Yesterday I had a bit of fun as an extra in a television miniseries. An adaption of Tim Winton’s novel Cloudstreet, set in 1940s Perth, is currently being filmed and I answered the call for retro looking dudes who could bust a few dance moves.
It was a long day which started with hair, makeup and costuming. To make things easier I brought my own 1949 vintage suit, which I was fortunate to find in mint condition in a vintage clothing store in Sydney last year. It was perfect for the period and amazingly fits like a glove! There were about 20 extras in the scenes we were shooting and some serious transformations took place. The gents all looked quite dapper and the ladies were all stunning. If only people made the same effort these days!
We had two scenes. The first was set in a crowded restaurant, where were had fun miming fake conversations in the background and walking through the scene. Sounds pretty easy, hey? But when the scene lasts several minutes and there are multiple takes and multiple cameras, it becomes quite a challenge to repeat your movements exactly each take and time them with the actors’ dialogue. We had an assistant director that was very helpful cuing us and hair and makeup people fussing over us throughout.
The second scene was a dance scene set in the “Embassy Ballroom” We partnered up and pulled out our best moves, all the time being careful not to hip-and-shoulder the lead actors; Emma Booth and Oliver Ackland . There was a mix of experienced dancers and non-dancers which I think will add some nice authenticity. We were asked to dance as quietly as possible (the music was turned right down to allow the recording of the actors lines) so no big stomps!
We finished off the night by recording the background noise for the previous restaurant scene. We basically talked nonsense for 4 minutes while they recorded us! I think I said something about feeding the dog lobster, so listen out for that! (might wanna turn the volume up, like WAAAY up!)
All in all, a fun day and it’s nice to get way from the computer screen. If all goes well, my elbow might make the final cut.