OlgaDavis30: Being an Extra on NBC's Chicago Fire

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Being an Extra on NBC's Chicago Fire


This past Tuesday I was able to get something off my bucket list. I was finally chosen to be an extra on one of my favorite shows, NBC's Chicago Fire.

I really wasn’t sure what to expect other than what I was told my role would be. Being an extra isn’t just fun and games, it really is work. But I’d do it all again in a heartbeat!  I signed up because I thought it would be a fun experience to have under my belt. And it really was fascinating to see what really goes into making an episode. In my case it was one scene of an episode. I’m not allowed to say much about the episode until after it airs, which makes sense, no spoilers for the audience. I can say that what I thought was going to be an 8 hour day turned into a 12 hour day for me. The other extras were there longer. But on the plus side we do get paid!

I wouldn’t have minded staying longer except I ran into a slight problem. I’m a mother of a four month old, and am currently breastfeeding. I brought my pump to the set, but with all the confusion of trying to get to where I was supposed to be, I left it in my car, big oops. I don’t know why I thought I would be able to go back. So I spent a very, very long day without pumping until I was able to get to my car. I didn’t want to complain, but when I finally felt like I was going to explode I had to ask the girl in charge of us if they really needed me to stay longer and explained the situation. I know what I signed up for, and was ready to stay committed if I needed to (but was desperately hoping to be sent home). Thankfully she came back a while later and was able to release me. I wish I could have stayed longer, as the actors were really nice, some waved back to us or nodded their heads. I was sure afterwards if they weren’t in a hurry to leave the set they would have taken a few pictures with us.

We were not allowed to take photos or approach the actors while we are extras. I know most casting companies will blacklist you if don’t follow their rules. I know they do this in order to keep the episodes under wraps.

My 12 hour day did include a nice breakfast and lunch. They have a pretty nice spread for the crew. Lunch was a BBQ theme and it was delicious. The main actors had to eat while on set, in between takes, but we were finally given the opportunity to leave for a bit to sit and eat. It was also nice to meet other people who were just trying to experience the whole "being an extra" thing. Many of them had already done this show or one of the many other shows filmed in Chicago.

I should be happy they wanted our group there that long, as every frame that they have us in means a chance to actually make the cut and get in on the episode. The crew was super nice and kept moving us around saying that it would be a better shot where the camera can see our group. I was really surprised at how many times we had to each take. I even picked up some lingo while I was there: reset, rolling, picture. But by the end of one of the hottest days of the year, we were all exhausted and ready to be done.

They ran their lines, and some of them would forget them, and they would have to redo them, some would get more upset than others, but they were good and it did not happen often.  Their stand-ins and doubles looked just like them. It was pretty cool to see that their profiles were such a great match to the actors.

The best part was being so close to the actors…especially Taylor Kinney. Yes, he is even better looking in person. He has one line that he says to us, and well I guess he’s such a good actor that every time he said the line I felt like he was being very serious and I better listen. I did notice one thing though, and well can’t mention it just yet, but after the episode airs I’ll see if I was right.  There is also new eye candy this coming season (Brian White and Steven R McQueen). So be on the look out for maybe spotting me in Season 4, Episode 4 of Chicago Fire. Crossing my fingers! (And also crossing my fingers I can do it again in the future and that leaving early didn’t affect my chances with the casting company).

@Steven_R_McQueen Picture from Instagram the day we were shooting.

Doing the math, at least for me, it was like a 14 hour day equals about a 10 minute scene, and you might see my group of extras for about 8 seconds!  So one show off my list, 3 more to go! There are many shows filming in Chicago, and many casting companies that post on Facebook. So check them out. For Chicago Fire you can visit Chicago Fire Extras.

On a side note. I at one point had thought about signing up Maddie for an extra role. And even though there are different laws for kids, I don't think I would ever sign her up for this unless she actually asked me to do it. Six hours is definitely a long day for a child.

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