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Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Extra

You know how I love to share both movie wisdom, and advanced movie wisdom? Well, today I would like to share some advanced, advanced movie wisdom:

Movies ain't real, peeps. They're staged.

I know this because last week I made my acting debut in a commercial.


I didn't mean to do it, I happen to know a filmmaker who needed an extra "extra" because the original "extra" bailed at the last minute. He probably figured that since I was an adjunct faculty for 12 years I had a lot of experience being an "extra."

"Alls you have to do is open a fridge door, and maybe sit at a table," he told me.

He probably figured that since I've been a mom for 17 years I've had a lot of experience opening fridge doors and sitting at tables.

When I arrived on set, I introduced myself to the director as the "extra."

"Great," he said. "You'll be playing the mom, today."

"The mom? But I was hired to be the extra," I said. "Mom's aren't extra. Moms are the star."

He smiled. "Around here the product is the star, and the mom is the extra."


Another example of the media objectifying objects and deobjectifying moms.

While the film crew set up the room and staged the dinner table, and the producer ran to pick up Chinese food for everyone, the make-up artist fixed my hair and face and I tried to mentally prepare myself for the role.


But then the director began dishing up and serving me and my extra family dinner, so I had to speak up.

"Shouldn't the mom be serving the food?" I said. "I mean to get into character."

"You're just an 'extra" mom," said the director. "Your role is to look pretty and do what we ask you to do."

"But I usually don't look pretty at the dinner table," I said. I wasn't complaining, I was just saying. "Just worried that we might be sending the wrong message that's all, " I added. "And perpetuating stereotypes, and creating unrealistic expectations . . ."

My extra husband, who was played by a professional, raised one eyebrow, so I put a lid on it. Not only did he play in Oceans Eleven and 21, he was a CHiP in real life (California Highway Patrol).

"Is Eric Estrada as sexy in person as he looks on t.v?" I asked, while we waited for the crew to set up the lighting. He raised the other eyebrow.

Then he told me that George Clooney is way nice, Brad Pitt is pretty cool, Matt Damen is okay, and Julia Roberts is short and snooty.

"She also has a body double, so Julia Roberts isn't Julia Roberts at all," he said, wrinkling his nose up.

"Maybe that's why she looks so tall and friendly in the movies," I added.

My extra son was in the 8th grade and scored a 30 on the ACT the first time he took it. He wanted to be a brain surgeon and his favorite book was Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. When the camera started rolling he smiled a lot and said he was excited to clean his room. My part wasn't to judge, but to look pretty and make dinner conversation so I pouted my lips and asked him how his basketball practice went.


"GRRRREEEEAT!" he said, as if he were Tony the Tiger.

"Why?" I asked. Then I turned to my extra husband and asked him how his day went.

He also said, "GRRRREEEEAT!" (Like fake father, like fake son, I guess.)

"Why?" I asked again.

"Cut!" called the director. "Dummy, can you not interrogate your fake family please, unless you're smiling."

"It just doesn't seem very realistic is all." I said. "Why is everyone GRRRREEEEAT? This isn't a breakfast commercial."

On the next take I asked my fake daughter if she had her homework done, and she said, "YES, I've had it done since 1995."

"And monkeys fly," I said.

"Cut!" called the director.

Next my extra husband asked our extra son what he'd been reading, and he said Harry Potter.


"I read the whole series in four days. 34 times."

"CUT!" I called. "Seriously! Who reads Harry Potter 34 times? I mean, someone is going to call social services on us."

"Dummy, you don't get to call cut, you're the extra."

"But shouldn't this kid be burping, or insulting my cooking, or telling me my waistband is too high? And shouldn't I be telling him to stop slurping or to get his elbows off the table, or that money doesn't grow on trees?"

 "Dummy can I speak to you for a minute. In private," said the director.

I was just keepin' it real, you know. For the betterment of mankind. But I learned a valuable lesson that day: The extra doesn't get to keep it real.


And the only thing real about movies is the wisdom. 


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10 comments:

DeNae / SHP said...

At least they didn't point the camera at you and your big pink cami poking out of your brown sweater that looks too small but really that's how it's made and then leave that camera on you for two straight days while you made an emoticon face.

I've heard that sux.

2busy said...

And what product was the star? I met the body double of Julie Roberts once. At least she proclaimed to be. I was on a cruise and all the guys were flocking to her. I guess she has a nice body....idk

Martha said...

So really what part of this is true? I just can't tell. It's funny and entertaining and that's what's important.

I'm starting to start to feel sad again because Laura is leaving.

The Crash Test Dummy said...

2busy, is the body double tall? That's what I want to know, because to me Julia Roberts is tall and this guy says she's like 5'2". That's shorter than me.

Martha, the true part is everything, except the words I put in my own mouth. ha ha It's just me doing my wish fulfillment. And I've been feeling sad for you too because I picked up Brian and Laura this morning and Brian said you cried in Foodland. That made me cry a little for you. Miss you! Still loving your earrings. And I had someone read my 3rd draft and they said they loved the Martha character. ;) Especially the MADE with LOVE by Martha. ha ha

DeNae, hee hee hee Easter Egg or Emoticon? Hard to decide.

Martha said...

What I'm in your draft? Ok, but name me something cool, Martha is just not a cool name.

I didn't really cry. I just sorta teared up, that's all.

So are you taking them house hunting? Swirl said something about you looking at houses for them and then you falling in love with one of them! Don't be stealing their future house. Make sure you find one for them that's big, with a pool, and a tennis/hockey court, and an extra room for guests. Remember me telling you to do all that too? Yeah, all you got was a dog, an awesome dog though.

Martha said...

Oh, and don't mention dogs to them, they had to give theirs away. It's a sore subject for Laura.

The Crash Test Dummy said...

I already mentioned the dog thing. EEeK! My bad. I might die if I had to give my dog away.

I didn't got look at houses for her. I just helped her narrow it down to areas. Maybe she was worried that I would steal her future house. ha ha We didn't fall in love with the house, we never even saw it, actually, but we did love the area and the price so we inquired. She didn't want to live that far North anyway. The dang thing had 5 offers in already and was closed for showings.

P.S. Martha is the coolest name and is staying MARTHA. Sorry.

P.S.S. When it all shakes down, Utah is more expensive than Hawaii, girlfriend. Pools and tennis courts and hockey courts . . . um . . . Alls you can afford here is a lousy dog. ;)

Martha said...

Good thing the dog is lovely not lousy. Utah ends up more expensive because you have to keep up with the Jones, where here everyone is poor, so no one cares.

What is this song saying? "You'll come back when it's over. No need to say goodbye." I thought T would come back to school over here, but no. Maybe Z will.

The Crash Test Dummy said...

I thought that would be the case too, but it's more complicated than that because we don't even think about keeping up with the Joneses.

I think T will come back, and I know Z will.

IWA (e - va) said...

Oh Em! You're Hilarious! I love this post and look at you being all famous and acting like a "mom"! haha!

maybe Julia seems tall because all the actors around her are short.. Sally Field... Richard gere..........Catherine zeta jones,... cant think of anyone else, but those are short.