Last week we spent two hours at the Production Studio. After Emily was fitted for her 1950's outfit (a robin's-egg blue, fitted bodice dress with a full skirt featuring a vintage blue&white checkered hem; bobby socks and black flats), we headed over to the "Hair" department. I stood back about ten feet to give the hairdresser room to do her magic, but was startled to hear Emily frantically whispering for me once the hairdresser stepped away. The look on her face concerned me, and I swooped in to ask what happened.
"They want to cut my hair!" Tears welled.
"She asked me how short I'm willing to go!" Emily's crimson face tugged at my heart. We had not been asked if she wanted a haircut, nor informed that one was required for the movie. Clearly Mom needed to step in.
The hairdresser attempted to convince us that a chin-length bob was just the thing, but we stood our ground. We consented to the removal of a mere inch and nothing more. When Emily balked at super-short bangs (the height of fashion in the 1950's), a slight trim sufficed. The hairdresser said they would work with barettes on set.
Day One on the Set
We arrived at an old middle school in the Ann Arbor area at 8:20 am, and followed signs to Extra's Holding--the gymnasium. Against the wall on the right stood the wardrobe station: about 20 clothing racks with two large tables between them. The rear wall housed 4 changing stations. Check-in tables were at the front of the room. Wooden lunch tables surrounded by plastic chairs in the center of the room became our home base.
Kids with their allotted one blood-relative arrived little by little. The day's procedure was simple yet time consuming: Wait in line to check in at the front of the room, fill out a non-union voucher (to get paid), then take it over to wardrobe to (wait in line again and) retrieve the appropriate outfit. Next Emily headed into the changing area, then hurried over to get in the hair line. She stood in line for over an hour (3 hairdressers=not enough!).
The make-up line came next, followed by a quick visit to props. Emily's prop was just one book, covered with brown paper. Other kids carried a clarinet case, vintage lunch boxes, sack lunches, etc. Every kid looked authentic and, well, innocent!
After shooting one hall scene "at least 50 times" (s0 declared by Emily and her new friend, Hailey), the extras (all 64 of them) were called outside to film a morning school arrival scene. I stood outside to watch with a few other rogue parents.
Two circa 1950 school buses and assorted classic cars served as the backdrop at the school's front entrance. Several boys pushed vintage bicycles toward a bike rack, girls pantomined greetings, laughter, chatting, and groups and pairs of kids strolled into the school. Over and over. The scene was rehearsed for about 45 minutes before local police officers stopped (modern) traffic in front of the school for filming.
Another scene featured kids getting off one of the buses. You guessed it...over and over.
Lunch was served at 2:45 pm (which explains the stampede) and Emily's first day as an extra ended at 6:45pm. We arrived at our temporary home with nary a functioning brain cell and promptly crashed.
And started the entire routine over again the next day.
Thanks for sharing a small part of our unique summer fun with us. What's going on in your neck of the woods?