Friday, January 18, 2008

Being Featured

Wow- I have been so busying in the industry that I have had nearly no time to write this blog! This is the first of two blogs that I’ll be writing to update you on what has been happening.

First, I spent a wonderful two days on the set of “Untitled Russian Project” (the name has not been released)- the feature film with Paul Giamatti. I did featured background work, which means that I had a specific role, but I did not have any lines. In order to get the part, the casting director had to submit my photo (along with 4-5 others) to the director and the director would choose the person with the right look to be in the film.The 4 scenes I was in revolved around a theater actor (Giamatti) who was rehearsing a Chekhov play. Michael Tucker played the director, and I played his assistant. The scenes we shot only involved 4 actors total (me included), and it was really great to be involved in such intimate scenes. The first one I shot was the opening to the film, and I imagine that I will get some good coverage in the film.

What was really fun was the chance I had to create a character completely on my own without dialogue to define who I would play. This meant that I could really do anything I wanted. One of my main goals was to give the director strong footage so that she would not have to edit around me. I have seen many background actors perform, and sometimes the actor does not take the time to fit themselves into the scene emotionally. They think that they are just a body, and that belief shows up in their eyes and in their face. So, when an editor works on the film, they have to cut the background actor out of the scene because they don’t match the intensity or preparation of the other actors. I wanted to be sure that I committed to the scene fully so that the director and editor would have full flexibility with the footage. I think I succeeded, and I am very proud of the work I did!

Up next, updates on the several casting directors and agents I met in the past week! But before that, I have to go drown myself in a cup of soothing coffee!


  1. You know... there's a short film in there somewhere about a "featured background performer" trying REALLY hard to get into the part...

    Congrats on the gig!

  2. Have you seen Rocky Gervais' "Extras"? Hilarious!

  3. Emotional connection to the scene is very important, and most extras simply don't care.

    There's a reason extras are often called "scenery we have to feed".

    And, as someone who's wrangled many background, I can tell you that the ones who try to connect without trying to pull focus are the ones that end up moving into the featured spots when the open up.

  4. I love that- so succinctly put, and you bring up a great point about not pulling focus. When I got cast in a principal role on Veronica Mars (which turned into a recurring role) I was told by my agent that the casting director said I was cast because I was, "the only one who didn't try to win an Oscar at the audition." Understanding your place in the film is vitally important! Thank you so much for bringing that to light!


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