pretty entertaining kids! There were also people on set who came by to check on the kids and played games with them.

Lots of time outside (no coats), doing a few takes of each scene and then moving a little and doing it all over - interesting! Then in and out between scenes while they set up the next one. I'm not going to lie - I was freezing!

Seeing how they did the fire in the building was amazing. It was very neat to see the behind the scenes and see the actors laughing one moment and then hear "action" and watch them just delve into character.

And the coolest part: about 2 a.m., I'm outside on the sidewalk with four kids (3 boys, 1 girl) who are slightly restless and hopped up on Mountain Dew to stay awake. It's cold outside, and they were getting a little rowdy. So I offer the suggestion of dancing to keep warm. They do a dance move and I have to mimick it and vice versa. This goes on for a couple minutes until I'm doing the running man, and the kids start really laughing (more than they had been at my awful dance skills). When I ask what they are laughing at, they point to the fire truck 20 feet away.

The firetruck in which Taylor Kinney, Charlie Barnett, and Randy Flagler are sitting in (with others). Oh boy. I couldn't see who, but apparently someone in there was amused by my dancing skills! So I instead suggest the milder rock, paper, scissors until again, the kids are laughing - and Randy Flagler is in the fire truck doing rock, paper, scissors! He motioned to me to do it, so one round of rock, paper, scissors went down. I can't remember who won, but it was the highlight of my night!

We finished filming at about 5:15 a.m. and were shuttled back to the lot, where I drank some Dr. Pepper in anticipation of my hour drive home. Thank goodness for my in-laws who kept the kids a few extra hours so I could sleep a little! 

So anywho, if you watch the season 2 finale of Chicago Fire, I'm around the 6:38 mark, walking behind Taylor Kinney as he exits the fire truck. I know, it's two seconds of blurriness and really all you can see are my black blazer, black hair and gray pants, but that's my claim to fame. I got on TV for a couple seconds. That's right. You can all ask for my autograph now ;)

Now I'll retire on top, lol.

 One of the awesome extras I met, Heather. (Like our smoke smudge makeup?)

Oh, look, there's me in the background on the left! (Seriously, quit looking at Taylor Kinney and look BEHIND him. That's me, that blur in the background. No, eyes to the left...not on Kinney.)

There's me again - this is actually from b-roll on YouTube of behind the scenes filming.

Me again.

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