• Allie and Ryan

    Allie & Ryan

  • Allie and Ryan 2

    Allie & Ryan

  • Allie and Ryan 3

    Allie & Ryan

  • Ryan and Allie 4

    Allie & Ryan

  • Ryan and Allie 5

    Allie & Ryan

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Day in the Life of a TV Extra

I know I am very behind in my blogging but this is one I have been meaning to write for awhile!

A few days after Thanksgiving I saw a call for extras on a casting page I follow on Facebook. It was a call for the TV show Revolution, so I decided to submit. Less than an hour later I got an email saying I was booked! I was pretty (overly) excited about the whole thing.

My first task was to go to a wardrobe fitting at the studio. It wasn't mandatory, but it was an extra $20 on your paycheck if you did it. Obviously I am not doing much else so I jumped on that opportunity. Wilmington is becoming a very popular place to film in North Carolina, it is cheaper and films like Iron Man 3 are really paving the way. Rumor has it Captain America 2 will be filmed here as well. So I drove a little more than an hour to the studio with my bag of clothes. They told us to bring old work clothes and shoes but it was not needed. I was taken into what was practically a warehouse of clothing. Racks and racks of clothes, some designer and some still with tags, all in shades of neutral like the colors of the show. I was given brand new light tan pants, a tshirt, a long sweater duster, a fur vest and some kick ass boots for my costume. I loved the look but I knew they were going to dirty it up!

A few days later was my call to set, also in Wilmington. Luckily I wasn't called too early an 11am call time was much better than say a 5am call time, when you have an hour plus drive! Parking was confusing but I followed another lady around and we picked a nice side street. We got to the church that was serving as our home base and checked in.

Now being an extra means a lot of waiting around. You wait to sign in, you wait to go to wardrobe, you wait to go to hair and then make up and then finally to set.... where you wait to get used. They tell you to bring books or games or something to occupy yourself, but I never opened a book. I spent most of the time talking to people. It was pretty neat to see all the trailers and people running around, it was entertaining just to watch and stay out of the way. I did get to see the main stars of the show (from a distance) and also when I watched the playbacks in the warehouse.

My wardrobe looked awesome all dirtied up, but you know how they do it? Olde English Furniture Polish. Do you know when you wear the clothes it leaves lines around your ankles, waist, shoulders and neck? And it is impossible to get off. I had to shower with vaseline and my husband's assistance to get clean again! But it does look great.

I was given a bag as a prop too. Now my sweater duster ended up being cut, which was unfortunate, because it got COLD in the warehouse where we were filiming. I was the only extra in short sleeves while most people had leather jackets and coats of all kinds. I luckily had a sweatshirt in my bag but no one said anything when I claimed a seat in front of the heaters! The costume designer just didn't like the sweater duster, and it was pretty thin anyway, but I am sure if would have made things a little more comfortable!

 Extras wait. And wait. Filming was behind schedule so it was even more waiting. Once we were in the warehouse we settled down and snacked from the snack table and just talked. The extras with the earlier call time were being used as were the 'martial artist extras' (aka people who could be stuntmen and were trained in martial arts but were cast as extras to work with the stunt people for less money). Unfortunately the casting had overbooked a LOT of us. Apparently a wave of people were cut before we even got to set. I unfortunately did not get used. But I did get to see filming...

And have a pretty banging lunch. Most shows will have a 'star' craft table and an 'extras' craft table, Revolution shared! So we got to eat what everyone else did. Salads and roaster potatoes with rolls, crab stuffed mahi mahi, chicken and pork chops. It was delicious!
I was extremely disappointed when I wasn't used. I came so close. The PA in charge of us sent half the people away and narrowed us down to maybe a group of fifteen. Then I made eye contact with him and apparently that was enough as he sent five more of us home, myself included. Well, that's show business. But I would be lying if I didn't say I cried in the car... because I did. It didn't help that my phone was dying and I got lost trying to get back to the high way! But I eventually did. Revolution is now on hiatus for the holidays but I will be trying again. Just because the first time didn't work out doesn't mean I'll give up. I met some great people, got to learn some things.... and I still got paid! I was on set over eight hours before I turned in my costume and got back on the road.

My husband was very sweet when I got home too. He had a drink as well as some motivational emails for me, which I appreciated.

Here is to trying again!


  1. Greetings, I am enjoying your fantastic blog. If you love everything Sixties and Seventies, come visit the Submarine blog for a groovy time.

  2. This was a very interesting read. Sorry you didn't get on though but man, that food looks good!

  3. That is a cool opportunity! Too bad you didn't get used. Still a fun story!

  4. How cool! I hope you get to be on screen next time!


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