Life as a Background Actor - Part 2

Ahhh...Korea Town

Like I said last week, I was on the set of Spiderman 3 when I had overheard a girl talking about how an apartment opened up in her building.  I think I was reading a book and as soon as I heard her I interrupted and asked for the information.  The next day I called the land lord; I believe her name was Moon something - quite the hippy!  Anywho, I made an appointment to go see the apartment the next day.  I went, saw, and signed my first lease.  It was near downtown Los Angeles in Korea Town.  The apartment was really cool.  The building used to be an old hotel in the 1920s.  It had hardwood floors and an exposed brick wall.  Just like Carrie's in Sex and the City.  I lived in this apartment for almost 2 years!  I loved it.  I should have stayed there :)  That move is a story for a different day.

The apartment was in a pretty good location.  It was close to the 10 freeway, which could also lead me to the 5, the 101 and the 405 (these are all freeways).  Outside of Los Angeles no one puts the word "the" in front of freeway numbers.  In Washington, DC it's not "the 395," it's just "395."

It's location was really convenient, especially when I needed to jump on the 10 freeway to get to Long Beach to work on television shows like The O.C.

If you were a fan of the show, the first episode I worked on was in Season 3: Episode 23: The Party Favor.
(forward to 6:26 minutes..you can't see me...but I'm one of the waitresses in the after prom party scene)
The first time I worked on the show I had been booked as a waitress at the restaurant/bar and there was a 4pm call time.  A 4pm call time, to me, meant a short day.  Wow was I wrong!  I'll get to that.  When I got to the set I checked in with the production assistants and was sent to wardrobe.  They gave me some fishnet tights, a tank top, and a mini skirt.  

Something you need to understand about background work is that you sit in a "holding area" until the production needs you to fill background space.  You don't get to hang out on set with the actors and chat it up.  On most shows, like The O.C., the holding area was an empty sound stage.  You are not given any entertainment or things to help keep you busy; that's on you.  You don't control the airflow or the food/beverage situation.  This set was really cold!  With the stage doors open (the studio is right on the water) and the AC pumping it was like sitting in a freezer.  My "costume" sucked and I didn't have anything to keep warm.  A nice guy that was also booked as background let me wear his hoodie.  It was a long night!

I also learned that a 4pm call time on a Thursday usually meant you're there until at least 4am (always expect a 12 hour day).  Yeah, I was on set until 5am that night.  This is how the schedule works: on a Monday there is usually a 6/7am call time.  The actors have to have a 12 hour turn around.  A typical work day is 12-14 hours.  So, if you start on Monday at 6am you could be working until at least 6pm that night.   That is if there are no problems or delays.

One of the really good things about background work was meeting so many different people. If you did enough background work (I did it full time for 2 years), then you saw some of the same people on tons of sets.

You are probably wondering, "How did you get put on all those shows?"  
I'll tell you all about that next week!

I'm also guest posting on Sweet Green Tangerine today!  Check it out!

(linking up for Yolo Mondays with Lipgloss & Crayons & I'm linking up for I Love Bloglovin' Link Up Party with Pursuit of Pink)