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Old 03-04-2010, 04:38 PM
 
Location: Brendansport, Sagitta IV
7,543 posts, read 12,608,126 times
Reputation: 2954

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wurzig View Post
Did you get paid for being an extra? Was it fun or did you have to stand around all day? How did you get into that? Answer an ad in Variety?
There was another rag that by now I can't recall the name of, where some of the agents advertised. Other than that it was all word of mouth. Some agents are good and some are screw jobs. On most shows basically you spend 12 hours standing around, interspersed with brief periods of frantic activity, which you may repeat 50 times before the director is happy. However most of this is actually wasted time courtesy of almost everything but (some of) the extras being union jobs... when I've worked shows that the producer actually had to pay for out of their own pocket, there's not a moment wasted and you never stop moving except when you sit down for lunch. Some shoots are fun but most are just a lot of dull waiting around. The work does train you to have an infinite capacity for boredom.

All but the screw jobs pay, tho it's not much -- a little more than min.wage, plus overtime (which is generally almost half your pay), plus lunch (which is a GOOD meal on the good shoots, and barely food on the crappy shoots), and rarely mileage or "bumps" for "special business" (doing something more than being a generic warm body, or having to walk thru smoke or work in the rain, or for providing a vehicle of the desired specs, etc.)

You have to call in every day (to 5 or 6 agencies, or however many you're signed up with, then you're on hold as long as the queue happens to be) to check for work, which you'll only get about 3 days a week at best, tho 3 days is 36 hours plus 3 hours for lunch plus up to 10 hours total commute time, so it winds up being more than a 40 hour week. You don't get to pick what you work on, it's just whatever needs a warm body of your description that next day.

TV is always better to work than film, because TV has a fixed shooting schedule and a fixed budget, so you always know what you're getting into. Film more typically meanders in all directions (plans subject to change without notice, magically altered budget, etc), and suffers a great deal more graft and inefficiency. Comedies are high-stress productions and most comics are utter jerks in real life, so to be avoided if you had a choice (your choice is to work or not work, essentially). -- Extras budget is accounted for as petty cash, so is unfortunately rather subject to disappearing into some producer's pocket, and then you get shorted half an hour of your OT wage, and get WW2 surplus instead of the good meal you expected. (Yes, I've actually seen that. I was one of the few who would complain to the producer or to the extras wrangler; contrary to popular fear, a fair complaint will NOT get you blacklisted. Failing to show up for work is what gets you on the bad list!)

Anyway, I did this for about 5 years, then got one too many jobs for Universal Studios (who always sucked to work for, and always cheated us either on meals or overtime pay) and that was enough of that!

Conversely Cannon films, which is essentially a money laundry for the Israeli mob, was a good outfit to work for. So was Robert Blake's show, even tho the man himself is a complete p***k. Gagme and Rapeme, er, Cagney and Lacey was also a very good show to work, so long as you stayed out of the line of fire of the two stars, who hated each other and everyone else while they were at it. TV101 was like having a regular everyday job (and Martin Mull is one of the nicest folks I've ever met -- generally TV actors are "what you see is what you get" in real life). And so on... every production house had its quirks!

 
Old 03-04-2010, 04:54 PM
 
Location: Brendansport, Sagitta IV
7,543 posts, read 12,608,126 times
Reputation: 2954
Here's a little Montana-Hollywood story: Telefon - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The city skyline depicting Houston, Texas in the film is actually Great Falls, Montana, where the majority of the film was shot. The exploding building in one scene is actually the controlled demolition of the old Paris Gibson Junior High School in Great Falls.
There's more to the story than that. The brick part of PGJH was damaged by a quake and had been useless for some years at that point. The production company agreed to pay Great Falls $2,000 for the privilege of blowing up the building. So far so good... Except the contract failed to specify who cleaned up the mess afterward (the front of the building was blown all over the street). The production company refused to do it (their attitude was "ain't in our contract, ain't our problem"), and it cost the city $10,000 to do the cleanup.

The moral is, when you deal with Hollywood, make sure you have a very mean lawyer on your side, who thinks of little details like this!!
 
Old 03-04-2010, 04:58 PM
 
Location: Brendansport, Sagitta IV
7,543 posts, read 12,608,126 times
Reputation: 2954
Here's a neat aerial photo of Great Falls:
File:Great Falls MT.JPG - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Click the picture for a larger view.
 
Old 03-04-2010, 05:10 PM
 
Location: Brendansport, Sagitta IV
7,543 posts, read 12,608,126 times
Reputation: 2954
Too funny!
Great Falls High School

Also check out the photos page.. I'd forgotten how beautiful the GFHS building is!!
 
Old 03-04-2010, 06:21 PM
 
Location: Colorado
4,023 posts, read 4,731,457 times
Reputation: 8641
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reziac View Post
There was another rag that by now I can't recall the name of, where some of the agents advertised. Other than that it was all word of mouth. Some agents are good and some are screw jobs. On most shows basically you spend 12 hours standing around, interspersed with brief periods of frantic activity, which you may repeat 50 times before the director is happy. However most of this is actually wasted time courtesy of almost everything but (some of) the extras being union jobs... when I've worked shows that the producer actually had to pay for out of their own pocket, there's not a moment wasted and you never stop moving except when you sit down for lunch. Some shoots are fun but most are just a lot of dull waiting around. The work does train you to have an infinite capacity for boredom.

All but the screw jobs pay, tho it's not much -- a little more than min.wage, plus overtime (which is generally almost half your pay), plus lunch (which is a GOOD meal on the good shoots, and barely food on the crappy shoots), and rarely mileage or "bumps" for "special business" (doing something more than being a generic warm body, or having to walk thru smoke or work in the rain, or for providing a vehicle of the desired specs, etc.)

You have to call in every day (to 5 or 6 agencies, or however many you're signed up with, then you're on hold as long as the queue happens to be) to check for work, which you'll only get about 3 days a week at best, tho 3 days is 36 hours plus 3 hours for lunch plus up to 10 hours total commute time, so it winds up being more than a 40 hour week. You don't get to pick what you work on, it's just whatever needs a warm body of your description that next day.

TV is always better to work than film, because TV has a fixed shooting schedule and a fixed budget, so you always know what you're getting into. Film more typically meanders in all directions (plans subject to change without notice, magically altered budget, etc), and suffers a great deal more graft and inefficiency. Comedies are high-stress productions and most comics are utter jerks in real life, so to be avoided if you had a choice (your choice is to work or not work, essentially). -- Extras budget is accounted for as petty cash, so is unfortunately rather subject to disappearing into some producer's pocket, and then you get shorted half an hour of your OT wage, and get WW2 surplus instead of the good meal you expected. (Yes, I've actually seen that. I was one of the few who would complain to the producer or to the extras wrangler; contrary to popular fear, a fair complaint will NOT get you blacklisted. Failing to show up for work is what gets you on the bad list!)

Anyway, I did this for about 5 years, then got one too many jobs for Universal Studios (who always sucked to work for, and always cheated us either on meals or overtime pay) and that was enough of that!

Conversely Cannon films, which is essentially a money laundry for the Israeli mob, was a good outfit to work for. So was Robert Blake's show, even tho the man himself is a complete p***k. Gagme and Rapeme, er, Cagney and Lacey was also a very good show to work, so long as you stayed out of the line of fire of the two stars, who hated each other and everyone else while they were at it. TV101 was like having a regular everyday job (and Martin Mull is one of the nicest folks I've ever met -- generally TV actors are "what you see is what you get" in real life). And so on... every production house had its quirks!
You are on a roll today! I liked reading this! Thanks for sharing.
 
Old 03-04-2010, 06:31 PM
 
Location: Colorado
4,023 posts, read 4,731,457 times
Reputation: 8641
Quote:
Originally Posted by ElkHunter View Post
I remember seeing that. No, I'm a bit more respectful of wildlife then that. They need their space. It's nice to see them and have them around, but they don't need to be pets.

I just went out on my 4 wheeler and took the new puppy for a ride. She really likes riding. We went down river about 10 miles. Saw a beautiful Eagle. I'd guess the wingspan was about 7 ft. Couldn't get the camera out quick enough. I've seen a lot of eagles along the river but none that got this close. This one was right by my cabin. Down about 3 miles from me is a couple of nests and you always see them around there.

Ice has busted in the river so it's about fishing time. Went out the other day and didn't catch anything, but ice was over my favorite spot. Temps have been in the upper 50's. Can't believe it. March????? 50's?????

Was up on the mountains in September and run across a black bear. He was just lumbering along. My horse didn't like it at all. Matter of fact, the horse acting up is what told me there was one around. Give them lots of room. They're ok.
And I liked reading this one, too! Again, thank you for sharing.

I was on a guided rafting trip going down a river with rapids somewhere near Whistler in Canada...I forgot what they call the raft, but it has one of those propellers on it and it goes fast on top of the water....April, about 10-12 years ago...we all had to wear rain coats, the guide-pilot had a gun strapped to his hip like a cowboy and also a rifle in the 'raft'....this was not a tiny raft....it probably held, oh, less than 20 people, maybe a dozen...... It was a gorgeous (but pretty stinking cold), ride...the water was flowing but we did go by a glacier....he pointed out an eagle in a nest.....it was high in a tree that looked like it was dead.....just skeletal branches for the most part.... I am not sure if I have ever seen another eagle, except in the San Diego Zoo....
 
Old 03-04-2010, 06:35 PM
 
Location: Colorado
4,023 posts, read 4,731,457 times
Reputation: 8641
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reziac View Post
Too funny!
Great Falls High School

Also check out the photos page.. I'd forgotten how beautiful the GFHS building is!!
The Conehead Family...

You are right, it's really good looking........
 
Old 03-04-2010, 06:37 PM
 
Location: Colorado
4,023 posts, read 4,731,457 times
Reputation: 8641
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reziac View Post
Here's a neat aerial photo of Great Falls:
File:Great Falls MT.JPG - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Click the picture for a larger view.
White icing......
 
Old 03-04-2010, 07:03 PM
 
Location: Brendansport, Sagitta IV
7,543 posts, read 12,608,126 times
Reputation: 2954
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wurzig View Post
You are on a roll today! I liked reading this! Thanks for sharing.
It's a conspiracy to make everyone waste their whole day reading C-D posts

For that to work, someone had to waste their whole day writing C-D posts too, right??
 
Old 03-04-2010, 07:08 PM
 
Location: Brendansport, Sagitta IV
7,543 posts, read 12,608,126 times
Reputation: 2954
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wurzig View Post
The Conehead Family...

You are right, it's really good looking........
And I think those are teachers...!!

When I'd run out of things to do in the auditorium study hall, I could always look at the detail work on the ceiling, the woodwork, etc. It was as beautiful as any fancy old-style opera house. We really knew how to build 'em in those days!

I had wonderful teachers all through HS, too. They must all be retired now; I didn't recognise any of the names on the faculty roster.

Gad, my 40th class reunion is in two years. Now I feel old!!
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