Extra Musings: It's Like 9th Grade


I believe that just about every environment we enter in life can be compared to high-school.
The year before, your in junior high, your top dog of the 8th grade.
Cool, popular, in charge.
Then comes 9th grade.
Freshman year.
You enter that huge building full of strangers and they don't know your status in J-high.
You consider getting a T-shirt made that reads "I was voted most popular last year". Just so you'll get the respect that you believe you deserve.

The movie industry is like high-school.

The 10th graders (AKA people who have done Stand-in work) look at you with condescending glances because now a few uperclassman say hello to them in the halls.
Some of them are well on their way to becoming kings and queens.
The Juniors (the people who have had speaking roles) are in full Emit Smith mode, ball held tight with both hands, bobbing and weaving, eyes wide open, looking for entry points, weaknesses in the ranks of the seniors.
They know every move matters now. They will do what it takes to have their place in history (aka the Class Favorites page of the year book).
And the seniors, (the people who've been cast in a role for a film) they rule the school. This is their year, and they know it. They are the kings and queens.

The movie industry in Swamp Hollywood is high-school.

See, what happens is people read about all the movies being filmed here. Or they may read my excitement about being an extra in them and some think "hey, I'd like to do that".
So they sign up, get called to do it and some of them are shocked to learn that it's 9th grade.

Movie extra's are the freshman of this high-school.
The peons.
Which should be obvious by the pay.

But for the Kings and Queens of J-high, this is a rude awakening.
They are used to being treated like kings and queens. Respected. Paid more.

So after they do it, some of them just don't understand why anyone would choose to be an extra.

But like I said, every environment can be compared to High school.

Think about careers where you have to Intern, without pay for a year or so.
Your a freshman.
Ninth grader.
Movie extra.
Or let's say your working the fryer at Chick Fil-A so you can one day own your own Chick Fil-A. That's your 9th grade.
In most industries you have to start somewhere and in the movie industry, a lot of actors, actresses, crew members do a little time as Extras.

I want to say too that there are a good bit of Extras who do it for fun or for the money so they aren't trying real hard to get out of 9th grade. And that's cool. I am more in that class then the other I think.
I would love to get speaking roles but If I never do, I still love being an Extra.

And honestly, I can see why some crew members have a hard time treating extras with a great deal of respect.
Have you ever went into an Extras holding tent after they all left? It's filthy.
They seem to have a brain block between them and putting their trash into a can.

Freshman.

They want to be entitled.
They want someone to treat them like Juniors and at least pick up after them, like they are at least somewhat important.

And then you have the truly desperate freshman girls who set out to sleep their way to Prom Queen.
The crew spreads the word quick about which ones are easy prey.
They want to be noticed, special, respected.

But what these extra's don't understand is that they haven't earned that respect yet.
No one knows how great you are.

And they've seen hundreds of freshman come through, not picking up their trash, complaining about the lack of craft services, not bringing enough wardrobe options, hooking up with the crew, so they look at you like all the rest.
If your not like all the rest, time will show it.

Because Swamp Hollywood is like high-school,
And being an extra is 9th grade.

Welcome to your new school!

Comments