My Extra inspiration…
Okay, everybody that knows me knows that I’m an aspiring entertainer, and if you’re in that unfortunate majority out there that doesn’t know me, just take my word for it that writing, performing, and everything else included is a passion of mine, and has been ever since I was BabyBats
Hell BabyBats was a lil beast too, and what BabyBats always heard about in regards to the entertainment industry is you HAVE TO PAY YOUR DUES…
Whether its rapping, poeting (yah, I made up a word, fuck it), acting, dancing, whatever you do no matter how glamorous Tito Jackson’s life looks on tv, that mafucka had to pay his dues, kiss some ass and suck some dicks, pardon me if my language offends you…that’s the only pardon you get by the way….so in honor of paying dues, I decided to try out being an Extra. I just quit my job at the lovely Target, so with nothing else to do with my time, I emailed a local casting company for work as an extra, and the next day they got right back to me. My dude KJ is always telling me that getting a quick 100 for a day, as well as an experience is always worth it, and I had to take his word for it, because the guy has pictures w/ himself and everyone from John Cena to Anthony Anderson, all on set, as an Extra just working up the ranks
So I decide to give it a try. The company tells me that call time is 1 pm, at one of the local jail houses on Tulane and Broad, just hearing Tulane and Broad put together made me feel like, ite, I’m basically sending myself up shitscreek. If you’re from New Orleans, just saying the combination of words, “Tulane” “and” “Broad” will always bring thoughts of being arrested , being locked up, or Duck Ass Police officers And even though I’m not some super thug criminal cat, I’ve had my problems with the Duck Ass Police, I can’t think of a black man who hasn’t, and yeah I’m going to pull the race card on that, so if I have any white readers…here’s what I want you to do. For an experiment, I want you to stay out in the sun for like 20 hours, get the darkest tan you can get, as a matter of fact, get three of your friends to do the same, then the four of you get in your car and take a drive, as you see the Duck Ass Policeman start to follow you, breathe a sigh of relief…why? because he’s most likely just behind your car for the moment as a shield so my NATURALLY black ass is still the one he’s after and looking to arrest, check the statistics….and no I’m not racist, because I do have white friends lol…moving on…they tell me to show up on Tulane and Broad for 1p.m, I’m thinking cool because I’ve got all morning to sleep, I’m not much of a morning person, if I could I would be, but my brain won’t allow it so I’ve learn to accept it…the early bird gets the worm, but the late bird gets to flirt with the early bird, and leaves with both the worm and some good ol’ poontang, yadig…the logic isn’t necessarily healthy, but it gets me by …but yah, back to me being an extra…I go to Tulane and Broad and a quick, and after a quick flashback of when I was arrested for battery when I was 15, because punk ass Noel told his grandmother I attacked him, when really it was a fight, and I whopped his ass, not to suck my own dick or anything, just a quick flashback I was off to find where the other extras were located.
I’ll say this now, my life as an extra had to have gone through 5 Phases, which were:
1) Enthused volunteer
2) Optimistic worker
3) professional bitch slave
4) inspired actor
5) Sleeping wiseman
The Enthused Volunteer phase began as soon as I set foot in the building. I recall it was me and this…well I won’t call the dude gay, because I hadn’t asked him what his sexual orientation was, but I’ll say he was a bit…marshmellowy
…I thought he was an ite lil dude, up until he opened his marshmellow mouth and began giving me his life story. I don’t understand those strangers that really believe that other strangers give a damn about their lives, I mean hell, I don’t pay attention to a nice lil percentage of the crap my own friends and family blabber about on occassion, so why should I feel that this stranger’s life story is all I need to die with the kind of smile on my face that could only truly be given to me by either Meagan Good, Lauren London, or Christina Milian…
Now for those of you smart asses, who can flip on me that why at this moment, you shouldn’t care about what I’m writing, because I’m a stranger to you…I’ll say two things, 1) There’s choice involved when you’re reading a blog, and us bloggers are basically here to facilitate a service, a service to the bored man or woman out there who just needs 5 to 20 minutes go by as quickly as possible, it’s because of us that there’s only like 5 wars going on at once instead of 500, yadig, and 2) Nevermind “2”, it was going to originally be this lame vulgar comment reagarding me and Yo Momma…
Ol’ dude, Mr. Marshmellow would not stop yapping on and on about his ballet championships, and obsession with his idol Paula Abdul….and yes he did say “no homo” after admitting this, but of course to quote Jay-Z…”We don’t believe you, you need more people”…we get on the inside and they tell us that we’re going to be working on this movie named I Love You Phillip Morris starring Jim Carrey, no I have no clue why he’s in jail, or what the movie’s about, but for some reason I was still on a sort of intrigue style excitement as to what was to come as an extra. Of course, I heard about the long hours, and the down time, and all of the negatives, but as far as I was concerned, just being around the workings of hollywood even as a stain on a inmate costume worked for me. And yes, I say inmate costumes because I was chosen to be one of the many many inmates in orange jumpsuits that will appear in all of our orange glory in the film.
And they had given us full warning that we could not leave the Holding Room for Extras in costume, because we’d most likely be mistaken for a real inmate and arrested. Everyone laughed at what was thought to be a joke, and continued watching the Sci Fi channel on the big Holding Room for Extras TV screen, and eating on all of the snacks (shouts out to NutraGrain bars, M&Ms, Doritos, oreos, and tap water in a bucket,which was the best tap water i had ever drank, because i couldn’t stop hitting it, must’ve been the bucket)…About 20 minutes after the announcement, somebody had gone out for a smoke, was mistakened for an inmate, and had been almost fully arrested, just as the all knowing casting leader had said…the laughter from earlier…….got even louder cuz the shit was funny as hell, but still screwed up
Inmate Extra: *smoking*
Duck Ass Policeman: NIGGA GET ON THE WALL!
Inmate Extra: *smoking* i know they aint talking to me
DAP: GET ON THE FUCKING WALL! WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING OUT HERE!
I.E: Man, stop playing
They then put him on the wall with force, and drag his ass to the back, all the while not believing that homeboy was an extra, moral to this story? Ain’t none, I just love telling stories about Duck Ass Policeman being Duck Ass Police men, damn DAPs,
So yah, I’m suited up in my orange jogging suit, Mr. Marshmellow was sitting next to me, on the other side of me was this old cat with a bandana who seemed like a REAL inmate, a white hippie looking guy they wanted to use as a crazy patient, and a sea of other orange inmates, and we’re all watching the Sci Fi channel, while this lady who worked there talked loudly about some incident in Baton Rouge involving, the Duck Ass Policemen arresting 50 of the extras working on the set, because after reviewing their driver’s liscenses, which casting agencies do to process your check, it turns out that all 50 of em were wanted for various stuff, Bandanaman replied “Well, I hope they don’t check my liscense, shiit”….Mr.Marshmellow moved to the other side of the room…
Two hours had gone by and I was still watching the Sci Fi channel, needless to say my enthusiasm had been taken down a chunk, and in its place a quiet optimism, that was doomed to go away if I didn’t change the channel, so I grabbed the remote and changed it to VH1, but Flava Flav and Miss Rap Supreme reruns weren’t on at the moment, so I flipped to Comedy Central, and Undercover Brother was on…
I hadn’t seen it in years, and it was funny, so I felt like fuck it…the laughs gained from the movie, kinda eased my asspain from sitting in the same seat for 3 hours doing nothing, the free M&Ms helped as well. Mr. Marshmellow seemed to be gone for the day, the last thing I remember him saying was…
“Hell, I know Ima get me some camera time, because I know Ima be a star, in the bright lights ya feel me, shiit, this Extra stuff is just a start, watch, as soon as they see me, give me a shot, they gonna wanna put me in every shot with Jim Carrey, he gon see it too”
I had no clue why Mr. Marshmellow believed that being an extra, with all this many inmates on THIS day, would be his big break, but shiit, who was I to tell him otherwise, he then went to sit by this cute ass chick that worked for the casting agency to I guess kiss ass, I dunno, all the while me, Badanaman, and this bald Gandhi looking dude watched Undercover Brother. I have to say that Undercover Brother is an underrated movie, that may have been the boredom thinking for my real brain, who knows, but I did begin to feel my optimism slipping by hour number 5 of sitting in the same place. And as the casting director came in for the 4th time still leaving my group in TV Land, all I could do was stand up, shake the pain in my ass away…notice I said the pain in my ass not my ass…and began txting anybody who would respond, because as How High’s rolling credits began, my optimism began dissolving like an alka seltzer tablet dropped in boiling alcohol….far reach, but you get the picture
Lunch was held like 7 hours in, I believe, and they served everyone well, I didn’t like the food, but I’m a picky ass eater, the fish was on point though, I go back early and I catch some of Jeff Foxworthy and Larry the Cable Guy’s redneck comedy special, “GET ER DUN!”, which was funny as hell, this assistant D.A sits next to me and begins to make conversation, I never met a New Orleans born Italian kid, and he was it, he looked like Robert Dinero’s illegitimate gay nephew, but he was cool, I got a fascination with mob movies, so it was kind of interesting meeting an Italian cat in New Orleans, GayDineroish or not, he began talking about his girlfriend (lol), and how he never sees her because he’s always working as an assistant on these sets: “The only pussy I’ve seen in the pass two weeks is staring right back at me in the mirror….This Garfield tattoo, just me in Garfield, that’s it, she won’t even wake up for a quickie”…I wanted to laugh, seriously laugh hard because in one statement he said that the only pussy he’s seen stares at him in his mirror, and that his girlfriend hates his sex game, >insert shameless gay joke here<…talking to this guy before he left was pure comedy for all the wrong reasons…so after he left, I let Comedy Central show me what comedy was for all the right reasons, I was trapped anyway, why not have a laugh or 7? it was either that or listen to Bandanaman continue to drop not so subtle hints about this inmate gig being nothing more than a dejavu refresher course for him
“Yeah, they better give me some checkers for my scene, thats all we did in there to pass the time, that and smoked”
“Oh I can tell you aint never done no time, you didn’t even know about the pocket on your left breast”
“Ain’t nothing wrong with masterbation, it’s healthy for the mind”
I love people, seriously I do…
PROFESSIONAL BITCH SLAVE
It’s like hour 9, and I’ve watched like 4 or 5 movies and a comedy special on Comedy Central, my phone’s battery has gone dead, and so has the Ipod that I forgot to bring in the first place, but I’m more than sure it would’ve died too. My group has still never left the Holding Room, and if I see one more commercial about South Park, Zohan, or Girls Gone Wild, I’m going to personally go NUMBER 23 on Jim Carrey myself . The anger began mounting not because I was being an impatient ass, and also not because I didn’t understand that Extras would have to wait around for a long time, I think it basically came from the initial shock of course that this was nothing like I was expecting, and because we had been in the exact same room watching television for going on 10 hours…I felt like I was in detention, no better yet, actually locked up in prison, because, it had to be a site for someone to see all of us in orange jump suits crowded around the television, blank faced, a few of us w/ cigarettes in our ears ready to smoke, just waiting to be set free…I’m all for easy money, but as easy as it sounds, that shit wasn’t easy on the brain, it was like basically being paid to give them my time, and be on beckon call for if ever they needed an extra bitchslave to fill the background. If you wanted to leave early, you couldn’t without their permission, and if you left early, you wouldn’t get paid, even if you’ve been there for like 10 hours, so in essence you’re stuck, because you don’t want to leave and not get paid for the time you’ve spent, but you wanna get the hell out of there because the walls are really beginning to close in, and somebody smelled like SpongeBob’s tampon….REAL SHIT
So its hour 12, and our group is finally called out to shoot, we all walk in a single filed line, as if we’re chained to one another w/ shackles, and escorted the the big space full of bunks and tables where the scene was going to take place.
While there, watching the camera man get his spot, and spout off curse words in spanish if someone screwed up, watching the lighting men try desperately to get the perfect lighting that would make this 1am night look like the 1pm day that my day had began at, seeing the sound guys, the assistants and even the Jim Carrey body double, whose main job is just to look like Jim Carrey while the camera man gets all the angles he wants, and afterwards they call in the real Jim Carrey to do the scene, after seeing it all at work, I can honestly say I got inspired, as corny as it comes off, the shit really inspired me seeing all these people at work, fully dedicated, fully in sync, fully professional. I’ve done lil short films and school plays, but seeing Hollywood in action was a whole other feeling that had consumed me, and all I was doing was standing in the back with a bunch of other guys in orange, kinda trippy…then out the blue a big finger is pointed at me…”Hey, I want you to pretend to be on the phone in this scene”…next thing I know he’s leading me onto the scene right in front of the Jim Carrey body double, and tells me to basically just hold the phone in the scene, they then grab Bandanaman, and 3 other guys to be in the scene as well all on camera with Jim Carrey…They tell Bandanaman that he has to look as if he’s been in jail before and act as if he’s talking to someone else, “Just get me some checkers, and a cig and I’m home”, two of the assistants paused for a second after he said this, began observing him, then let out a nervous laugh before damn near officially making him the Jailbird Expert. They asked dude all kinds of questions from Jailhouse fashion “So do the criminals wear their jumpsuits all the way on, or half on half off” to “You said checkers earlier, is it cool that we have this chessboard set up instead”, it was something, once again, funny for all the wrong reasons
Jim Carrey then appeared on the scene, looking exactly like Jim Carrey, which is a weird statement to make because of course people are going to look like people, but sometimes people on tv don’t look like people, they look like tv people, and tv people aren’t real people, that’s why they’re tv people, and that’s why i’m never dating a girl until I see her on her most bummiest day, crusty eyes and all, because thats real beauty, all other kind of beauty is tv beauty, derived from tv people, who like I said aren’t real people, not that I’ve had that rant, once again, back to Jim Carrey, dude was COOL AS HELL, at first he was reserved and quiet, getting into his role I guess, but once given the chance, he told jokes, talked to people, and just hung, as best as a uber successful rich ass dude can hang w/ a bunch of broke ass extras, but all jokes aside, dude came across mad humble, he even cracked a joke about us not leaving because of the jump suits because we may really get arrested, and it turns out that the guy that did get hacked up earlier in the day was sitting right next to him, Jim’s face lit up, and he asked the man what happened, seemingly genuinely interested, all in all I can say that he’s a class act, fareal
And I never thought that something as simple as holding a phone in a scene that isn’t even focused on me would be so fun, but real shit, just holding that phone made my night, and I can’t explain why. And no it wasn’t because everytime I looked up I saw Mr. Marshmellow mean mugging me from afar, of course everyone else thought dude was just overly getting in character as an inmate, but nah, dude was DROVE that he wasn’t picked to talk on the phone
…just like a NIGGER right? lol…After about 25 minutes of shooting Jim do the exact same thing take after take, our group was sent back to the Holding Cell, I mean Holding Area for the Extras, and I have no been here for 12 hours. But I didn’t care at all, got to meet Jim Carrey, and without even trying to, I got inspired, I guess holding that phone was like a symbolism of me talking to what I hope to be my destiny on the other line, and being able to see it but not touch it, was leaving me feeling caged, but I began feeling like parole was around the corner, and I truly feel free in my dreams…yeah I’m reaching far as hell with that one, but it’s the best inspirational thing I could come up with, to describe something that I still can’t put into words yet…”The mark of a man, is that he will bullshit and bullshit until he reaches an understanding within himself”….
After leaving the scene, I ended up kicking w/this cat whose like a professional extra or something because he began telling me about like 20 different movies he was in, getting paid 100 bucks a day, and this other dude who would switch between talking about his girlfriend to trying to get it popping w/ the cute casting employee, homie was doing magic tricks and everything, which all led to hour 13, FREEDOM. After leaving, I went straight to the bat cave, got comfortable and went straight to sleep, the wiseman part comes from the fact, that every new experience you have, whether good or bad, you’re always wiser for it, as simple and cliche’d as that statement is, it will always ring true, afterall, when is a cliche ever wrong…I end this story with a new experience, a new respect for those who do this EVERY DAY because I couldn’t do that shit everyday, …and a renewed inspiration, all from a simple ass, nothing job as a lowly extra…I guess wisdom truly can be acquired from any where….shouts out to Mr. Marshmellow, good luck lil nigga
And as always, this was my $0.02 towards life’s $0.98…
-BATS, the ACE among kings…