Monday, December 2, 2013

Remember that one time I was in a movie?!

On Saturday, November 23rd, 2013, I was privileged to be an extra in an independent LDS short film! Sadly, I can't name names of the movie or the people associated with it because of the volunteer contract I signed. Boo. :( Rest assured, as soon as the movie comes out I'll be updating this blog post. :) It's all very interesting to me how this movie opportunity came about. Care to read on? Here we go! :)

*Side note: this post is extremely long. It was such a wonderful opportunity and I've never experienced anything like it before, so I'm writing about all of it! Also, I'm totally going out on a limb sharing my personal photos, so please don't do anything with them, i.e., look but don't touch. Thank you. :)

Way back in October, 2010, my good friend asked me to be in a photo shoot for a training video for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. When I finished the photo shoot, the director said I should apply on the LDS casting website. I was pretty shocked by his statement. I thought, "What? Why would they want to use me for anything else?" His words absolutely made my week because they showed that he liked what I did for them! Yay! I happily thought about signing up until we ended up moving to Texas two months later. Yeah, there was no point for me to sign up then!

Fast forward two-and-a-half years. By the time we were mostly settled in our new/old house, I began feeling the Holy Ghost whisper to me that I needed to sign up on The Church's casting website. I wondered if it was really Him, because I thought maybe I was just being silly, or vain, or self-centered, or presumptuous, or whatever. Yet those thoughts, "You need to sign up for The Church's casting website." kept coming to me. I prayed about what I was thinking, and determined that yes, it was the Holy Ghost whispering to me, and yes, I needed to sign up.

Thus began my internet search. It didn't take very long to find the Church's casting website, but I still took a while longer pondering my actions. I wondered why I should sign up. I wondered how my signing up would benefit my family and me? I wondered if this was something I was really supposed to do?

I prayed, received my answers (again), and signed up! After reading through their requirements I wondered how I was going to get head shots? I finally decided to just take my own because I didn't want to make a big deal out of it. Either it would work out, or I would totally flop. I thought it would be better if I just kept my decision to myself, until there was reason to celebrate. :) I was nervous and totally laughed while taking my own head shots, as I thought they must seem so amateurish. Yet I was brave and submitted everything they requested. I felt really good when I finished, which was a confirmation to me that I had made the right decision. :)

I began receiving emails about casting needs shortly after I signed up. Everything sounded interesting, but I didn't fit into the description of most of their projects. There was one project that I could have applied for, but it conflicted with our ward's Mutual night so there was no point in applying. Also, most of their projects are for the broader/global audience—i.e., they wanted more diverse/ethnic looks. It seemed that my look was the farthest thing from their requirements! After receiving so many "I don't fit their criteria" emails, I wondered why I had even signed up? I decided to just let it be and go about my life until something became available that applied to me.

Enter Thursday, November 21st, 2:41 p.m.. I received an email about a short independent LDS film that was looking for extras, and would be filming in Ogden on Saturday. It wasn't officially sponsored by the Church, but they had taken an interest in it. As I read the description of what the movie people were looking for, I thought, "Hey! I actually really fit their requirements this time!" I was pretty excited, so I prayed about it. I felt good, and that I should apply, so I called Greg to see what he thought. I pointed out that it was only filming that upcoming Saturday, so we didn't need to worry about interrupting our family's schedule. He said I should definitely apply for it. So I did!

I measured myself, found a head shot and full-body photo that I thought would suffice (even though they weren't professional), and submitted the rest of my information. By 4:13 p.m. I received their confirmation email. I was pleased with how timely I responded. :)

I truly didn't think I would hear anything other than a, "Thank you for your submission." email. Thus, I was completely stunned to receive an email at 2:20 a.m. Friday morning, the 22nd (but I didn't read it until about 8:20 a.m.), stating that the casting office would like to book me (me!) for their project. It made me so happy to know that they made their decision a mere 10 hours and seven minutes after I applied. I know I'm so silly, but it meant a lot. :)

I couldn't wait as I ran downstairs to tell Greg my happy news. I screamed excitedly, "I made it!!! They chose me to be in their movie!!! Of course, I'm only an extra, but still...I'm going to be in a movie!" Cutest husband that he is, Greg said, "I'm not surprised at all. I knew they would choose you." Oh yes, he got major brownie points for his sweet words. :)

I could hardly focus on getting the kids ready for school, but I somehow did it all. ;) I came home from dropping off the kids at school, got ready for the day and then went shopping for the things the casting office listed in their email. I also had to find someone to help me get my hair curled for Saturday morning—the casting call was bright and early at 7:00 a.m.! I called a young lady in my ward who cuts my hair and left her a message. I also called my mom and sister-in-law, in case my hairstylist couldn't help me. I was so relieved and grateful my hairstylist could help because my mom and sister-in-law were both busy.

Here's what I look like in sponge curlers and a cap:

I'm so excited!

After my hair was finished, I packed my bag with everything they requested. I brought extras of everything because not only was I an extra, but I didn't want to be unprepared and look like a slacker!

I took four pairs of shoes because I wasn't sure which ones they would like. They ended up choosing the black and grey pair on the right. I also took many slips and nylons because I had no idea what my costume would look like or what I would need. I ended up not reading "Blackmore" on set, but I've started it now! It's really good so far! :) (I didn't take the blue shower cap. I simply forgot to take it out of the picture!)

I got ready for bed super early so I could get my beauty sleep. Beauty sleep is a real thing, you know. Sleep is very important! Just as I was ready to get under the covers, I realized I hadn't tweezed my eyebrows and other hair on my face. Drat! Thankfully, I had enough time to do both and felt so much better when I finished. After all, nobody wants to be hairy on their first movie day! I was in bed by 10:05 p.m. and probably asleep within five minutes. Sleeping in sponge curlers isn't the most comfortable feeling, but I think it was easier than it could have been because I had the fashionable pink satin cap on my head. At least that's what I tell myself. ;)

I suddenly awoke at 4:07 on Saturday morning. I couldn't figure out why I was up before my alarm was supposed to go off at 5:00 a.m. Yet after laying in bed for nearly 30 minutes, I decided to get up and get ready. I used my new, blue, terry-cloth-lined shower cap in the shower. It did a great job of keeping my curlers dry. I was very happy that I applied my foundation correctly with a wedge sponge. You might laugh at that statement, but I was nervous to do it because I never wear foundation. I didn't want to look like a pasty clown! I was a tad worried my curlers wouldn't have dried, so I blow-dried them for a few minutes.

Here's me with only foundation/cover-up on:

Rise and shine!

Packed up and ready to go!

I gave Greg a kiss, ate a quick breakfast, got the rest of my stuff ready and hopped in the car. I was happy it was so dark outside because then no one could laugh at my sponge curlers. The drive was uneventful and I arrived safe and early! I think I was the third car there, which felt good to me. :)

When I began meeting people inside The Old Post Office in Ogden (click here to see beautiful pictures of T.O.P.O.), I was totally curious as to how the day would go. I tried my best to be helpful, remember people's names and follow instructions.

It was interesting to me that there were both established actors and total newbies like me. I don't know what the other cast and crew thought of me, but I'm sure it was pretty clear that I hadn't done a movie before—even though I had no shame in sharing that information. I hoped they wouldn't hold my inexperience against me. :)

We were directed into a suite of vacant office space as a staging area and chose a spot to put our belongings. Then it was time for me to go to the wardrobe department. I excitedly waited in line, wondering what they could possibly choose for me from such a small rack of clothes! What I didn't realize until I was given my costume, is that the measurements I had provided online were enough for them to choose a dress for me! I know, another blonde moment. When I was handed the dress, there was a cute tag pinned to the sleeve with my name, age, height and measurements. I took a picture of the tag up close, but I'll keep that one just for me. ;) The 1940s navy-blue dress was lovely, albeit static-y. It kept twisting around me throughout the entire day of filming, but as long as I was conscious of what it was doing, I was able to fix it before the next shoot. I was pleased when the head wardrobe lady (I don't know what her title is!) chose my pair of shoes that are easier to walk in! :)

I took this photo of "my" dress at the end of the day—in a different closet from where it started the day.

They had us paint our nails a bright color. I chose red. It was fun to have an excuse to paint my nails. :) I usually never paint my nails because it always chips after two days! I also took this photo because I liked the darling cuffs on the dress I wore. :)
P.S. My daughter said my hand looks like an old lady's hand. Gee, thanks a lot. ;)

There was a fair amount of downtime between getting our costumes ready and finishing our hair and make-up. The nice hair and make-up ladies had fun 1940s songs playing in the background, so it felt pretty authentic. As I waited for my turn, I imagined my lovely Grandma Ardis and Grandma Dawna in the prime of their lives. I wondered if what I was experiencing was anything like what they experienced in their lives. It was quite a fun moment for me that I'll never forget. I also greatly enjoyed talking with the other extras and cast members. It was fun hearing a smidgen of their life stories and getting to know them better.

*By the by, I know I have pictures of people on my blog that I'm not identifying. I feel okay doing it because they, like me, have chosen to be in a movie. We were all filmed and many photos were taken throughout the day. I'm guessing that photos of me will end up in other places online, and I'm okay with that—because, again, I agreed to be a part of a film that will be released to the public. :)

Now, I'd like to introduce you to 1940s Adrie!

See how the dress twists?

I straightened the dress in this one.

I think they did a great job of making me movie ready! I also appreciate the nice lady who took this picture for me with my phone. :)

We began the day by practicing our walks until the rest of the extras and cast were finished with make-up. We then gathered together as a group to listen to the writer/producer share her happy thoughts. Then we had an opening prayer to officially start our day. I truly love being around fellow Mormons! It's quite a treat after living in Texas where our numbers are smaller than they are in Utah. :)

It was very interesting to hear the writer/producer tell her story of how this lovely little short film came to be. Although she didn't share every detail, it was evident that this movie is very near and dear to her heart. And even though the extras were all there as volunteers, her sincere gratitude and happiness was enough payment for me. I truly felt so grateful to be there! :)

I was fascinated to learn about the movie (I didn't know anything about it until that very moment) and what it meant to her. It's all about listening to the Holy Ghost (i.e., The Spirit). My experience of actually even being chosen to be an extra in her movie was absolutely not lost on me! I totally get how wonderful it is that because I listened to the Holy Ghost (whispering to me to sign up for the LDS casting website), I was able to be part of a movie that is specifically focused on listening to The Spirit. Wow. Right?! :)

My heart swells when I really think of my actions. For if I had not listened, I would have totally missed out on a grand and wonderful experience that I'll always remember. :) Even if you only see the back of me walking down the hallway on the silver screen for a split second, it doesn't matter. It's simply wonderful that I was able to be a part of something spiritually uplifting...something that will live on forever! Or as long as YouTube is around! Ha ha.

So...back to filming. The other extra ladies and I walked and walked all day long. Okay, it was more like: walk down the hallway; walk over to the window; walk into the other hallway; walk around the corner; or stand and chat with each other. Then we would sit for a while, wait for our "action" cue, and start all over again. It was really fun hearing the clickity-clacking of our high heels. I felt so refined and 1940s proper! It was fun learning how movie scenes are set up, watching how the filming equipment is used/handled, and how the extras know when to start their parts. I probably asked too many questions (because it was all new to me, and very interesting), but hopefully I got the hang of it before I drove them all crazy. ;)

Below are a few pictures of my extra friends. I am frustrated with myself that I didn't take more pictures! Oh well, we live and learn. :)

This photo was sent to me by the lovely lady in the middle. Thank you!

This photo was sent to me by the lovely lady on the right. Thank you, too!

The writer/producer graciously had a room of delightful food set up for us to munch on. Lunch from Jimmy Johns was so good. I don't think I've ever loved a mayonnaise-slathered sandwich as much as I did then! That's code for: I don't usually eat mayo. It was definitely super yum!

There were several times throughout the day when I just wanted to start dancing down The Old Post Office's hallways! I did a little pas de bourrée here and a few tap-dancing moves there, but I restrained myself from fully taking off down the hall. I didn't want to be fired from a volunteer position! Ha ha. No really, I kept half-expecting all of those hatted 1940s men to majestically walk over to us demure women, hold out their hands and whisk us away into a Gene Kelly dance number! Oh, wouldn't that have been so marvelous?! Yes, my imagination is quite adept. :)

Here are some shots of the set:

I know you can't see this hallway very well. I just thought it was cool how the light is diffused by the panel.

I love this elevator! It reminds me of the scene in "Mixed Nuts" when Mrs. Mutchnik (Madelyn Kahn) is stuck in the elevator. See the video below for the funniness:

They brought in this light, poster and many other props for authenticity. I thought it was fabulous!

Right after the above shot, I decided to take a picture of myself in that bright, happy hallway! Contrary to how it appears, it was a bit chilly in the building. Thus, the sunlight shining through the windows was a warm benefit. :)

I thought this one was too serious...

...So I took another one! ;)

This was my favorite part of the building—I just love the wood and marble. It's so classic and architecturally interesting!

This was my last photo of the filming. I was a little tired at this point, but still having fun! :)

I ended up being chosen to stick around a little longer than some of the other extras because they had already had the experience of being in a movie before, and I think they were ready to go home. I was happy to stay or go—it didn't matter to me, but it was fun staying and seeing more of the movie-making process.

Around 5:30 p.m., the casting lady told us we were done for the day so we could go home. I changed back into my comfy-cozies, handed back my costume/earrings and began cleaning up my camp chairs. Then I said goodbye to as many of the cast and crew as were still there. They were all so nice to me—that was the overall feeling I had from everyone. Seriously, all day long, every member of the cast and crew I interacted with were just completely kind, positive and friendly. (Please don't misinterpret my words, it's not like I expected people to be rude or mean, it's just that I've never done a movie before, and I didn't know what to expect.) I had such a wonderful day because of their kindnesses! :)

As I walked outside to my car, I noted that just like when I arrived that morning, there was no sun. It was like a weird time warp! It was a surprisingly long day, even though it didn't feel that long. I finally realized how tired I really was while driving home. When I pulled my car into our driveway, I was shocked to see that had been gone for 11 hours and 45 minutes—and that didn't even include my morning preparation time!

The instant I walked in our back door, Greg came bounding up the stairs and excitedly said, "How was it?! I can't wait! Tell me all about it!!!" He cutely attacked me with hugs and kisses, then we went straight into our living room and talked on the couch for the next hour. He was hanging on my every word and cuddling me the whole time. As much as I felt special on set (I truly did!), Greg made me feel like I was the most important person on the entire planet! Oh, how my man melts my heart! :)

Here's what I looked like shortly after I walked in the door.

Can you say tired?! :)

My daughter loved my curls. :) I couldn't wait to wash all of the hairspray out of them! I think I took a shower for at least 20 felt so wonderful! :)

After this extra experience, I must state that I have so much more respect for the entire movie industry. (I was going to write out all of their titles, but that would have taken forever!) To see how much time was spent and the efforts that were made to make just a short film...well, it boggles my mind! I fully enjoyed my day, but I was very tired at the end. I can't imagine spending 12+ hours every day for months on end to make a full-length movie. All I can say is, "WOW. It's no wonder they get paid the big bucks!" I'm truly grateful for my movie-making experience, I loved all of it!

Lastly, I'm super happy my children and husband were able to see me go through this process of applying for, being chosen, and volunteering in a movie. I wanted them to see that as much as I love being a wife and a stay-at-home mom, I have additional and valuable talents that people actually want me to share with them! ;) Thankfully, my darling little family has always appreciated me, but there was a very different level of appreciation after my movie-making experience! And might I add that Greg was quite enamored with his actress-wife! Ha ha. It was completely awesome! :)

All of that said, my favorite job—hands down—is taking care of my family. There is nothing on this earth that compares to the joy of being with the family that Greg and I have lovingly created together! :)


  1. What a neat experience! I totally bet you get called back for more.


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