chris holland: 'featured extra'


so yeah, I was in a movie last night. no, for real. it was a real movie with an actual set and wardrobe and makeup and all that shit. it hasn’t been picked up yet, but it has a budget of like 2 million dollars or some shit, so yeah. I played the pilot. no, you wouldn’t know any of the actors. there is one chick named elize du toit, who is sorta famous in England or something. I looked her up on the internet and she has been on a bunch of magazine covers and stuff and she was in some tv show over there that was supposedly pretty popular. she’s also sposed to be in a UPN show over here that supposedly just got picked up or something. anyways, she’s been on the cover of maxim a bunch of times. yeah, maxim. totally…look her up on the internet. she even has her own imdb entry. thing is, on the internet, her hair is usually blonde, but when I met her it was cut short and dark brown. but still even without the blond hair and not knowing who she was, I thought she was pretty hot. I think the accent did it for me more than anything.

anyways, jessica’s friend crystal is the producer of the movie and a couple of months ago jess asked a bunch of us at the joker who wanted to be an extra in the movie. immediately I piped up saying I wanted in…nobody else really said anything. so afterwards I told Jessica that I was serious and that it didn’t matter when or where they were shooting – just let me know and I’m there. biggest reason was, I figured I already had my name in a video game’s credits, this could be my next accomplishment. in case you didn’t know, my main ambition in life is to be able to introduce myself based on things no one else has been able to do. kinda like ‘nice to meet you…I’m chris holland…have you ever played NFL Fever 2003 by chance?’

so anyways, I am at the joker and bill calls me up telling me that tonight is the night and that I need to head down to sea-tac later tonight. he says that its probably going to be a lot of sitting around and that I might not get out till 2 in morning. I said ‘no problem, count me in’. about 3 minutes later bill called back asking for my coat size, blah blah blah, and he tells me that they need someone to be the pilot. he said he tried on the outfit and he looked like he was wearing clothes that fit him back in high school. and he is like ‘can you fit into a size 40 coat’ and I am like, I THINK so, and he is like I need to know and I am like, fine, I can fit into it. well anyways, he went from me showing up sometime later to ‘get your ass down here, you’re the pilot, if you aren’t down here by 7:30 we can’t use you’. and I am like fine, no problem. bill, evidentially, was a bit more concerned because it was rush hour and that only gave me 45 minutes to get down there. long story short, I got down there in plenty of time. I parked at this hotel where they had a wardrobe trailer parked in the front parking lot with cones blocking it off and shit. I met crystal and a girl named megan and another girl named something weird that started with an ‘m’ and they all had headsets and walkie talkies on their belts and periodically would talk into them secret service style. jess was there dressed up like a flight attendant. evidentially, we would be sharing a scene…something about us walking together or her putting her arm around me or something. it was kinda happening fast so I couldn’t really think too much about it. while getting my pants hemmed by megan, she told me what the movie was about (something about an iraq guy coming home and his dad trying to sell his house and there was a crazy guy who killed people or something). I quickly got into costume and luckily everything fit fine.

from there, me and bill were taken over to sea-tac along with the rest of the extras (jess, who has a speaking role (1 line) got to ride separate along with getting her own hotel room). the girl with the funny ‘m’ name was our handler and she was in charge of getting us back to the filming area in one of the terminals. but first we had to wait for a sea-tac representative to escort us through security. there was a bit of a wait and I was all full of nervous energy, cracking jokes like asking bill how much he would pay me to yell ‘CUT’ in the middle of a scene and asking crystal if it was possible for them to write in a love scene with my character. mostly I was just trying to make bill laugh. finally, they took all of our driver’s licenses and gave us these fake boarding-pass looking things that had our names on them and said something about FILM PRODUCTION which got us through. we got to go through a separate line to get through security and I just kept thinking about how pissed I would be if I was one of the people who were in line waiting to take a real flight watching as these jackasses got to cut.

so here’s the thing and it’s a true story…we are getting ready to go through our own security line and its evidentially the same one the pilots use to go through and as we are getting ready to head back there, two REAL pilots walk up and of course all of us extras let them go through first. but on the way through they both look at me (I’m dressed in full pilot’s gear including overcoat) and kind of give that nod-thing that says ‘what’s up’. now I am not 100% sure they thought I was an actual pilot, but evidentially there was enough of a doubt because all the extras I was with totally caught it as well and were cracking up. later as we were getting off of the train headed to the set, this other guy comes up to me and asks if I know where the C gate was. I told him I had no idea and again everyone around me was cracking up.

so we get to the set and this girl comes over and puts some make-up on my face and I see jess again and tell her I have no idea what I am doing and that she is going to have to tell me what to do at all times. the film crew is camped outside one of the jetways and are getting everything ready for the shot. its starting to hit me that I have no idea what I am doing. me and jess head all the way down the jetway and around a corner where the lead actor and actress are hanging out. evidentially, the way the scene is supposed to go is a bunch of extras are filmed walking off the jetway, the lead actor is the last to get off. a couple walks up to him and ask how to get to the ferries. they walk away and me and jess are sposed to be walking out of the jetway at this point. jess turns around and asks the lead actress behind us (Elize, who is also a flight attendant) if she wants to go out with us tonight. Elize says no and me and jess continue walking on. simple enough.

so jess, me, elize, the lead actor, and one of the crew are around the corner in the jetway. we all introduce ourselves and kinda start bullshitting. the lead actor is complaining about his wardrobe and saying thing like ‘I’m pretty sure I’m gay’. this totally confuses me, but then I realize he is talking about his character being gay. at least, that’s what I think he means. he goes on and talks about his mom and his flight, but its all in regards to his character, not him. whatever. I kinda smell wanker on this guy and make it a point not to give him a reason to talk more about himself. I start asking jess what we are doing after the shoot. seeings how tiff is out of town and even though its getting late, I am too pumped up to really go to bed. I tell her we should get a drink, or better yet, go to rick’s. rick’s, for those who don’t know, is the nastiest of nasty strip clubs. I have never actually been there, but I have heard some stories. so I start asking jess if she wants to go to rick’s and of course she emphatically says no, which gets elize’s interest. we explain what rick’s is and she doesn’t seem turned off by the idea. I half-heartedly make jokes about going there for breakfast, getting a t-shirt, etc and its time for us to go on.

the first take, I am totally lost. I have no idea what I am supposed to be doing. I kind of ramble up the jetway like a deer in the headlights. jess whispers things to me like ‘slow down’, ‘walk faster’, ‘ok, stop’. the first take is a mess. we redo it a few more times and each time one piece of the scene gets better as another one gets messed up. each time up the jetway, I am trying to come up with different things to talk to jess about. we talk about what we are going to do after the shoot, do we want to go to rick’s, and I even spring on her that tiff is pregnant for fun just to see her reaction. anyways, I say we did about 10 takes, maybe. not a one of them did I feel like we nailed. hopefully, they can edit them altogether to make it work. afterwards, we broke for ‘lunch’ and headed back near baggage claim in the international terminal. lunch consisted of some flank steak, potato salad, bread, and a cookie. not the greatest food in the world, but since I hadn’t had dinner at that point, I couldn’t complain. I got a chance to meet the director in the food line and thanked him for letting me in his picture. he said no problem and that was that. after lunch, we each got 50 bucks cash for our time.

so that’s about it. I had a good time. it was fun. to end, I leave you with some things to keep in mind if you are ever an extra in a movie:

• the extras are completely insane in most cases. crystal said that for these movies they will put in ad in the paper looking for extras and you get all kinds of nuts who show up. they included a really annoying kid who was about 12 and acted like he was 7 who has supposedly been in a bunch of pictures and whose brother told him if he kept this up he would be a millionaire. there was also this crazy gypsy lady who walked around with sunglasses and a cane like she was blind, but evidentially not blind enough to be juggling between takes and whose last name was…wait for it…mouskewitz (yes, like the mouse)!

• the crew eats before the cast in every movie. its one of those unwritten rules that everyone knows if you work in the movie business. so if you break for lunch, don’t be an amateur and run right up to the chow line. take a seat and wait for the crew and act like you’ve been there before.

• bring your camera. everyone from the actors to the extras to the crew had cameras and were taking pictures of each other. it didn’t seem to matter if anyone knew each other or not…we were part of this movie and it could be big and we needed something to remind us that we were here.