I can't help it. My 13 year old daughter has been cast as an extra in a movie and it's so fun and interesting I just have to write about it.
How it All Started
People have asked how my daughter got cast as an extra. I guess the answer would be my sister. Connie worked as a locations manager for the film industry in Michigan for years, so she has "ears" about current productions. (Connie is now a freelance producer. She just produced this Public Service Announcement for the Michigan Film Industry - click on "video".)
Connie heard of Rob Reiner's new film, Flipped and told me about it. After talking with my daughter and husband, I signed Emily with a local agency in charge of casting. A few weeks later I received an e-mail with specific criteria for those interested in working as extras on this film. At this point, Emily's photo was thrown into the hat with (probably hundreds of) other hopeful kids. I was told that the director would go through the photos and personally select the kids he wanted.
Next, I prayed. I asked God to close that door and keep it closed if it wasn't His will for Emily to be in the movie, but to open the door if He wanted it open. Then we all forgot about it.
Last Friday we received a congratulatory e-mail loaded with information. Believe it or not, it wasn't an easy decision to commit to this film. Lots of plans would have to be cancelled; Emily was scheduled for her first ever summer camp; I planned to tackle my ever-expanding to-do list, including several writing deadlines, while she was gone. On top of all that, our 19 yr. old son was flying overseas for 3 weeks in Europe, compliments of his aunt and uncle who live in Germany. Many details for that trip remained unfinished.
After lots of prayer and talk, we decided to go for it. I flew into tailspin mode and began making arrangements and packing. Emily and I arrived here in Michigan on Tuesday.
Day One for an Extra
On Wednesday we entered a huge, nondescript warehouse, where we walked past two circa 1950's school buses in pristine condition awaiting their debut on the big screen. Laid-back and relaxed, Emily strolled into the bustling Production Studio like a pro. I, on the other hand, trembled like a bush next to a hotel dryer vent. Mom's nerves, I guess.
After I filled out some paperwork, Kristi, a wardrobe coordinator, escorted us into a huge area of the warehouse filled with rack after rack of vintage, late 1950's-early 1960's clothing. Retro shoes, belts, purses and hats overflowed out of carefully marked boxes.
Kristi measured Emily, then searched until she found an assortment of suitable dresses, slips and shoes. Next they disappeared behind a pair of makeshift curtains, and my girl emerged ten minutes later looking like she just stepped out of Happy Days. Kristi declared her "cute!", and ushered us into a small office where the head of wardrobe did not agree. "Looks too 60's," she said. "We need more of a 1950's look for her."
A pale blue dress, white bobby socks and black flats turned out to be just the thing. Kristi photographed my retro girl, assigned her a number so the outfit can be retrieved when filming begins, and pointed us toward the"Hair"department.
To be continued...Thanks for joining us on our little adventure!