Jay Cronley: Small roles will get extra attention
BY JAY CRONLEY World Staff Columnist
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
8/28/12 at 4:32 AM
As you have probably heard by now, the opportunity to be an extra in a major motion picture has presented itself.
The movie, to be filmed around Bartlesville and Pawhuska, is about a dysfunctional family, which is another way of saying it's a movie about pill-poppers and other sad sacks.
But who cares about subplots and back stories when it comes to excelling on the big screen as a ready-for-prime-time extra.
We love our show business personnel.
There used to be lines in department stores when soap opera stars came to sell skin freshener and sign autographs.
True, the movie star might be dull as a tree stump. True, he or she might have had a contested marital history. Sure, there might have been a rehab stint or two. But when there is the possibility that you could be in the same feature presentation, or even the same frame, with a major Hollywood player, nothing else matters. School, the job, the family, will be there when you're finished "acting."
There are two reasons to dive into the deep end of the extra pool.
One is to be discovered. It's an extra long shot. But it could happen. Hollywood runs on looks first, brains maybe tomorrow or the next day.
The next reason to be an extra is to create a great memory: Look, behind Julia Roberts, beside the car, next to the shovel, no, not that shovel, the other one, that's me, being a citizen!
Rules of the game: Sometimes extras get paid, sometimes not, it's not a union gig, it depends on the camera shot.
Faces that can be seen in a crowd can get anywhere from $50 to $100 per day. Expressions might bring more.
Work done by movie extras can be exhausting. Real actors soak up the best hours, the daytime. Extras are often herded in for crowd shots in the sleepy hours.
Extras often wait hours on end to be called to stand. Then takes of scenes are repeated dozens of times.
I have had great chances to be an extra in two movies, once on a farm, one in an airport men's room.
Both pieces of drama were cut.
In one, a toilet broke.
In my best chance to become a major extra, as a walker, I was criticized for appearing too serious, almost angry.
That was because I was appearing in a scene of a movie that was based on a book I had written. But the movie scene wasn't from my novel, some joker had made it up for no reason, thus the disappointment on my face, and quick exit from the film.
Original Print Headline: Small roles will get extra attention