Sunday, April 19, 2009

Quiet on the Set!

It was a normal Friday just like any other, but I would soon find out that things were a little different once I got home and checked email. Last summer I did a one-day gig on the set of Brotherhood as an extra. Being on that side of things was incredibly interesting - that’s why when I read email on Friday I was smiling from ear to ear - because waiting for me was another invite for work. This time it was on the set of the new CBS pilot being shot in Providence called “House Rules”.

House Rules is about newly elected “freshmen” congressmen and women who find themselves trying to keep up with the controlled chaos of a high profile Congressional lifestyle while trying to build friendships, relationships and avoid getting stepped on by their more seasoned colleagues.

Being a pilot, there’s no guarantee that the show will even see the light of day on the network, but from what I’ve read online this is a much-anticipated project. It’s being filmed primarily at the Rhode Island State House given its close resemblance to the U.S. Capital building in DC, which is where the show is supposed to be based. Written by Michael Seitzman of “North Country” fame and produced by Mark Gordon, whose accomplishments read like a laundry list of Hollywood success stories. Gordon is the executive producer of “Grey’s Anatomy” and was a producer on “Saving Private Ryan," among others.

This email told me that I had an 11:45 call time on Sunday, March 22. I’m sorry for going all Hollywood on you and using “call time” but it had to be done. I arrived dressed for success at 11:30, after all I didn’t want to be late on a day that my big break could come! I made my way to the extras holding room, despite a PA that offered nothing in the way of help when asked where I should be heading. Once I arrived I was told my clothes were fine but I needed to have a more Congressional looking tie. Now it was Hurry Up and Wait Time.

After squaring away the registration process to ensure we get paid, we were soon taken out to film the first of many scenes. The film crew only had the building for the weekend while it was closed and had to fit in as much as possible before the legislators returned. In my first scene I was lucky enough to get a mark that was directly in line with the actors as they walked past. I was close enough to almost brush shoulders with the female lead, played by Zoe McLellan of “JAG” and “Dirty, Sexy, Money” fame. She was joined by Eion Bailey from “Band of Brothers” and “ER”.

The scenes kept coming at a rapid pace totaling seven or so for the twelve-hour day. I know it doesn’t sound like many, but when you consider the amount of people and stuff that have to be moved around for each scene, it’s impressive - trust me.

By the end of the night my feet and legs were useless. Being a newcomer, I hadn’t yet known the three rules of extras acting, which had been explained to me by my new friend Jim. First, always wear comfortable shoes. Second, always take your fair share at lunch. Third, never stand when you can sit. Words to live by… thanks Jim.

After a twelve-hour day, ten of which were spent on my feet, I was happy to realize that I didn’t have a big day ahead of me at work. Just another in a long line of reasons I love being a Realtor.

I was excited to be called back a week later to do a ballroom scene at Rosecliff Mansion in Newport. I knew I would be wearing a tuxedo, so I went to see my friend Danny Harris over at Carl Anthony Tuxedos in Cranston. Danny had exactly what I needed - and considering the short notice, I was quite impressed.

Although it was pretty cold outside this time, we spent a good portion of the night in the ballroom, eating and waiting for filming to start. I even had time to take a picture of myself...

What a great experience. I can't wait for the next time.

Bob Black
Williams & Stuart Real Estate
870 Oaklawn Ave
Cranston, RI, 02920
Work: 401.942.0200 ext 28
Mobile: 401.261.1599
Your Friend in Rhode Island Real Estate
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