Friday, June 10, 2011

Attention: Marvel Fans in Ohio!

The Plain Dealer reported today that Marvel Studios has issued an open casting call for extras in The Avengers movie, which will be filming in Cleveland in August and September. And whether you're a fan or not, I have to encourage anyone with the spare time and a little sense of adventure to go try to get in the cast! If you've never been an extra in a film before, it's definitely an experience to write home about!

This looks like a great one too: the celebrity lineup has Robert Downey, Jr. as Iron Man; Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury; Chris Hemsworth as Thor; Chris Evans as Captain America; Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow; Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye and Mark Ruffalo as Hulk.

Personally, I was only a movie extra once. The pay was mediocre and the days were long, but overall it was a lot of fun and I came away with some great stories and memories. I was offered other film work after that, but sadly, I couldn't make the time commitment to do it again, though I badly wanted to.

The Plain Dealer article has the details for this casting call, and every movie is looking for something different. But from my own experience, I can tell you a few things you can probably expect if you go:

  1. Don't worry about your age, height, weight, or other features. This isn't a beauty contest - directors are often looking for a wide range of types to represent a crowd.

  2. Don't try to stand out! It isn't the time for experimental hair colors or distracting makeup, unless the call is for a specific  type. Ultimately, the hair, makeup and costume people will change your appearance to suit the scene anyway. The call for The Avengers specifies your "best business executive outfit" and may expect you to wear the same clothing on set.

  3. Leave the colored contacts out! We were warned time and again that colored lenses were forbidden because they appear strange on film.

When you're hired and hit the set, that's when the experience gets real!

  1. Listen. Listen to everything your director or anyone in charge of production tells you. Not only must you know where to go and what to do, but they'll also probably instruct you that there will be no photos or autographs, not to approach actors and actresses, and tell you when to be absolutely silent. Breaking the rules will end your fun, so pay attention.

  2. Expect to be told that you can't have your cell phone with you at all on the set. Not only does no one want an inadvertent ringtone interruption, but most would rather not have random images of the filming or the stars leaking out to the internet.

  3. You'll do a lot of standing around and waiting. You'll be amazed at how long it can take to create a few minutes of film and how many times you'll do the same thing over and over before you're done. Don't worry about being too bored though, there were lots of fascinating people on my set, and we all got to know each other during the downtime. Oh, and the food and snacks they provided were excellent!

  4. Don't expect to meet or hangout with celebrities. It might happen, but probably not. The star of the film I was in was fantastic for working out comedy routines for all of us during lulls in the action, but didn't approach or meet anyone one-on-one.

So if you're in Cleveland, or if there's a casting call for another film near you, I highly recommend checking it out. And remember, forever more, whenever that film is mentioned or comes on television, you get to point and tell everyone "Hey! I'm in this movie!"

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