An experience #3

However I figured out from where I was supposed to start walking alright by watching the others. We did two rehearsals followed by five takes. During one take I happened to meet eyes with the director Patrick who was looking somehow rather annoyed. It surprised me at the time but I didn’t think much about it. After our five takes had been shot another small scene was being filmed and I stood near two monitors on which the camera’s perspective could be viewed. Then the famous words »It’s a wrap!« were called out. The director told us good-bye and shook everyone’s hand once more. Somehow he looked a little disappointed but maybe he was just tired.
I followed one of the other extras towards the minibus which was waiting for us behind a black car. When the first extra had almost reached it, one of its doors opened and Benedict Cumberbatch stepped out smiling. He said something like »well, good-bye then ladies« and shook the fellow extra’s hand. Coming up behind her I reached out mine and he shook it as well, saying »thank you very much«. When he noticed the third extra who was walking behind me he hesitated for a moment, then shook her hand saying »oh, well, let’s go through with this then«. And he shook every extra’s hand, thanking each of us personally. This was very nice of him especially as he had waited for us even though he could have already gone home. Yet again he struck me as feeling uncomfortable, overstrained and due to the time of course, tired.
I noticed the other producer Adam, who’s a friend of Mr. Cumberbatch, appear by his side and tug his arm. Both then got into another car and I went and sat on the minibus. Looking out of the window I could see some of the crew were standing around the other car talking to the two inside until they finally drove off. Our minibus went back to the car park where we gathered our stuff and waited for the taxis which had been called.

I’d meanwhile heard that there was going to be a re-shoot on Saturday and now asked our contact person whether it might be possible to watch then as I still would have liked to see a little more of the work on a filmset. He told me to ask the production assistant. So when she came to stand by my side some time later, I addressed her with my question. She promised to ask the production manager if I could join. Shortly afterwards my taxi arrived and before I left I said good-bye to Ben Dillon who was standing nearby talking to one the extras.
Our contact person gave me a hug as well as the cute young man I’d chatted with about theatre plays and I got into the taxi which I ended up paying £45 for.

Two days later I met with someone who’d been an extra, too, for coffee & cake and we shared our thoughts. She told me that she wouldn’t be surprised if they cut our scene from the film as we had been supposed to be quiet and hardly anyone had been. I was dumbfounded to hear this. Apparently the person telling us where to stand had said twice we were supposed to mime laughter and talk. I never heard him say so and as most of the others hadn’t been quiet either I guess they also missed this instruction. In the situation itself I had thought that they actually wanted to capture the sound. I still don’t understand why if we were supposed to be quiet nobody of the rest of the crew told us so. Each time we’d done our walk and come to a halt they’d have had the opportunity to tell us. This revelation added a feeling of failure to the disappointment of hardly seeing any of the work done on set.
A while later I received a text message from the production assistant informing me, very nicely, that the set on Saturday would be closed & crew only so unfortunately I couldn’t watch.

Strictly personal view
I think it would have been easier if the extras had been divided into smaller groups to be on set on different days. I still wonder why we were asked to bring along different clothing when no one ever checked what we were wearing and our make-up. All the time we sat in the trailer would have been good for that.
The minibus could have taken us to for example Waterloo where we might have caught night busses or taxis.
Also I still don’t quite see why Benedict Cumberbatch and Nick Moran couldn’t have both been the funding’s figure heads. Like this everyone assumed one had purchased the perk only to see Mr. Cumberbatch. Also if you knew your best friend tends to react shy and uncomfortable and is not one to bask in people’s attention would you put him through exactly that?

So to be honest even now, a week after all this took place, a mixture of disappointment, frustration and unhappiness prevails remembering this experience.
I had never been an extra before and even though I was aware that waiting was a huge part of it due to Adam’s tweet I had expected that this waiting would be happening on set and I’d be able to watch the work & progress of the filming. I see now that of course he never mentioned a time span. Of the five hours of being an extra I spent approximately thirty minutes on set.
I’m afraid to say this wasn’t really what I thought I’d paid for and consequently am sorry for purchasing the perk.

Mind you, despite it all I’m still convinced the film will turn out awesome!

It seems to be unclear to some readers why I purchased this perk… let me put it like this:
a) London (30%) – b) watch work on filmset (35%) – c) cool plot & thriller (15%) – d) see Cumberbatch & Moran act (20%)

As I’ve been blamed for writing nonsense (mind you, by people who weren’t on the spot themselves) I’d like to point out that this report coincides with the views of two other extras and one crew member. From two further extras I know they enjoyed their stay on set very much. The views of the remaining eleven are unknown to me.

4 Gedanken zu “An experience #3

  1. Echt schade, dass es so gelaufen ist, aber es war bestimmt trotzdem eine interessante Erfahrung,
    Und dein Bericht ist wirklich toll, ich find es gut, dass du so ehrlich darüber bist.

  2. Dankeschön für den sehr interessanten Bericht. Und ich kann nachvollziehen, weshalb Du enttäuscht bist, wäre ich an Deiner Stelle bestimmt auch. Ich hoffe, dass Eure Szene trotzdem mit drin ist, wäre schade wenn nicht :/
    (Und ich bin jetzt auch sehr gespannt, wer als Komponist dabei ist :D)

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