Acting

On August 8th I made the following tweet:

There wasn't any particular reason for me to feel that way; it was just a feeling.

Three days later, on the 11th, I was looking up behind-the-scenes videos of The Dark Knight Rises. The first one I came across took place during the football scene as someone in the crowd was filming the explosions set off by Bane. Through that, I found a YouTube channel where a guy in Pittsburgh had recorded over 50 videosof various TDKR sets along with a few scenes being filmed there. What stood out to me the most was just how close people that weren't working on the film were able to get to the cast and crew during production, or even to vehicles and props used. It seemed odd, so I looked into it, and came across a site called Before the Trailer. It was there that I saw We're the Millers, a comedy starring Jason Sudeikis and Jennifer Aniston, was filming in Wilmington, North Carolina, which is only a couple of hours away from me. The website is always looking for photos of sets and actors, and I toyed with the idea of driving to Wilmington to watch them film. I decided not to as I would feel weird standing off set like that staring at people as they're trying to work. Afterward I saw that Before the Trailer also posts casting information, including that for background actors (extras). I soon learned that Wilmington is, apparently, a popular place for filming movies and television shows, a fact my brother has known for a year now but never told me. If only I knew sooner, I could have been in Iron Man 3! Perhaps I'll be able to do Captain America 2...

After a little more research, I found Facebook pages for various casting agencies in the North Carolina area, which seems to be their main way of posting job info. I created a Facebook account - after a year of not having one - to follow the pages more closely and researched how to apply for roles properly. Four days later, on the 15th, I had gotten a role as an extra on Revolution, and then, on the 20th, I got a role on We're the Millers. I'll be writing and releasing separate posts for these and any more of my acting experiences as the movies/shows come out.

My only prior experience with acting is doing three musicals during my time in middle school and taking a drama class in high school. The first two musicals were at the Junction City Little Theater in Kansas, while the final (and worst) one was at Fort Riley Middle School. Only the first play I did, Kilroy Was Here, was any good. I'll write more about these sometime in the future. Of course, acting in a musical and doing background acting are completely different things, and I'll soon be going into more detail on just what a day as an extra can be like.

While this isn't something I'm currently interested in making a career out of (not that I could in North Carolina), I will be taking as many opportunities for background acting as I can. It's a fun diversion that pays well and gives a cool story to tell. Plus, the food is always free and delicious!

A couple of the Google+ posts I made that day.

Have any of you done any form of acting?

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Acting

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26 Comments
27 Comments
Posted by CharlesAlanRatliff

On August 8th I made the following tweet:

There wasn't any particular reason for me to feel that way; it was just a feeling.

Three days later, on the 11th, I was looking up behind-the-scenes videos of The Dark Knight Rises. The first one I came across took place during the football scene as someone in the crowd was filming the explosions set off by Bane. Through that, I found a YouTube channel where a guy in Pittsburgh had recorded over 50 videosof various TDKR sets along with a few scenes being filmed there. What stood out to me the most was just how close people that weren't working on the film were able to get to the cast and crew during production, or even to vehicles and props used. It seemed odd, so I looked into it, and came across a site called Before the Trailer. It was there that I saw We're the Millers, a comedy starring Jason Sudeikis and Jennifer Aniston, was filming in Wilmington, North Carolina, which is only a couple of hours away from me. The website is always looking for photos of sets and actors, and I toyed with the idea of driving to Wilmington to watch them film. I decided not to as I would feel weird standing off set like that staring at people as they're trying to work. Afterward I saw that Before the Trailer also posts casting information, including that for background actors (extras). I soon learned that Wilmington is, apparently, a popular place for filming movies and television shows, a fact my brother has known for a year now but never told me. If only I knew sooner, I could have been in Iron Man 3! Perhaps I'll be able to do Captain America 2...

After a little more research, I found Facebook pages for various casting agencies in the North Carolina area, which seems to be their main way of posting job info. I created a Facebook account - after a year of not having one - to follow the pages more closely and researched how to apply for roles properly. Four days later, on the 15th, I had gotten a role as an extra on Revolution, and then, on the 20th, I got a role on We're the Millers. I'll be writing and releasing separate posts for these and any more of my acting experiences as the movies/shows come out.

My only prior experience with acting is doing three musicals during my time in middle school and taking a drama class in high school. The first two musicals were at the Junction City Little Theater in Kansas, while the final (and worst) one was at Fort Riley Middle School. Only the first play I did, Kilroy Was Here, was any good. I'll write more about these sometime in the future. Of course, acting in a musical and doing background acting are completely different things, and I'll soon be going into more detail on just what a day as an extra can be like.

While this isn't something I'm currently interested in making a career out of (not that I could in North Carolina), I will be taking as many opportunities for background acting as I can. It's a fun diversion that pays well and gives a cool story to tell. Plus, the food is always free and delicious!

A couple of the Google+ posts I made that day.

Have any of you done any form of acting?

-----

Acting

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Posted by Rhombus_Of_Terror

*irrelevant to post* Hey, I'm Michael btw o/ :D

Posted by TheDudeOfGaming

Remember, carrots and peas!

Posted by medacris

I've taken a drama class, did a few plays (including a summer musical camp), and briefly did some voice acting for an audio class project. Ultimately, it's fun, but it's not what I want to make my career in. I don't like the spotlight, and I'd rather design backgrounds or work on creating monsters if I'm going to work in movies. I'm not against doing more VA work, though.

Best of luck to you. Tenacity and determination is what makes it in the entertainment industry- don't give up!

Posted by connerthekewlkid

as a person who lives in Wilmington COME ON DOWN

Edited by MarkWahlberg

You famous now, baby!

Edited by JCTango

@CharlesAlanRatliff: nah, although I always though that it would be fun to try. If anything this will be an interesting experience for ya Charles!

actually now that you mention it, i was in a play back when i was just a tyke... maybe like 6-7 years old.... lol.

Posted by DarthOrange

Only acting I ever did was in a play once in middle school. Other then that I have done work as stage tech for plays (moving sets and what not in the dark between scenes) and I have been part of the studio audience for a couple of shows.

Take the opportunity's as a background actor, if nothing else it makes for a great conversation piece.

Posted by JCTango

@DarthOrange: how did you get into becoming a stage hand, darth? How do you get into that industry? Never really looked into it myself, but I'm always fascinated with the behind-the-scenes stuff

Posted by DarthOrange

@JCTango: Like with anything else, it's best when you know someone. I used to be the TA for the Film Analysis/ Drama teacher. We were cool and she knew people. Her son was also the writer of Like Crazy. Best advise I can personally give you is go meet people and hope you get lucky :)

Posted by EVO

I went to a casting agency once in hope of becoming an extra. Spent like $200 getting photos done, never heard back from them, found out they went bust a few months later.

Posted by ShaggE

I came THIS close to trying out for a local Shakespeare production earlier this year, but changed my mind at the last minute. I do want to try my hand at it, though.

Posted by iam3green

cool thanks for the link.

watching filming is pretty cool. indiana jones and crystal skull was filmed a little bit in new haven ct. i worked in new haven during the summertime and saw a little bit of them filming in my break. harrison ford wrode a motorcycle down the street and into Yale library. co-worker neighbors car was in the movie. he had a old car that he restored. another person at the place i worked at was an extra.

Posted by CharlesAlanRatliff
@TheDudeOfGaming: I decided to come up with some dialogue that would make sense instead. I remember in theatre they told us to say "watermelon" over and over! Now I'm hungry. 
 
@medacris: Thanks! Do you design your own monsters? 
 
@MarkWahlberg: I've already been to rehab twice! 
 
@JCTango: You weren't one of those kids that played a tree, were you? That always sounded terrible. 
 
@DarthOrange: What shows did you get to see? 
 
@EVO: That sucks. All of the places I've applied for online say that you can just take your own picture with a cellphone. That's probably because of the area, though. 
 
@ShaggE: I don't think I could ever pull of Shakespeare. 
 
@iam3green: That's awesome! Must have been weird seeing that. Sometimes I see casting calls for them just to use your car. There was one movie where you would get paid $75 a day for letting them use your RV in the background!
Posted by TyCobb

Congrats, you're an extra!

Posted by JCTango

@CharlesAlanRatliff said:


@JCTango: You weren't one of those kids that played a tree, were you? That always sounded terrible.

Haha, nah.. I played one of the Three Wise Men I think, in a nativity scene/play thing :).

Posted by CharlesAlanRatliff
@JCTango: Good! 
 
Also, everything I know about people playing trees comes from television. I don't even know if that happens :O
Posted by HulkHanson

I'm an extra in a couple of episodes of the upcoming Game of Thrones season. I had never been involved in anything like this and it took me a minute to focus and stop being starstruck, haha. I can't speak for other productions but if you ever get the chance, go for it, it was real blast and even better if you're a fan of the material. Due to the nature of it, I wouldn't advise it as your primary career. You can go long stretches without any work and the pay as it is, isn't amazing, but as something on the side or perhaps as a stop gap to something bigger in the acting world sure, why not?

Posted by DarthOrange
@CharlesAlanRatliff: I have seen "I'm in the Band" as well as "Melissa & Joey". You know, hit Disney TV shows all the cool kids are talking about. By the time they are on the seventh take it makes it really hard to "laugh". I also don't think the studio audience adds anything to the show itself. It is cool to see rewrites on the set as they happen in between takes though. I take it Disney also doesn't like too many sexual innuendos because both were packed full of them and most of them were removed in the final version, especially the stuff with the teens. Things like the jokes about masturbation were removed all together.
You can here my voice laughing (along with other people, mostly friends and family of the cast) in all it's glory here: 
 http://abcfamily.go.com/watch/melissa-joey/SH5547502/VD55133987/dont-train-on-my-parade
Posted by CharlesAlanRatliff
@HulkHanson: That's awesome! I hope you come back and talk more about your experience once the episodes air. 
 
Here's a shot of me in Revolution. I'm the guy being shaved. My mom, who watches the show, recognized me without my saying anything. Pretty cool! I failed to grab a better screen before the episode was removed from Hulu.
  
 
Since then, I've worked on the show several more times, though I can't talk about any of that until March. All of the actors are really nice, which makes working with them more fun. I've decided not to write detailed posts of my experiences until the stuff is released on disc. I've also done stand-in work for Bryan Greenberg on an upcoming feature film.  
 
I've met a lot of awesome people and hope to work a lot more this year. I really want to work on Homeland, though we'll see how that actually goes! 
 
@DarthOrange: That sounds like a fun experience. Do you ever think about the process now when watching other shows? I tend to stare at the extras a lot more in stuff now.  
 
And I must know more about these masturbation jokes.
Posted by Ravenlight

@CharlesAlanRatliff:

Does appearing on film make you more or less famous than someone who is Internet-famous?

Posted by CharlesAlanRatliff
@Ravenlight: More people would know of someone Internet-famous than an extra, though that may not be a good thing depending on why that person is Internet-famous in the first place. 
 
More people would probably see an extra on a TV show, but they wouldn't know them.
Posted by Ravenlight

@CharlesAlanRatliff:

So you're more subliminally famous. Devious.

Posted by CharlesAlanRatliff
@Ravenlight: Exactly ... making the execution of my master plan all the more easy... 
 
 
Ignore that.
Posted by IzzyGraze

Some friends of mine film stuff. I've been an extra in most of their short films and I was the star in one of the shorts. It was a silent film so it wasn't difficult. They did a really good job on editing, so even though my acting was TERRIBLE the movie was still good.

I was also an extra for an episode or two of Picnicface. I watched the episode and didn't really notice me and I was in frame for most of the shots where you could see extras. It made me realise how much gets cut in a movie and how much editing matters.

The weirdest part about being an extra is that you don't actually say anything! Watching shows before I just figured the boom mic just picked up the actors and you just couldn't hear everyone else. But nah, you just have to pretend to have a conversation. Congrats on all the work you're getting by the way.

Posted by mordukai

@Rhombus_Of_Terror said:

*irrelevant to post* Hey, I'm Michael btw o/ :D

Can your production company please STOP with the classic horror remakes. You are ruining every childhood memory I had of them. Thank you.

Posted by CharlesAlanRatliff
@IzzyGraze said: 

The weirdest part about being an extra is that you don't actually say anything! Watching shows before I just figured the boom mic just picked up the actors and you just couldn't hear everyone else. But nah, you just have to pretend to have a conversation. Congrats on all the work you're getting by the way.

Thanks! 
 
There's been a couple of times where I've had real conversations with other people because we knew we wouldn't be heard (we whispered). It's definitely a lot more natural! Fake conversations can be awkward. I try and come up with a simple script so I'm not just saying nonsense.