Welcome to my blog. I write about fitting in, sticking out, and missing the motherland as a serial foreigner.

My brother, the extra: Twilight movie experience

The view from Steven's seat in the Forks High School cafeteria (actually Madison High School in Portland)

I've had a few requests for details from my brother Steven's experience as a Twilight movie extra. You guys are lucky - when I asked him about it over the phone, he basically said, "Yeah, it was neat. I'm really tired." In case it's not obvious, he's 15 years old. But for you, dear readers, he wrote a coherent synopsis of his whole experience. Here it is, in his own words, only lightly edited by me, mostly for paragraph breaks.

After I signed up and went downtown to [the casting agency's] office for a photo shoot, I would check their website once in a while to see the status of my role. After a couple weeks of waiting, I got a text message from the website, saying to check my new job position on the page. I checked my availability to work on a couple days during spring break, and soon they officially cast me. I was originally supposed to go in on a Monday and Tuesday, but they postponed a few times, so it turned out to be a Thursday and Friday that I filmed.

I left at 5:00 Thursday morning, because I had to check in at Madison High School in East Portland at 6:00. I waited in a line for 15 minutes, and when I got up to the front, I received a form asking for my information, including my SSN, permit #, and other basic items for payment. They sent me to the school auditorium with my wardrobe (yes, they had me bring 5 outfits), and I got into another long line waiting for an outfit to be approved by a wardrobe lady. After that, everyone just chilled in the auditorium for 3 or 4 hours, waiting to be called on set. Good thing I brought a book to read.

Then, about 40 out of the 90 extras were called to be in a scene. The rest of us played games for another couple hours. A channel 8 cameraman came in and interviewed a couple extras, one of which was right next to me, so I was in the frame :). Soon after, the rest of us were called to the cafeteria.

As I walked through the halls, I saw posters with "Forks High School" written on them, dates of the prom, etc. In the cafeteria, some of the crew sat us down at tables as if we were at a restaurant. They put a tray with mostly edible food in front of each of us. I got macaroni and cheese and juice, which was too old to eat. The crew selected a few of the extras to just walk around the cafeteria, with no particular destination. After a rehearsal of the scene with the extras, the cast came in and filled a couple of tables at opposite ends of the cafeteria. Each scene was filmed 4-12 times. A little later in the day, there was a food fight, and some of the extras volunteered to throw food.

At some point during the day, I went to talk to someone I knew from the auditorium who was talking to Kristen Stewart, so I had the chance to talk to her for a minute. Near the end of the day, I was chosen by one of the crew to walk past Edward. After a tiring 13 hours, I finally got to go home. Went back the next day, repeated.

In the auditorium, which was the place where people went when they weren't filming at the moment, there were snacks. At about 1:00, we all had a 40-minute lunch break. It was better food than I had expected. It was at lunch where I walked around the corner and bumped into Edward. My claim to fame.

On day two, I sat at the table next to the Cullens, and I overheard a lot of their conversations when the camera wasn't rolling. Rosalie was crabby and really bossy toward the crew, and cussed a lot. Jasper cussed a lot, but he was more laid back. When one of the crew came up and took a picture of them, he gave the camera the bird. Alice was really nice, she seemed intelligent. Emmett was really tall. He seemed nice also. Edward was very independent, and tried to concentrate a lot, but occasionally joined in their conversations. Bella was nice when I talked to her. The actors actually got to order the food that was put in front of them, and that was when Rosalie demanded a brownie and a Propel.

Our directions during filming were to never look directly at the camera, and act like you were having a good time with the people at your table when the camera was rolling.

Overall, it was really interesting to see how they filmed movies, and it was cool to see the actors. But it was also hours and hours of waiting, and I wouldn't be willing to do it again if I didn't get paid $260.
Thanks, Steven!

(See this post for a follow-up.)

Blockage of mystery

Just doing my civic duty