Today I have a fun Q & A with a friend of a friend, Kara, who is now my friend! Back in March we met for the first time during a fun weekend trip to Wilmington, NC to be extras in a film! It was my first time in Wilmington for something other than a beach trip, and my first time as an extra. Sure I was on the drama team at church, took drama in high school and a theater class in college, but it was nothing like being an extra! Since Kara has some experience extraing in tv shows and movies, I thought it would be neat to ask her some questions and learn from the seasoned extra.
1. When did you first start extraing? How was it…were you nervous, excited? Did you go with friends or solo? And how did you first hear about doing it?
When I first started going down to Wilmington to watch filming of One Tree Hill, I met a lot of people that had been extras on the show and they told me if I wanted to be an extra on any production in the area, then I should go sign up with Fincannon, the extras casting company, so that is exactly what I did. My first extra-ing experience was about 2 years ago on the TV show “Playing With Guns.” I was really excited because I not only got to work on a set with the cast and crew, but I also got to work on it with my friend, Kara and her sister Keisha.
2. How many times have you been an extra?
I have extraed 6 different times. Once on Playing With Guns, once on the movie Arthur Newman: Golf Pro, once on The Conjuring aka The Warren Files, and three times on One Tree Hill.
3. What do you love most about it?
What I love about extra-ing is you get to see what goes on behind the scenes and all the work that goes into making a film production. It is also interesting to watch the actors during the scene and see the different ways that they act when the cameras are on and when they are off. For example, when Patrick Wilson started singing “Red Solo Cup” on the set of The Conjuring, it was so funny!
4. What’s been your favorite experience so far? Least favorite experience?
It is so hard to choose a favorite experience, but if I had to choose I would say my experience on Arthur Newman: Golf Pro only because the day I was an extra there were only five of us, so the crew let us watch Emily Blunt and Colin Firth do their scene when the extras weren’t needed, we were also allowed to eat at the cast and crew’s “snack table.” All in all, I didn’t feel like an extra, I felt like part of the crew! My least favorite extraing experience was during filming on Playing With Guns, because it was SO cold! The day we filmed was in February and we were filming a summer scene, so all the extras when in summer clothes, some were even in bikinis. We filmed from 9:00 AM until around 2:30 AM… you can just imagine how cold it is during a February night in a tank top and a skirt on. It was not fun, but it was still an awesome experience.
5. For the day we extraed together on The Conjuring, what was your favorite part? Did you like the whole 70s apparel/set? And do you plan on seeing the movie in theaters? (haha I’m probably going to wait until it comes out on dvd…I don’t do well with scary movies in theaters!)
Extra-ing on The Conjuring was SO much fun. Since the other extra-ing experiences that I’ve had were set in present day, it was fun to dress up as college students in the 1970s. I loved seeing everyone dressed up, it really looked like we went back in time! Since I love scary movies, especially in theaters, I will probably go see it!
6. Do you plan on doing it more in the future, if your school/job allows it? Would you ever consider an internship/job in the casting/producing/acting world?
If any opportunity comes my way to be an extra in another production I would be the first one to volunteer! I would also love to get a internship/job in the media production business in the future. I’ve always been interested in film making and extra-ing is just a great start and one of the many ways to get my foot in the door!
Thanks so much Kara for taking time to answer some questions about your experiences! Seriously y’all, she’s had so many opportunities to work alongside of some great actors, and I think it’s so cool that extra-ing is something ANYONE can do. As long as they give you the okay 😉 I’ll admit, I was a little nervous and hesitant about being an extra, but all in all it was a great experience and I would do it again in a heartbeat. Plus, we had it good that day because our outfits were chosen for us, and we had hair & makeup done! Of course, I was a plain-Jane 70’s girl, so I wasn’t super special, but it was fun sitting in that canvas chair pretending I was more important than simply an extra.
me, Ash, Kara in our hot 70’s clothing
-in the holding room (cafeteria) where we spent hours waiting for the next scene to start filming. And where we finally ate lunch/dinner at 8:00pm after arriving on set around 11:00am!
Seriously… my outfit??? So hot, right?! The jeans were Hillbilly brand and were so uncomfortable! Plus, they were super short and the shoes I had to wear were huge, so basically I felt and looked like a major dork. And if that wasn’t bad enough they gave me a prop to wear…
Ash was stuck wearing heels all day and ended up with blisters, I was stuck wearing some hideous glasses that made me look like an even bigger nerd than I already am, and Kara had a cute outfit that they had picked out for her at a pre-fitting!
Can you tell that we were tired & bored after hours of sitting, standing, waiting???
Have you ever worked on a movie set before??? Tell me your experience!