Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Murdoch Mysteries: An Extra's Tale (Part 3)

Where'd I leave off... dinner?  The torn dress?  I do believe we'd returned to Graydon Hall when we left off.

Alrighty, so whilst in hair and makeup, I was paired up with a dance partner for the evening's festivities.  However, this partnership was not to be.  Barely a minute later, we were called down to set whilst my partner was still stuck getting his mustache glued on :P  I was paired with a young girl (a family friend of the lead) and her dance partner, and we were designated 'wallflowers'.  Fine by me; I probably would have died dancing in those shoes anyway.
My situation with the young girl ended up securing me rather more camera time than I'd intended.  She had a 'special role' to make sure she made it on camera, so her and her dance partner were supposed to be followed by the camera as they walked across the room.  This meant I was in two separate shots (unfortunately)... and secured my presence in a few more.
Ironically, I have absolutely no interest in being seen on film.  I hate having my picture/video taken, unless I'm on a horse.  So why you might ask did I apply to be on a tv show?  Purely for the costumes, and the experience.  If I didn't even make it into the episode, I think I'd be just as pleased.
Anyhow, as my friend and her dance partner abandoned me to walk across the room, another gentleman (a 63 year old gentleman... we decided he was my grandfather : P ) was instructed to walk up and keep me company.  He was one of the 'regulars' on the show... one of the constables.  Back on topic.  We pretended to chat for a while (naturally, you can't actually talk during filming, you just have to mouth gibberish) and ended the scene in that matter.
During this scene, two more 'unfortunate events' occurred.  Firstly, a light I was standing next to exploded.  My ears hurt a little, but all in all it wasn't anything too disastrous.  The bigger disaster occurred when I knocked over a large pewter flower arrangement located on a pedestal near me.  I was so embarrassed!  Trust me to bring disaster in my wake.
The next one we shot was from the other side of the room (the left hand side).  My previous location was occupied by a camera, so I was placed on the other side and left to socialize/walk around.  This was the first angle of the fireworks shot.  Here, I simply walked to the back of the room, and returned to the front when we pretended to see fireworks.  Not particularly exciting.  I did have another 'unfortunate event' though, as the seam sealing the top part of my dress to the train and the skirt magically lost all of its stitching... time to head back to costumes!
After this, some more time was spent in holding, filling out forms and waiting for them to film a scene I wasn't needed in.  Then, my 'group' was called down, and we headed back.  My constable and I assumed our prior locations (where the young girl, her partner, and myself started off the evening) and spent a solid 10 minutes pretending to have a delightful conversation, while the cameras rolled some important dialogue between the leads.
Gah, WHY did I have to be in the back of THAT shot?  Do you have any idea how difficult it is to PRETEND to talk for 10 straight minutes?  You have no idea when the other person is about to stop/start, what the appropriate gestures would be, whether they're pretending to be pleased/upset/angry.  It's very frustrating.  Especially when they have to shoot the scene over and over again.  We ended up sniffing a lot of flowers, and looking around the room several times ;)
During this time (it was around 2:30am) one of the waiters complained (jokingly of course, as you aren't supposed to actually eat the props) that nobody was taking any of his truffles.  The next time he came around, my constable graciously accepted one, popped it into his mouth, and complemented the flavour... all the while with me giggling madly attempting to contain laughter.  Even better was when he did it again.  So their may be some insane giggling on camera too... Keep in mind that everything's funnier at 2am.
I had another disaster during this time, when my shoes sort of died on me.  All was fixed without another trip to costumes though.
Do not fear, the end is near.  We are now entering the final scene.
At this point in time, everyone was called back down to film the final scene.  Unfortunately, this is when my role as a constable's partner/granddaughter (no pedefiles in the Toronto Constabulary) became rather challenging.  In the final scene, everyone surrounds the doors leading out to the balcony to 'ring in the new year' by 'watching the fireworks.'  the two leads are in the center, just back from the doors, with the main supporting characters off to their left and right.  MY role was to walk past the two leads, and stand infront of the right hand door to watch the fireworks.  RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA!  Gahh.
To make matters even better, I managed to snag my train on the door, and nearly do a face plant when I attempted to move forward and was jerked back, in turn blocking the shot.  Cue the mortification.
Overall, it was a lot of fun.  My series of unfortunate events aside, everything went quite well.  All of the people were polite, kind, and welcoming.  Though I wouldn't do it again, It was a wonderful experience.  It did affirm that I have absolutely NO desire to become an actress though ;)


  1. (Could've SWORN I'd commented on this)

    I realize this is an old post but I just had to say how AWESOME that would be! Dressing up in period clothing, acting, the whole nine yards. What memories!

  2. Wow that's soo cool, even if you did have some mishaps. How exactly did you get to be an extra on MM? :o

  3. Hi! Nice story! How did you get to be an extra on murdoch? i'd love to try it out!