Behind the Scenes

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.

Exciting News
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.

Wardrobe Fitting

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!


Susie said...

Sounds so fun Julie! I can't wait to hear more. You are a great mom to let her have this once in a lifetime opportunity to follow her dreams. I have a feeling she may catch the bug and want to do even more acting.

Susie said...

Oh btw, I just picked up a copy of Flipped from the library so I could be "in the know". When my son Seth saw it he told me he had already read the book in class this year. Must be a great story!

Jennifer Shirk said...

That's so cool!
I know a few people who have been extras in movies. It'll be a neat experience for her. :)

B His Girl said...

How fun Julie! I have no doubt you will see things that will eventually be used in your writing. Keep notes. Nothing is wasted. B

Jody Hedlund said...

How exciting! And welcome to Michigan!! Must be so fun to watch your daughter get this wonderful, enriching experience! I'm looking forward to hearing more! Keep us posted!

Terri Tiffany said...

I can't wait to read the rest. That is so exciting for her to do this! What memories she will have! Has she always wanted to be an actor?

Julie Gillies said...

Susie: Let me know how you like the book.

Jody: Thanks for the welcome!

Terri: My daughter has been a DQ since the moment she was born. She's acted in all our church plays, taken drama lessons, etc.

achildoftheking said...

Adventure indeed Julie. Have fun and don't let our nerves get the best of you.

Anne Lang Bundy said...

Oooooh. *squeal*

I've gotta, confess, Julie. You've got my attention. Hmm. Another dozen years on my church drama team until my kids are grown might be all I need to launch a second career as an extra, what with a local film industry and all!

Kelly said...

Looking forward to all the scoop on this exciting trip! When are you due back and how is this going to affect your She Speaks??

And don't forget to Twitter all the brief & exciting updates.

Cheryl Barker said...

Julie, what an exciting experience to share with your daughter -- lots of lifelong memories in the making, and she will never forget how you changed our plans to give her the experience of a lifetime. God bless you both!

Bonita said...

What fun! I can't wait to hear more about your adventures.

Deb said...

What an amazing adventure! God is sure opening doors for your daughter. Can't wait to see where they may lead.

On Purpose said...

Oh Julie this sounds like so much fun. Enjoy every moment with your daughter!!

Nel said...

Hi. I just happened on your post and I am so glad that I did. Looking forward to hearing more. This is so exciting. And your daughter will always remember how you made time for her! My daughter still comments on how much that always meant to her, that no matter what I was doing, I always had time! Can't wait to see how the Lord is going to bless both of you!

Lisa Smith said...

Your adventure sounds really fun and definitely a great memory for you together!! Have a blast!

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