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My Life as an Extra

February 16, 2013

Our favorite director Alejandro Adams has been filming two movies at the same time. We have already told you about Amity, but he was also shooting Child of God. The final scenes were shot on Saturday, and the Metblogs crew, as well as many others, were invited to be extras on set. So what was it like to be an extra on a film set? Many in the group had expected it to be boring, but instead it was a pretty pleasant and interesting experience. The request for extras was put out by Adams through Facebook, Twitter, and word of mouth. We were requested to wear church clothing and to show up at the Foxworthy Baptist Church around 3:30pm with as many friends as we could bring. Among the group who showed up were part time actors; students and one teacher from Milpitas and Evergreen Valley high schools; Joann LandersGary Wiens and yours truly from Metblogs; some Cinequest fans; and even some people who had heard the call through Metblogs. There was definitely a wide range of people there.

cog1Our first job was to sit in the church sanctuary pretending to be the congregation while two actresses, Jennie Floyd and Marya Murphy, sang some hymns and read church announcements. This was a very easy job to perform while they shot it over and over from different angles. I’m not going to lie, it was HOT outside and we were all happy to just be sitting in the air conditioned church. Some of us agreed later that after a few takes we sort of were paying about as much attention as one usually does during church announcements and hymns, so our vaguely pleasant but bored looks should come off as very realistic (heh).

Next they asked to film us entering the church. This took several tries as we all sort of single file walked quickly through the church doors and into our seats, as if we had all been outside the church chanting “Open-Open-Open” and couldn’t wait to get in. Adams and crewmember Ali Allie patiently asked us to please walk slower and in smaller groups, and eventually we got it.

Walking around outside the church was the next scene. We were put into groups and stood in different spots on the grounds; Allie would say “Action!” and each group was asked to walk to a different spot. These scenes were harder to get through as the temperature was far into the 90s that afternoon and we were sweating up a storm. At least most of us women were wearing dresses, but most of the men had long sleeved shirts, some with jackets. My group also had to walk up several stairs to a dead end balcony about three times; a friend I had brought complained that I had not told her she would be doing cardio work! But we all survived.

cog2At different points during the day we were let into the Fellowship Hall where there was a bounty of snacks and drinks set out for the crew and extras. I noticed the teens especially were thrilled with all the chips, granola bars and sweets available; the adults were mostly interested in the cold water, juice and soda. All in all it was a very relaxing few hours we spent at the church and we were well taken care of. Alejandro Adams was polite and soft-spoken as usual, and the crew was professional and did their jobs as quickly as possible.

When the main shooting was over Adams explained that we were able to leave, however he did need a couple extra people to shoot one final scene. Joann Landers and I were included. About six of us plus the two actresses went into a small church room where we sat down around a conference table. We had to pretend to be discussing the “sermon” we had “just heard” and then Jennie Floyd was to pipe up with a line that was completely shocking, insensitive and inappropriate. The extras just had to go silent as Marya Murphy then had to respond in a manner that was so heartbreaking I wanted to get up and give her a hug after each take. Luckily we only had to do that scene a couple times over; I don’t think any of us could take Marya’s increasingly heartrending performance.

cog3We were let go after that. Jennie Floyd assured me her character was not the insensitive jerk she appeared to be in that scene, and Marya has told me the movie is not depressing; I’m not sure I believe either of them, but there are certainly 20-25 people at that church who cannot wait to see this movie when it comes out! We all would like to thank Alejandro Adams for inviting us into his movie family and letting us be a part of his film. His crew are wonderful people and those he casts are always incredibly talented. We certainly wish him much success with Child of God!


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