(Picking up on my extras stories…)
The second extras assignment I got was for the show “Cold Case.” Fittingly, the thing I remember most about this experience was that it was freezing. It was also wet and muddy- sometimes dangerously so (lights and their power generators and cables don’t mix well with “wet”). How a Los Angeles set manages to seem freezing and wet to a native Colorado ski bunny is beyond me. I played a 1970’s-ish circus goer who witnesses an “accident” on the aerial silks (the show aired months ago, so if this is a spoiler, I’m sorry, but you need to catch up). I was married with kids. The pressures of the set split our happy family up, though. My husband and I separated. I lost custody halfway through. So did he. Sigh. I miss little… kid.
Not only was it freezing, but the costumes were ridiculously uncomfortable. I still don’t quite understand how women could wear polyester, pantyhose and high heels. Simultaneously.
Part of the props also included balloons. Anyone who has known me long enough or who regularly reads this blog understands that this is a pretty serious problem.
I am globophobic (afraid of balloons and yes, it is a real thing and yes, you can shut up). They make me tense up and act like an imbecile. I will leave a grocery store if I can hear them being blown up. When I see a balloon animal artist (or as I view them: terrorist) on my side of the street, I will make an effort to cross to the other side or feign sudden interest in whatever the storefront closest to me has to offer. The situation to the left, for example, in which my “daughter” is mercilessly beating me with a balloon flower, was torture. It’s a strange phobia and does not solicit the same sympathy as, say, a fear of heights or a fear of spiders. I usually just keep my mouth shut about it and hope I don’t reveal too much to the person walking with me. (note: I recently tried to overcome this fear by participating in/orchestrating a photo shoot. The results of this test are on my facebook page.)
Of course, “my kids” wanted balloons and balloon animals more than they wanted sugar (which on that set, was saying something). They also insisted on attacking both me and my camera with them. I wore a brave face throughout it all. Three balloons were detonated in front of me. People kept thrusting them into my hands. Honestly, I should get a freaking Oscar for the photo at the bottom of this post. Or an Emmy, this being television. Do they give out Emmy’s for stills?
Anyway, it was two days of either standing in the mud or sitting on metallic bleachers and being told to “shush” every three seconds. The popcorn was fake- actually, it was real, but ancient. I am SO glad none of the children eating it plus copious amounts of cotton candy were mine. Seriously. Whose idea was that? “We have a bunch of kids that we need to keep still between shoots on a circus-like set filled with clowns, balloons, and live snakes (I don’t think the snakes made the final cut). How do we keep them manageable? I know! Let’s give them stale salty popcorn and colored clouds of sugar!”
Turned out they had to cut many of my scenes because the guy in front of me was wearing earrings and they didn’t catch it until AFTER the last shot. The result? You can see approximately half of my head for less than a second. I vowed to never again do it, but then, I hit the jackpot of extras gigs…