“Action.” That’s the word that sends everyone in the film-making business into a whirlwind. A wave of scene-pertaining emotion floods the actors' faces. The boom is lowered into place. The director ready to flail his arms as soon as something goes wrong.
“Cut.” That’s the second word that sends everyone in the film-making business into a whirlwind. Actors are back to reality, desperately trying to fix whatever the director said they did wrong. The boom is set away from the scene, the director flailing at whoever screwed up.
Of course, it's hardly ever the "extra" who screwed up the scene, considering they're usually just a blurred out image in the background. But that blurred out image in "My Senior Year," a film directed by , is me.
Set to premiere in January, the film describes the journey of home-schooled boy Brian who enters public school for the first time. The film also focuses in on his relationship with his estranged father, who later suffers on the inside and out.
While most of you guys are working or taking it easy during summer vacation, for the past two weeks I have been learning the ropes of film-making. From seeing what it's like when actors have to have their make-up fixed halfway through a scene, to seeing the stress Carlini endured when a shot just wasn't what he envisioned.
The hours were long, the days blended together. But when that camera finally panned over to your face — that's when it was all worth it. Waking up early, living off Little Caesar's hot n' ready pizzas, standing around most of the day waiting for the real actors to finish a scene where extras weren't needed at all.
I would always volunteer when they needed an extra to wave to one of the lead actors in the beginning of a scene or walk with a tray in the background. Whenever chosen for a part like this, a few of my friends who are also in the movie and I would joke that we were "the main extra."
Getting chosen for a part like this, getting one more half-second in the lens - that's when I learned how hard it actually is to make it in the movie world. There are so many aspiring actors, directors, producers, and only room for so many. Some of the main actors in Carlini's film told me how their days consist of audition after audition — and usually without success — they hardly ever land the job.
It's a tough world, but Carlini, a alumni, has given me hope. Roughly 23, he already has a head start in the tight-throat movie world. Producing documentaries, short films, being nominated for Midwest Emmys and hopefully, "My Senior Year," is his best yet. (Considering he got the chance to work with some of the most dedicated extras a director could ask for).
I never really got the chance to get to know most of the other extras, partly because of the fact that the producer was always yelling "quiet on set." Sure as extras we had long days, Little Caesar's eating and little screen time, but we had a special bond. And that's what made it all worth it.