Tuesday, March 03, 1998

Early Edition (a retro-post)

I'VE BEEN WORKING AS AN EXTRA on the Chicago-produced TV series “Early Edition.” The shoot today was cold, and fun. Met some cool female people: f'rinstance, Joanne, a 45-ish Assyrian who says she teaches Sunday school – and who also seems to like talking and joking about sex a lot. Then, Nye, a cute, plump sista from my alma mater, Columbia College, who conveniently lives near where I grew up, and even knows some guys I used to caddy with at Idlewild. Also, Ally from Barrington, a blonde, model type. She’s got a few inches on me, but so what. She goes to school in Ohio, but is here for a weekend visit apparently, and decided to work the show today.

They put the two of us together on the alley scene. We're shooting in the alley behind the Cultural Center, right off Lake Street. Ally is so nervous, worried about what to do. As it turns out, we'll be the ones – along with model-boy (what's his name?) and Joanne, who get to run in to Fisher (Stevens)'s bloody body after Kyle (Chandler) yells for help.

In one of the sidewalk shots, by the way, as Kyle charges down the sidewalk to the alley opening, he zigzags right behind me, almost knocking me over. I hope they use that take. However, they re-shoot it a couple times. The final time, they have just me run over to the body. No telling which take they'll use.

Scenes are shot out of order and most extras don't even get a call sheet, let alone a glance at a script. So we are only vaguely aware of what the scene's about, let alone the episode. I never did see the episode air; nor, for that matter did I ever see most of the other EE shoots I've worked, or the feature films -- even the one where I worked as a stand-in for the lead.
While we background folk stand around outside, waiting for them to set up the next shot or whatever, I leave Allie and go over to chat with Joanne, who also seems interesting. Several times while talking to Joanne, I glance up to find Allie peeking at us.

Later I go back toward her. She exults over our luck at being featured: “They like us. I wonder why?”

“Well, I know you look good on camera,” I say. “Off camera too.”

“So do you.”

I wave it off with my characteristic modesty.

Allie gladly gives me her numbers at school and at home, and demands mine. She even playfully rubs my freshly shaven head. I'm glad I've managed to look passably good after only three hours of sleep, a long day at work, my eyes glazing over from wearing unwashed contacts, and a big zit on my face. We'll have to get together sometime so she can see me on a good day.