3/15/2005

Look at me! I'm "Beautiful" & Famous!

So, the other night I'm making out with this chipmunk in the bathroom and I say to myself "Hmmm... he looks more like a badger if you ask me, but who am I to judge? He's pretty hot for a small, furry animal."

Okay, he was really just another extra in a chipmunk costume and we were making out in front of 5 people, 2 cameras, 8 other extras, and a bunch of other people whose actual job function remains a mystery (I mean, what the fuck, exactly, do the "Grip" and "Best Boy" do? Nothing, I can report with confidence, that a "Best Girl" couldn't do better, but I digress... ) but that's the most action I've gotten in, um... a long time.

Why did I end up swapping spit and doing some heavy petting (sorry, couldn't resist.) with Mr. Chipmunk (Badger? Meer Cat? Does it matter?), you ask?

To be a rock star, yo!

Okay, um, not really. I just happened to have *nothing else to do* before moving my ass back to San Francisco, so by total fluke and on a whim, I got picked to be an extra in a Moby video.

I thought "How COOL! I LOVE Moby!!! We can discuss politics, great literature and the state of American Veganism and how ironic it is to be shooting a video consisting of nothing but animal mascots attending a 70's wife-swapping key party while we let our organic tea bags steep over breaks between scenes!" -- until we were informed that Moby will not be filming with us today. "Of course", I think, "Moby doesn't *do* his own videos".

Arriving at the location an hour later than my 4pm call time (Jesus H. Christ, people - the fucking Oscars were over days ago! Must we keep Hollywood Boulevard closed until the Grammys?!), three of us waited over an hour for the shuttle to deliver us from the parking lot of the Hollywood Bowl to the house we'd be making the video at -- an uber retro 70's love palace up in the hills. At least we had entertainment. The crack addict who was completely absorbed in his daily exercise routine kept walking in the same little head-first marching circles without pause made me ponder deep stuff. Wow, dude. Like, crack is bad... mmmmkay?

I joined the rest of the extras outside by the pool and awaited further instruction. Feigning indifference and trying to wipe the sneering distain for all things shallow and celebrity out of my head, I cleverly brought along my New Yorker magazine to make it known to all who glanced my way that I was completely above the whole LA thing. Isn't that just so clever? And utterly retarded? Why on earth I felt the need to impress a bunch of celebrity infatuated, 20-something, hipster-wanna-bees is beyond me, but I forced myself to become completely engrossed in my highbrow reading material while cooly smoking the -- "Shit!" -- Last. Cigarette. I. Had.

The only truly gifted performance that night was my own. My ability to appear calm despite my sudden terror and utter panic at the realization that I AM OUT OF CIGARETTES. AND WE ARE NOWHERE NEAR A 7-11!!! was nothing short of Oscar-worthy brilliance.

So, what did I learn about being a rock star? Oh! So many cool, useful things! Let me share with you now, so you can turn green with envy at my fabulousity. Don't hate me because I'm beautiful.

  • It is important not to wear your costume head outside or eat while not completely covered in plastic sheeting unless you want to see the stylist's forehead veins in bas relief as you eat your extra greasy fried chicken. Do *not* attempt to give the stylists a heart attack as they are usually bad-humored with anyone but the "talent" they are fawning over.
  • How to not pass out (or worse, die) while encased in a very furry, very stuffy, very HOT mascot costume while having a "dance party" for 5 takes in a row of non-stop booty shaking action
  • Actors are called "talent", The Producer is apparently required to suck up to the director *at all times* while spoon feeding the "talent and extras" their acting requirements (aka "motivation") while the camera is rolling in the manner of a kindergarten teacher to her 4 year old ADHD students
  • The "crew" (consisting of many people but can be described as mostly acne-prone, dreadlocked surfer dudes wearing headsets in desperate need of Ritalin and/or enthusiastically "ROLLING!" shouting, clipboard-clutching, hipster females just out of college or day jobs at Urban Outfitters) rank above extras (whom, it should be clear at this point, are pretty much pond scum in the biosphere of "the shoot", ranking slightly below peons.) who are fed as an afterthought once all of the aforementioned important people have picked over the food table.
  • There are people employed by the entertainment industry whose job title and sole purpose is "Talent Wrangler". Which is a misnomer, since the "Talent" is far too important to be handled by anyone other than their cooing, ass-kissing PA's (Personal Armies of people paid to repeat ad nauseum "Oh my God! You look amaaaaayzing!" and "You were soooooo amaaaaayzing in that scene, darling!" or "Fuck the director, honey, he's a schmuck who doesn't recognize true talent..."). Anyway, the apparent sole function of this overpaid babysitter is to make sure all of the extras are corraled into a holding pen (usually somewhere cold, uncomfortable with folding metal chairs arranged so they sink into the muddiest, buggiest , farthest-from-civilization-or-running-water area that can be found) within a mile radius of the shoot location.

So, would I do it again?

Fuckin-A.

1 comment:

Kev said...

Great stuff, it was cool to read about what went on behind the scenes at the Beautiful video. Thanks!

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