At 6:30 this morning I was dressed as a cowboy in a van with others dressed like Dwight Yokem heading to a Memphis Beat shoot. The TV show needed background extras for a scene involving a Country and Western memorial. I went on the shoot with my buddy "The Bobby DeNiro of background extras." This guy first appeared on TV when he was a kid on a local Krusty the Clown type of show. He's had the bug ever since, having worked in dozens of films and shows. Also behind the scenes, he was once dubbed "The Ray Harryhausen of New Orleans." Probably the most serious extra I have met so far.
You walk onto a set with him and gain creds with production people. I guess this makes me the Joe Pesci of extras. The angry guy from Jersey who knows it all. Bobby used his background skills of Mardi Gras costumer to dress to impress the wardrobe department. He loaned me my hat with the one he uses for yard work. I got a "cameo" out of it.
Man, Bobby was pissed about lunch.
There is a superstition among extras that if you talk to a star, bad things will befall you. It's like opening up a mummy's tomb, you don't want to be around if it happens. Sometimes it just happens to you. Jason Lee is cool. On some sets the background extras are forbidden to even look at the stars. I've heard first hand accounts of how extras are warned on a Tom Cruise set. "If you look at Tom you will be dismissed for the day and not called back." Don't tell me that. I'll pelt him with Mardi Gras beads and yell "SHOW ME YOUR TITS!"
Perhaps I shouldn't write that.
In the scene from an auditorium I somehow landed two rows behind Jason. I probably was in the shot. Some extras want "face time." To be seen in a shot. Not us, face time means they won't use you again for the rest of the series. You want to be as far from the camera as possible. If you are always a blur, you'll always be working. Jason comes in, smiles and jokes a lot. Seems pleasant and is quick with suggestions that carry weight.
So anyways, he takes position in front of me and looks around. "I like the hats, nice hats." He looks right at me "Nice hat, is it yours?" I reply: "No, an Amish rental." I got that blank look that my humor sometimes gets.
BTW That hat has appeared in the following:
Memphis Beat (twice)
Hurricane Season 2008
Final Destination 4 3-D - 2008
The Brooke Ellison Story -2004
It's the only hat with it's own IMDB page. Keep an eye open for me in episode 4 and 5.