Sunday, May 04, 2008

My brother, the extra: Twilight movie experience


The view from Steven's seat in the Forks High School cafeteria (actually Madison High School in Portland)

I've had a few requests for details from my brother Steven's experience as a Twilight movie extra. You guys are lucky - when I asked him about it over the phone, he basically said, "Yeah, it was neat. I'm really tired." In case it's not obvious, he's 15 years old. But for you, dear readers, he wrote a coherent synopsis of his whole experience. Here it is, in his own words, only lightly edited by me, mostly for paragraph breaks.

After I signed up and went downtown to [the casting agency's] office for a photo shoot, I would check their website once in a while to see the status of my role. After a couple weeks of waiting, I got a text message from the website, saying to check my new job position on the page. I checked my availability to work on a couple days during spring break, and soon they officially cast me. I was originally supposed to go in on a Monday and Tuesday, but they postponed a few times, so it turned out to be a Thursday and Friday that I filmed.

I left at 5:00 Thursday morning, because I had to check in at Madison High School in East Portland at 6:00. I waited in a line for 15 minutes, and when I got up to the front, I received a form asking for my information, including my SSN, permit #, and other basic items for payment. They sent me to the school auditorium with my wardrobe (yes, they had me bring 5 outfits), and I got into another long line waiting for an outfit to be approved by a wardrobe lady. After that, everyone just chilled in the auditorium for 3 or 4 hours, waiting to be called on set. Good thing I brought a book to read.

Then, about 40 out of the 90 extras were called to be in a scene. The rest of us played games for another couple hours. A channel 8 cameraman came in and interviewed a couple extras, one of which was right next to me, so I was in the frame :). Soon after, the rest of us were called to the cafeteria.

As I walked through the halls, I saw posters with "Forks High School" written on them, dates of the prom, etc. In the cafeteria, some of the crew sat us down at tables as if we were at a restaurant. They put a tray with mostly edible food in front of each of us. I got macaroni and cheese and juice, which was too old to eat. The crew selected a few of the extras to just walk around the cafeteria, with no particular destination. After a rehearsal of the scene with the extras, the cast came in and filled a couple of tables at opposite ends of the cafeteria. Each scene was filmed 4-12 times. A little later in the day, there was a food fight, and some of the extras volunteered to throw food.

At some point during the day, I went to talk to someone I knew from the auditorium who was talking to Kristen Stewart, so I had the chance to talk to her for a minute. Near the end of the day, I was chosen by one of the crew to walk past Edward. After a tiring 13 hours, I finally got to go home. Went back the next day, repeated.

In the auditorium, which was the place where people went when they weren't filming at the moment, there were snacks. At about 1:00, we all had a 40-minute lunch break. It was better food than I had expected. It was at lunch where I walked around the corner and bumped into Edward. My claim to fame.

On day two, I sat at the table next to the Cullens, and I overheard a lot of their conversations when the camera wasn't rolling. Rosalie was crabby and really bossy toward the crew, and cussed a lot. Jasper cussed a lot, but he was more laid back. When one of the crew came up and took a picture of them, he gave the camera the bird. Alice was really nice, she seemed intelligent. Emmett was really tall. He seemed nice also. Edward was very independent, and tried to concentrate a lot, but occasionally joined in their conversations. Bella was nice when I talked to her. The actors actually got to order the food that was put in front of them, and that was when Rosalie demanded a brownie and a Propel.

Our directions during filming were to never look directly at the camera, and act like you were having a good time with the people at your table when the camera was rolling.

Overall, it was really interesting to see how they filmed movies, and it was cool to see the actors. But it was also hours and hours of waiting, and I wouldn't be willing to do it again if I didn't get paid $260.
Thanks, Steven!

(See this post for a follow-up.)

17 comments:

Lindsay said...

Cool! I just finished the third book and realized that I have to wait until August or something for the final book to come out. Ugh!

Mikael said...

that is way interesting! How cool to get the "inside" scoop. he is kinda like a spy! haha.
I am glad I am in ballet, performing LIVE on a stage, I couldn't handle all that waiting around and redoing it a million times. dont they get bored and annoyed? (well, if I got paid millions I might be willing)

sarah said...

Yay! I'm so excited to look for Steven in the movie! the fact that I even kind of know someone in the movie is my claim to fame :)

Suzanne Bubnash said...

Let's hope that Steven's scenes don't end up on the cutting room floor!

sarah said...

yeah i hope he doesn't get cut either! also its funny that Rosalie demanded a brownie and Propel..since the vampires aren't supposed to actually eat their lunch

Twilight Lover said...

Cool!!!! I am so obssesed with this book series!!!! YOU ARE SO LUCKY!!!!!!

My Own Galaxy said...

WOW!!!

m~ said...

WOW! Thanks too cool that your brother got to an extra. Hope we get to see him in the movie.
I'm not impressed with the actors, but the idea of being near Edward and Bella is is cool.

Martin said...

Good Job! :)

Anonymous said...

what's the "bird" ?

Anonymous said...

flipping the bird is giving someone the middle finger. Thanks for this story. I linked this story to a Twilight message board. LOVED the spy photo :-)

Caroline said...

This is so cool!!! AHHHH. i'm so excited for the movie to come out. its not even funny. i cant WAIT. i just finished the fourth book... and i'm so excited to see how they all turn out. i would so do this if i had the chance... but.. living in a town probably even smaller than forks.. lol... that probably wont ever happen. ugh. =P

Aliens Web Master said...

it is hardwork.

regards
Aegan ajith

solynn said...

I'm so jealous.

rudypie said...

hey, that's way sweet. can you ask him what the website was that he signed up for and post it for me, if that wouldn't be too much trouble? thanks a million.

Chick Chat said...

Hi! I can't imagine how fun of an experience that must've been for you brother to be an extra. My friend and I host a podcast/radio show called Chick Chat, and we would LOVE to have your brother talk on our show. If you are at all interested email us
chickchatshow@gmail.com

Kevin Walker said...

The one thing I miss about working on movies is the food. There was always great food around and consistently good catered meals.

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