Have you ever thought about what it’s like to be on a movie set? Is it really all glam and glitz as it’s presented to be? The glam and glitz not so much but it’s everything and more.
I honestly don’t remember why I decided to apply as a background for a movie at first. I just assumed that how can it not be fun?!?! My first one that I ever did was with my mom walking down Albert street on an over night shoot freezing our ying yangs off. We had to repeat each action over and over again until they got the perfect shot. As the sun was rising we could no longer feel our hands or our feet…. we looked like we hadn’t slept for days (that may be because we were playing ghosts) or because we spent the past 12 hours walking down the street in costume as the temperatures plummeted well below zero. The next day was a write off completely exhausted and aching from shivering in the cold……….. but guess what something about it made me want to come back for more……..
It’s been well over a year and a half that I have had the pleasure of being on set, helping these beautiful creations that these writers have come up with and being a part of turning them into a reality. Even though a majority of the time we are that cute fuzzy blur in the background, we still feel invested in its creation and have made so many memories being a part of it.
First of all my absolute favourite thing about being on set is the A-M-A-Z-I-N-G people that you meet and the friendships that you make. I cannot believe the people that come out to these gigs. They are incredible, full of personality, full of stories, and full of hopes and dreams. You do not hear much negativity and everyone is sincerely happy to be there. You spend at least 8 hours with these people… mainly sitting around either in tent in a circle or in a building at tables. You get to know each other extremely fast and the fact that we are all communicating in the flesh (not by texting) is so fulfilling. We share stories, mostly laughter and sometimes tears. We usually walk away from the long day usually exhausted but also with the biggest smile on our faces knowing that we were blessed to be a part of something so magical.
Yes magical…… that’s the only way I can describe it…. Its an addiction to be a part of something that is nothing but creative, fulfilling and fun. Don’t get me wrong there are times that you are standing outside in the freezing cold for 8 hours and unable to feel your toes….. but it’s the people around you that warm your heart and make you forget how horrible the sting of the wind was that day.
Okay so now the food…….. yes it’s true the food on movie sets can rock your socks off!!!! Especially when they pass around a tray full of candy or have a taco bar with all of the fixings for dinner!!!!! Which other job feeds you all day long to keep your tummy happy and your energy going till the wee hours of the morning?! Didn’t think so…
You get to play dress up!!!!!!! I bet all of those that have done background can agree that some of their cheque goes to more clothing items for possible future movies or t.v shows. You kind of catch on to the colours that they always pick and it can become pretty fun dressing up in clothing that you may never wear on a daily basis. One day you can be in a full out suit as a lawyer and the next time as a cowgirl. Pretending to be something you are not is super fun and brings me back to my childhood.
Working on set feels like play time. It’s funny when they want you to be a part of a certain scene they ask you to “come and play”. Once again bringing me back to childhood or at least grade 7 drama class when you had to pretend to be someone you are not or just pretend in general. You may feel silly at first but after awhile you start to get the hang of it and joke around about being the next person to receive an oscar for the best blur!
It can open the door to other opportunities. Once being a background your doors can open to a whole other host of opportunities! Commercials, stand in jobs, photo doubles, body doubles, special skills, stunts or even working behind the scenes. You may also find other opportunities just by networking with your new background friends…. the sky is the limit as you meet many new faces each time.
The last best part is watching these creations come to life. Whether it be a movie, tv show, web series it is so neat to watch how everything came together. You can be working on one small scene for the whole day and amazed that is only lasted for all of 30 seconds in the entire movie. It is truly amazing the detail and work that goes behind making this entertainment for others to enjoy. The crews work insane hours in the blistering heat, to below 30 temperatures and need to keep the show going (literally) even if they can’t feel their hands or toes. It’s fun to watch if you can actually see yourself or if you were the best damn blur that you could be.
I hope that this gives you a little insight of how incredible of an adventure it can be to give background performing a shot. There is so many opportunities (more than you think) to try it out for yourself. I sincerely advise you to try it out with an open mind but also try to make the most out of it by engaging with those around you. I’m so happy I never gave up after that first day that I froze my butt off because I wouldn’t have made the friendships that I have and created the memories that we did.
Thank you to those that have made my background experiences so uplifting and amazing. You have truly made a difference in my life and I thank you for that.