Just another day as a Background Actor

Today started super early, I woke up at 4am, it was still pretty cold and I didn’t want to get out of bed. I did.  I prayed, took a hot shower, made my hair, did my makeup and left the apartment at 5am for the 6.18am call time all the way down in Manhattan Beach.

It took only 40 minutes, so I had enough time go through the gate, park my car, talk to my parents on Viber and went to be checked in. They already had wardrobe for me because I was booked as a server. A beautiful white pencil skirt and a colorful preppy shirt. Looks really nice I must say.

Makeup and hair people approved me, and I went to get some breakfast. I got egg whites with veggies, no cheese, orange juice, some berries. Was pretty healthy and I was proud of myself.

We went to holding, stayed there for a while. I’m so glad I brought my blankie with me because it was pretty cold on the stage.

They took us to set. Everything went as usual. Doing crosses, pantomiming, etc.

After 6 hours we had lunch, it was pretty yummy, and I went for the veggie option again, and was proud of myself again. No dairy, no bread, good choice 🙂

The second half of the day started pretty well. They wanted me to do some crosses in front of the camera, then they gave me a tomato juice on a flat tray to carry it on. The prop guy said, “Be careful, this tray is slippery.” A vision came instantly of me dropping it and spilling it all over that fake grass of theirs. “Sure, thanks,” said I. I need to shake it off my mind.

Take one, everything goes well. Take two, thank God, I did it well again. I kept on holding the glass with my other hand just in case. I know it looks like I’m a rookie server but I don’t care.

Great! I did it well, nothing was spilt, I’m such a pro! “Turn around, thank you background, you can go back to holding.” The prop guy said he’d put the tray and the drink behind the bar for me to get it next time. “Thank you,” I responded. Just happy to be rid of it. I went to do some writing while we were waiting. “Ok guys, back on set!”

Geez, that was a quick break. We came back to set, I picked up my props from behind the bar. The prop guy said, “You are very professional. When you start doing real acting full time you will be great and easy to work with, people will love that!” Wow, I thought to myself. That’s such a nice thing to hear. “Thank you so much,” I said and smiled from the inside out. I am so awesome.

This time they moved the cameras so the girl that I was taking this juice to wasn’t there anymore. I had to just make the cross, leave the juice and make another cross in front of the camera. Easy but at the same time I had to quickly find a spot to leave my glass at. I found one on a porch railing. Great job, Olia! You rock. Take one, take two, take five, I was awesome, until they rehearsed another take with some changes for the leads.

In the middle of the take they yelled, “Great, back to one!” Oh how I wished they didn’t do that! I jumped, the glass leaned in and I spilt it all over my shirt down to my bleach white skirt. Oh no!

I quickly went it and started looking for a PA. They tried to not smile but I looked pretty funny, embarrassed, with my face as red as the juice on my neck, shirt and skirt. They quickly let a wardrobe lady know, she took me with her, started wiping the juice with napkins, said she will bring me another shirt but remembered she only had this one in one size. They needed me back on set since I made my crosses in the beginning. Please, no! The lady wiped everything and said, “Go back, I’ll fix it later.” We did another 2 takes. Me, smelling like tomatoes, walking back and forth in front of the camera, feeling ridiculous laughed at myself at the same time. Of course, Olia, good job with visualizing! Use is for something good next time.

We were done with this angle, everyone went back to holding, I went on looking for that wardrobe lady. “Excuse me,” said I when I saw a PA. “Just a moment,” he replied and went to where all of BGs were. I don’t know how much time I had so I went around looking for her. “Server with a spill!” I heard that PA was looking for me, finally. “I’m here, coming”, said I. He sent me to the wardrobe lady, she gave me a T-shirt to change into, and said, I must do it quickly because every second counts. She quickly washed the spill on the shirt and started blowdrying it.

“Should I stay here, or go back on set?” I asked.

“Go back,” she responded.

5 minuted after I returned I heard a PA yelling, “Everyone back on set!” Oh well, I’m wearing a black T-shirt and the wardrobe lady hasn’t found me yet”. When I got to the set she quickly took me aside, I changed back to the shirt she cleaned, she powdered the tomato spots on my skirt and I returned to make my crosses smelling like tomato sauce and baby powder.

Another PA said, “Please no spills this time,” and smiled kindly, a day-player said, “Don’t worry about it,” another BG said, “I once dropped a shrimp cocktail on camera.” Everyone was so sweet to me. What an awesome day.

The day went on, more crosses, more pantomime.

It was finally over. I returned the tomato-powder scented items to wardrobe, the PA checked me out, said he’d like to work with me again, and I drove back home right in the time of traffic…

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