Monday, May 2, 2011

The exciting life of a movie star...

Quick health update: I'm feeling a lot better. I still have a cough and my voice still sounds funny (not as hoarse, but not normal), but I FEEL so much better. Honestly since Thursday afternoon I have felt better, I just sound awful. Thanks for all the sweet emails/tweets asking how I was doing! ;) I went to the doctor on Friday to get some antibiotics and cough pills.

Okay, got that out of the way. I return you to my regularly scheduled blog post already in progress. So anyways, this weekend I was able to be a part of a movie shoot. A film about Tom Vandergriff is in the works (it's actually written and directed by his grandson Parker Vandergriff). For those who don't know, Mr. Vandergriff was once mayor of Arlington and was an "advocate" for the Washington Senators baseball team relocating to Arlington, Texas (thus becoming the Texas Rangers). Click here for more information on him. A notice went out a few months ago that they were going to need extras for the filming of the movie, so a friend and I decided to go try it out this weekend. I had never been an extra in a movie or TV show before, so I was excited to see "behind the scenes" stuff. 

We were told to dress in "1960s" clothes (seeing that the scene was taking place in 1965). They gave suggestions on what to wear, and I came up with this.

I had on capris, white collar shirt, big shades and a scarf in my hair.

On Saturday we were filming scenes for what was supposed to be Turnpike Stadium (home of the once minor league baseball team the Dallas-Fort Worth Spurs,). It later became known as Arlington Stadium when the Rangers moved in. We were filming at LaGrave Field (home of the Fort Worth Cats baseball team). They didn't have as many extras as they would have liked, so they had to move us around a lot to make it look like a full stadium. It amazes me how long it takes to film what is probably going to be maybe 30 seconds to a minute worth of footage in the final project. The director would tell us to pretend someone was stealing second, and he needed us to react (he actually had an actor in a baseball uniform out "stealing" second, so we had something to follow with our eyes). They would shoot that from different angles. Then we pretended someone hit a home run. Then we pretended like we didn't agree with the umpires call. It was fascinating. There was one scene where the director had me and my friend Monica move up front to be right in front of the camera. ;) That was actually a little nerve racking to have the camera right in my face. Side note: Since I was hoarse, I had to make it look like I was yelling (aren't I a great actress. You probably never would have known.) ;) I honestly couldn't have yelled if I wanted to my voice was so far gone!

A shot of the film crew setting up
During our 20 minute lunch break, the film crew trying to figure out where to film the next shot. They are from far away because we weren't supposed to be taking pictures! ;) Shhh....
The last thing we shot was the extras on a "set" in the parking lot that made it look like the old time entrance of Turnpike Stadium. They shot different angles of extras "buying tickets", going through turnstiles and "buying popcorn". We were filming from about noon until almost 5pm.

Me and my friend Monica in our 60's costumes!
Even if I don't make it into the final movie, I did have my two seconds of fame on a local news station. They were out covering the shoot and I made the news (I had about 10 people text or send me a message that they saw me). Here is the link here. I'm going to try and embed the video, not sure if it will work. If it does, the "freeze frame" has me and my friend Monica in the middle! ;)

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On Sunday they were supposed to film a parade scene outside, but for some reason the Texas weather decided to drop to 40 degrees on the first day of May. Also, it was raining. So that has been rescheduled. We were able to film a scene inside Arlington city hall of residents listening to Mayor Vandergriff speak. Actor Mark Nutter is portraying Mr. Vandergriff. He was on set Saturday, I recognized him and looked him up on IMDB. I had seen a few things he has been in (click here for those movies/TV shows). He was very nice and even posed for a picture after we were done filming.

Me and actor Mark Nutter. Like my 60s outfit for day 2? I actually had just bought the dress a few weeks ago at Kohl's. I felt it worked perfectly! The earrings are from my Go-Go dancer Halloween costume from a few years ago!
Again, we had to film the scene from different angles (and move people around to make it look like a full house). The cold, rainy weather had kept a lot of people from showing up. It was fun though! Mark was funny between filming scenes. He made the extras feel like we were important. He thanked all of us. He also told jokes and then made faces at us when we were supposed to be serious. 

I wasn't able to get pictures of the set up but I did get a picture of this lady's hat. Very 60's!!

No birds were harmed in the making of this hat.

One of the most exciting things about Day 2 (for me at least) was the raffle prizes. I didn't win anything on Saturday (I was kinda bummed, they had great stuff). On Sunday we ran a lot later than they thought (about an hour later), so they were basically holding up items and asking people who wanted them. I was sitting in the very back so it seemed anytime my hand went up, someone else down closer got picked. The last item was a pennant (it was in a glass frame. It was turned around so all you could see was the back). The assistant director asked who had been at the filming all day Saturday and Sunday. I raised my hand. She had talked to me earlier in the day, so she kinda knew who I was. She brought the pennant to me! Turns out it was an original Washington Senators pennant autographed by Ted Williams (if you don't know who he is, please click here). Not only was he a great baseball player, he was manager of the Washington Senators when they moved to Texas. 

At that time, I happened to be sitting next to the mother of the director (so this is Mr. Vandergriff's daughter-in-law). She looked at me and said that the pennant had belonged to Mr. Vandergriff, it came out of his house. I was floored. I couldn't believe they would part with something like that. As I was leaving, Parker (the director) came over to me and I thanked him for the pennant. He wanted to make sure I knew it was autographed. I told him I was fully aware and was very honored to now have it. **insert insanely giddy baseball happy Rachel here**. He said they would be filming the parade sometime in June and he hoped I could make it out there again. I told him I probably would!

I'm just speechless that I now have this!
Close up of the autograph

Needless to say, this is now probably my most prized sports memorabilia piece now!!

So anyways, that was my weekend. Hope everyone is having a fabulous Monday. It's still cold and rainy here. I would rather be at home reading my new Roxanne St. Claire book, but oh well. The day is almost halfway over. And we are having a department party this afternoon, so that will kill two hours. It's a Cinco de Mayo theme (yes, it's Dos de Mayo, we are having it a few days early). ;)



  1. It all sounds amazing, and you looked so cute!!! I've always wanted to be an extra, I think it sounds cool. I'm glad you are feeling better and had a fun weekend. Sorry it's been forever, I miss ya friend! Have a great one! ♥ BJ

  2. So much fun! They have filmed several movies in Winston-Salem and the surrounding area, but I've never had an opportunity to be an extra!

    And I'm sorry...but isn't IMDB the best thing in the world? My BFF always makes fun of me for looking stuff up...but it's so great for cross referencing!!! It's one of my favorite sites! :)

  3. Yay! When you're famous, I can say "I knew her (kinda sort of from blogs and twitter) before she was famous!" :)