Memories of extra work…

Myself and Lennie got the job doing extra work on the local set.
It was a dirty evening.
Icy rain.
Bruised winter twilight.
It was a big production. (Someone said €1 million euro an hour it cost to film.)

So they didn’t want any messing.
They needed people that knew what they were doing, had experience, all that.
We were just the lads.
Arrived into a famished warehouse around six o’clock and there was a woman in a man’s jeans wearing a headset and telling everyone what to do.
She had a belt full of technology and radio equipment that squawked and lit up every so often, and then she’d pass on whatever messages had come from above.
It was a crime film and this was a crime scene so they needed two fellas to walk around looking like they were on a CSI sorta job.
The main actress had been playing dead for the last three hours.
She was lying down on the floor of the warehouse waiting for some freak to come and do something to her. Who knew what.

She was at the stage now where she might start complaining.
Calling in caveats in her contract. Like: ‘No one said anythin about riskin pneumonia.’
Worse still, the electricians had all checked their bank accounts and their wages hadn’t come in so they were threatening to leave the set unless something was done.
All in all there was a lot of pressure to get things right to keep the stress levels down.
First thing we were told to do was put on forensic outfits.
The full plastic covers with the face mask and the gloves and hood and all. You could only see our eyes.
The rest of us was white.
The one with the belt came along. We’ll call her Deirdre. She looked us up and down, seemed to like what she saw and then spoke into her radio with: ‘Extras ready.’

Then she turned to us and said: ‘Ok, lads. I need you to walk to the van outside, pick up the steel case just inside the door and walk back here. Do you think you can handle that?’
We both nodded.
She went on: ‘Be careful just outside the door. There’s a huge puddle and I DON’T want you to step in it. If you do, there’ll be a big splash and it’ll pull focus and ruin the shot, ok?’
Yeah, we said.
‘Are you sure?’
We nodded again. Upset at her lack of faith.
Someone shouted: Action and we got the nod to go.

We walked out the door and first thing I did was stand straight into the big puddle.
It was like a dirty lake and it made pure shite of my white outfit.
There was brown spots all up my legs and it made a sound like a car falling into an ocean.

They kept rolling so I thought it might be ok.

We got to the van where we were supposed to get the case but we couldn’t stop laughing and we forgot it and walked back.
Your one was delighted. We know this because she said: ‘That was awful. You ruined the shot. WHERE’S THE CASE?!’
‘Sorry.’ Said Lennie. ‘I’ll get it next time.’
Someone in the back shouted RESET!
‘Ok.’ She said. ‘This time. I want you to AVOID the puddle. Walk to the van, but we’re NOT bringing back the CASE now. There’s a continuity issue so NO CASE. DON’T BRING IT BACK.Ok….????’
I nodded and said: ‘Don’t bring the case back. Don’t stand in the puddle. Just walk out. And come back.’
‘Yesssss…’ She said and walked off and when I looked around I saw Lennie was talking shite to PJ and he hadn’t heard her.
There was no time to tell him cos someone shouted: Action!

And we had to go again.
Out we went.
Dodged the puddle.
Got to the van.
Lennie saw the case and picked it up all proud of himself
I told him we’re not supposed to bring it.
Who says?! He said.
Your one, I said.
Fuck that, he said. She told us to bring it.
Right so, I said. Belt away and see what she says.
I fuckin will, he says. And he brought it with him.
We got back.

Deirdre was livid. ‘Why’re you holding the case?!!’ She said to Lennie.
‘Cos you to told us ta.’ He said, truly hurt.

She didn’t go there.
Just grabbed it off him and hid it under a load of cardboard boxes.

‘Sure no one knows what’s goin on around here.’ Said Lennie.

It was getting awful late now.

The whole thing had a sense of disaster.

Everyone seemed to think it would be ok if the CSI clowns stopped fucking everything up.

I think that meant me an Lennie.

Anyway, someone shouted RESET! Again.
We had it nailed now. We were sure.
We got the nod to go to the van and we took off.
Avoided the puddle.
Got there.
Looked into the black space between the doors for a few seconds, then walked back like real experts.
Everything was going perfect.
It was like the WHOLE SET was watching a last minute basketball drift towards the net and we’d all win the championship and the bitterness would be forgotten if this one last attempt could go our way.
Except now it was pure dark except there was a big square light on the ground inside the door to illuminate the dead girl.
And when I walked in I tripped over it and there was a big clatter and a bang and a dodgy sizzle of wires somewhere. People yelped and scattered and looked around the walls for fire extinguishers should the need arise.
I tried to keep going.
Like it didn’t happen.
Or was all part of the scene.
But Deirdre was having none of it. She’d have been happier if we’d both been electrocuted.

In the end she stuck us in a corner out of sight where the camera could barely see our elbows and our new role was to just look through old boxes of junk (Cheap CD’s and Christmas Lights.) that were supposed to be forensic materials and equipment that would help solve the murder of the frozen dead girl on the ground.Christ, I was thinking, she might actually be dead at this stage.

I looked back but Deirdre gave me a stern signal with her finger to turn round then someone in the back shouted: ACTION!

2 thoughts on “Memories of extra work…”

  1. Jaysus Mick I remember that gig, it was even worse than you describe if that’s possible. Do ya remember the gale blowin that whipped a sheet of currugated roofing up knockin’ a spotlight over causin’ god knows how much damage and threatinin’ to decapitate a couple of the tech guys! and it was bloody freezin standin around waitin for them to finish the feckin forensics scene! Ah the glamour of the movie business. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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