Saturday, November 13, 2010

Extra.... Love Bites

My good friend Chelle aka @HardlyanAngel works as an extra on film and TV sets sometimes! She moved to LA earlier this year in the hope of getting more work in the media industry.

When she told us she recently got into the "Love Bites" set (which stars "Heroes" alumni Greg Grunberg or Grunny), I invited her to share with us what it is like to be involved in a TV production.

Here is her blog post:


A day in a life of a movie extra. Some may think it's glamorous, others may think it's silly, but for me it's all about meeting new people and getting a glimpse of what goes on in the entertainment business.

I started getting work as an extra last year when I figured I could be brave enough to handle the cameras. I've never been the type to be a "camera ham" and so it was a bit intimidating at first.

My first role was in a soon to be released film starring Tom Hardy and Nick Nolte called "Warrior". My part in the film was small although I'd been told that my part was featured in the film and that I could be seen clearly. With that small amount of screen time it took several hours to film in the 30 degree weather in the dead of night. Imagine wearing clubbers clothes at night time pretending that it was warm summery weather. Tell that to me chattering teeth and freezing tushy. LOL

The next shoot I dragged my little sister along cuz she wanted to experience being on set as well and so we were both audience members to the final cage fight match between Tom Hardy's character and Joel Edgerton's character.

Although both parts I did for the movie involved long days and backlash from crazy fans, overall, I wouldn't change anything for the world. It was an experience I treasure and use it as a focal point for when I book new jobs.

Recently I did a few other extras work including "Criminal Minds" and "Love Bites". With "Criminal Minds", it was a treat to be able to work with the principle cast and watch them interact with each other and the crew. They were like your ordinary, easy going type of co-workers who do their job and just have fun with it all. In between takes, there was much laughter and jokes, gossip, playing on their mobiles and then when "action" was called, it was all business.

Grunny in the "Love Bites" promo
With "Love Bites", I hadn't realized that former "Heroes" star, Greg Grunberg starred in this till I arrived to set and saw him in the flesh. Funny guy and very cool to watch perform. I'm very glad and happy that he was able to find another show that looked to be really good.

On this particular day that I worked, I had arrived at 9am sharp as it is very bad form to arrive late to work especially in the film/tv biz. Before checking in at base camp (as they call it), I was able to raid the breakfast catering table before they closed up. Film and TV sets ALWAYS have the best food to eat. LOL

After breakfast it was time to check in and get the ok on my warbrobe from the wardrobe people. They ended up having me change my blouse for a pink one and added jewelry to my ensemble. Then it was off to the actual set which was based at an actual church. Since I'm not certain if I can share details, I won't be specific as to what occurred. Watch the tv show if you're curious.

After arriving at the church we were placed in a "holding area" which is usually a room where the extras hang out till they are called up for the scene. All film, TV, etc, have one of these somewhere on set. The extras get the holding room while the actors (or talent) use their trailers to chill out til their screen time takes place. In most cases if the show or studio is really good, we (the extras) are able to relax and eat snacks till scene time.

We were held in the holding room for like an hour or so. After which, the wrangler (extras casting assistant) came in and explained what we were there to do that day. There were 3 scenes to be completed and that they were starting with the exiting from the church first, then the arrival to church, and finally the event inside the church. Sounds easy,eh? Not so much.

We were told to go to the church and once inside we were told what to do. One would think walking out of a church is simple but we ended up doing several takes of this one scene. After that part of the scene was completed, we were told to go back inside to the church and sit in the pews.

Filming isn't all glamour and fun. It can be very dull and boring too. I always bring a couple of books to set just in case because there is A LOT of downtime for extras and talent as the cameras have to be reset, lighting has to be changed, etc, etc. If anything, I'd have to say the crew has the hardest job of all because they are the ones who keep everything functioning in a timely manner and on schedule.

So while I was sitting in the pew, the casting assistants pulled a few of the extras out to show them on camera as arriving to church along with the primary cast, and I basically wasn't really a part of that scene. After all that was finished, the director wrapped those 2 scenes, and we went back to base camp for lunch/dinner.

As I've said the production takes good care of their extras, crew, and talent. We were all fed chicken, steak, fish, potatoes, steamed veggies, salad, bread, ice cream, and more...and then it was back to the set to finish off the day with the final scene inside the church.

The scene itself is hilarious. I recommend that everyone check this show out. It's good and it has an awesome cast. After the director finally got the scene to what he wanted, he called it a "wrap" and at this point it was already 10:30pm. A really long day but very productive and interesting.

After getting back to base camp, returning my wardrobe, and having my voucher signed off on, I took the production shuttle van over to where my car was parked and headed for home. Thankfully, that was only 15 minutes away.


@syzzlyn's notes:
- Here's a short vid that Grunny tweeted when he was on the "Love Bites" set. I believe it's the same church scene where Chelle was in .... somewhere! :) Click here!

- The "Criminal Minds" episode aired on November 10, 2010 was the one Chelle was in.

The episode entitled "Reflections of Desire", also featured another "Heroes" alumni - Robert Knepper. Oh, the relish I feel whenever I watch Robert nail the role of the creepy bad guy!

In the last few frames of that episode, you'll see Chelle sitting beside Thomas Gibson and near the cast members! (see screencap above)


About "Love Bites":
Grunny is a cast regular on the new NBC comedy series "Love Bites", helmed by "Sex and the City" writer Cindy Chupack. The series explores stories about modern love and romance in an funny, sexy, irreverent manner.

Check out "Love Bites" official website here for a preview and other information on the new series! There are some stuff on the website although no premiere dates for "Love Bites" have been announced yet. I've heard that it will premiere in Jan 2011.

In the pilot, Grunny plays a married man who has a chance to fulfill his celeb wishlist that includes Jennifer Love Hewitt (who plays herself).

Chris and Grunny on "Love Bites" set
Here's a tidbit - there is one other well-known actor who will appear on "Love Bites" as a guest star. He is USA Network's "Covert Affairs" resident hunk with the very nice biceps - Christopher Gorham! Here's the set pic that was tweeted!

Other guests stars for "Love Bites" who Grunny has tweeted about so far include Beau Bridges and Chris Parnell.

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