The Autobots and Decepticons are not just toys for kids, they are a multi-million dollar CG Nation for fans of Transformers around the world!
Saturday was Milwaukee's own open call (cattle call -as they are called) to be an extra in Transformers 3 the movie. Transformers 3 will be filming at the Milwaukee Art Museum for two days in July and they were looking for 100 some odd extras to be trendy business executives for the film which will be released a year later in July 2011.
Thousands of people from Milwaukee, Chicago, Minneapolis, and surrounding other states showed up to wait in line for hours in 90 degree piercing sun. Domino's pizza sold pizzas to people waiting in line, smart locals carried bags of water bottles to sell to parched hopefuls. Everyone desiring that 15 seconds of fame as a background artist in the movie. I went, and I waited....yes, I waited in line for 5.5 hours with my trusty umbrella for shade, company and fellow auditioner John, and a Nalgene of ice water as we slowly creept (me barefoot-you try wearing 4" heals for 6 hrs without a place to sit) up 4 full city blocks. All towards that sacred moment in front of casting.
That moment...yeah...well it consisted of filling out a sheet of paper with your statistics (Ht, Wt, Age, measurements) and taking a snap shot with another person. You were in and out of the actual casting within 15 seconds.
Truth be told, this is the way most if not all open calls I've ever been to go and if you don't like that, don't even kid yourself that you'd have fun on set. On set as an extra, you hurry up and wait the whole day. You're not allowed to take pictures with any famous actors or directors and most often are corralled away from them anyway. You repeat the same walking/laughing/clapping/screaming/standing/sitting/looking pattern over and over for 8-14 hours. And NO you are NOT allowed to have your cell phone with you to text, sneak shots, or do email while on set. You simply stand and wait....just like you did to get the Extra role in the first place. There are no perks (unless you're a professional actor hoping to get your SAG card), and you're definitely NOT treated like a celebrity. Sounds boring right? Honestly, I can't lie--I still love it! I love everything about being on a set, camera, lights, ACTION! There is a thrill for me doing work, that never feels like work.
So why not sit in line for nearly 6 hours? Some may call it crazy...I'm a bit demented I guess, because I thought it was fun. We chatted with other people around us, and played trivia on our iPhones. I will say this though, there were many people there talking about how this could be their moment of fame, they might get paid a lot of money to become rich and maybe even become the next Shia Labeouf. I hate to break it to you, but our biggest hope if you are cast as an extra, is that the scene makes it on screen..and if it does, the only transformer character role we'll get is, "Extra-bot".
The moral of the story is this: Don't be Decipti"Conned". If you're doing something to be "famous" or in hopes of getting "discovered", most often, you're there for the wrong reasons in my opinion. Life, TV, the Movies, they are all about the experience, and having fun doing something new and exciting. So enjoy the loooonnnngggg wait...it's worth it if you love what you're doing!
And maybe,...just maybe, you'll be the one in a million who can say they've been in a blockbuster movie. Good luck to the thousands who auditioned!