I sat in silence, shivering in the cold room wearing nothing but my borrowed dress and high heels. It seemed like only a small handful of people, guys and girls included, had gone to the wardrobe trailer. Almost everyone was still wearing their own shoes, shirts and pants. I was one of the few who weren't. I was also one of the few wearing false eye lashes. I was the ONLY one the makeup people had put any lashes on at all. Why was I being treated so special? It was nice, and I certainly wasn't going to complain since it was likely going to be my first and last chance at being an extra, but curiosity still had me in its grips.
One man was up pacing back and forth. It looked like he might have been worried about something, but I really had no idea what it could be. He sat down not too far from me. I didn't know who he was, but in hind sight I probably should have. I thought he was another of the extras and I just hadn't seen him in the mass of 142 people sooner than that. I stupidly asked if he was ready to begin the day. He smiled, slid a bit closer to me, and nodded.
"I always am," he said to me. I heard a few of the extras behind me gasp. I realized when I looked at the guys hands that he wasn't just another extra. He was an actor on the show. It turned out that he was one of the villains. We made small talk for a while, and he asked how long I had been doing extra work. I told him my brief story about it likely being my first and last experience. He wished me luck, the lights dimmed, and he walked away.
"You can't do that," one of the girls close by said to me.
"Talk to the actors."
"You're not supposed to because they have a lot they have to think about. Only other actors can talk to the actors."
"I didn't know that," I said apologetically.
The actor I had been talking to was Taso Papadakis who would be playing the part of Aleksander Petrovich, and it wouldn't be the only time he would pop up in my surprising life. The next time our paths crossed outside of that day was in a completely different capacity.
The casting directors picked people out one at a time and lead them to different places around the stretched room. Slowly everyone was placed in different locations and clusters and given specific orders on what they should be doing. I was one of the last to be picked.
When I stood up I got the once over yet again. I was walked down the stretched room to the far end and placed on a bench right behind the major actors of the television show. Everyone was there but Jennifer Garner. I was within a breaths distance from the major players on what I thought at the time was the best show on television. I sat there for one or two takes, pretending to chat with a nice Asian young man who had been placed next to me. His name was Nathan, he said, and he wanted to be a director. We had a good chat - up until I was pointed at by the director of the episode - Jennifer Garner herself. She asked me to stand up and I got the once over by my favorite star of all time. She scrutinized me and said something to the casting director. He came over and introduced himself to me.
"I'm Michael. You must be Amanda." Before I could confirm, he went right on with talking. "We need you to come over this way for the next shot. We're going to have you be a main camera focus if that's ok with you. We'll need you to walk the lenghth of the room and look past the camera, but walk gracefully and directly at the camera. Start walking toward the camera's left side when you're about 4 feet away from it. Can you do that for me? You're a doll. Thanks." As quickly as he spoke, he turned and walked away. "Make up!" He called out.
The same woman who had taught me how to put on fake lashes came running over to me with a huge hand-held makeup kit. She opened it on the spot and started dotting powder over my face. Then she brightened my blush and put a small layer of vaseline on my lips to make them shine. "I knew you'd be great, Honey," she said to me. "We gotta make you the prettiest girl out there, not that you aren't already." I blushed a bit and my entire face went red. "Now now, none of that. Don't tell me you're shy." She spoke just as quickly as the casting director. As fast as she appeared, she was gone.
I stood to my full height. I had been teetering around on those crazy high heels since I had been put in them. I remembered nearly falling down the stairs in a nose dive. How was I going to walk gracefully towards the camera in heels that were bigger than the bottom of my own foot? I felt like I was going to fall forward at any second.
I took a deep breath and someone poked their head out of a back room. They shouted the commands to get the cameras ready to roll, the extras in place and silent as the grave and the actors to be on cue. Finally I was in the spotlight. It wasn't a literal spotlight, but I knew the camera was on me and me alone. I knew I was in full focus and I knew I had to walk the lenght of the room as gracefully as possible. I took a single step...