Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Little Bit Famous

Yesterday Thomas and I participated in one of our most exciting Atlanta adventures so far--being extras in a movie! Because of confidentiality agreements, we can't give too many details...but I can tell you about our experience as a whole. I will say, because I know you're curious, that the movie isn't a huge budget film and hasn't been highly publicized. We didn't recognize the actors or even know the premise of the film, but it was still fun and we get paid. We'll let you know where to look for us as soon as we know:]

We had to get to the set at 8:30 a.m. and it was very very emphasized that we needed to be early (or at the very least on time). I had prepared during the days before, and read up what extras should/shouldn't do, etc. We were asked to bring 5 outfit options each with a late summer, early fall vibe but that didn't include colors that were super bright, red, white, blue, black, or purple. We left our house an hour and a half early, which put us getting up at around 5:45. Since I haven't had a job to get up for, I've been sleeping in a bit (ok, a lot) and 5:45 felt really early to me. It didn't help that I couldn't sleep the night before, and I ended up staying up til 2:30. Oops! We did get up on time, got ready, and I happened to have an awesome hair day. Sometimes you get lucky. We made it out of the house on time and headed on our way.

On the way to set, I reread the e-mail telling us where to go for the millionth time and worried that it wasn't very clear. Again, I can't say where we were, but it was at a location roughly 30 minutes away (without rush hour traffic) from our house. I was super anxious and sick feeling; worried about our clothes, being on time, and accidentally doing something wrong that would ruin the movie. Obviously dumb, but everyone knows I worry about things--especially if they're out of my control. We got to the location about 45 minutes early, but weren't sure where to park. The e-mail didn't specify a parking location, it just said "where directed." After driving around for a while, we noticed what looked like a roped off area where we assumed the set would be, but got no direction. We looked for close parking spots, but ended up having to park in a garage around a 10 minute walk from the set. 

We parked, got our bags of clothes, and started walking. Once we got there, we were told that extras were supposed to park at a location called 'base camp' where trailers and such are parked. We were given terrible unclear directions on to how to get there, and sent back to our car. By this point, I was VERY concerned that we were going to be late. I hate being late, and the e-mail I had gotten made a huuuge deal about being early, so there was a mild panic (read: I was completely freaking out) about getting to the location on time. We practically ran back to the car and somehow managed to find our way to base camp by following small yellow signs that we hadn't spotted before. To be fair, these signs said nothing about a movie or extras, but now we know that yellow signs are to be followed.

I was relieved that everyone we met was super nice. We were even 5 minutes early! The wardrobe people said we had "great options" and chose three outfits each that they thought worked best. Then we jumped in a van and headed back to the actual filming location. Thomas and I were both in a couple of scenes (nothing big, we were just somewhere in the background) and then hung out watching the production process.

After the initial scenes we filmed, we were taken to change for our next scene and then to a room called 'extras holding' where extras wait until they're needed. The room was big, and it was also freeeezing cold. This also happened to be where lunch was served to the crew. We waited there for around 5 hours total, reading, sleeping (Thomas), talking, and snacking. We had read that being an extra involved a lot of waiting, but we did get pretty bored and sleepy sitting there in that cold room for that long.

After lunch, we continued to wait around for a bit until they needed us again. We finally headed back to set and filmed there for around 3 hours. Thomas and I got to be a couple in the background, which was nice because it meant we at least had each other to talk to while we waited (before we had been split up, and funnily enough they actually put him with another girl for a scene). We walked back and forth holding hands as background people for a solid 2.5 hours. It was fun and interesting, but towards the end we started to get really tired. Our walk distance was pretty lengthy, and my shoes that started off being comfortable became pretty uncomfortable after 20-25 takes from different angles. All and all we had a great time though! In fact, we're going back Friday to film again because it pays pretty well.

We finally wrapped (aka finished) around 7:10. We took a van back to base camp and headed home. On the way, we splurged and picked up a pizza from our favorite, Mellow Mushroom.

When it comes to being an extra, there is a lot of hurry up and wait and it's a long (10-12 hour) day. We had been told that and were expecting it, but we also don't want to break into the movie business, so it was kind of a one time (or two time) thing that we did just for fun. It's not necessarily something I'd want to deal with regularly, but it was fun to see for a while.

Sorry I don't have any pictures! We were told not to take photos of anything at all or we could be sued, so I wasn't going to take that chance. Someday we'll be able to give you more info on what we did where! We're pretty sure there were some fairly close up shots with us in them, so maybe someday you'll see us in a movie!

In other news, last weekend we began our newest pet training feat: teaching Charlotte to use the toilet instead of a litter box. I know some of you (all of you?) will think we're crazy, but I read an article about the idea and then watched YouTube videos of countless cats actually using the toilet, and I started to feel like it was possible. This isn't the first crazy animal related thing I've done, and I'm sure it won't be the last! Thomas is a litter box hater, so he of course went along with my plan willingly. 

The process we're using is step by step and takes anywhere from 2-8 weeks, depending on how willing your cat is to try new things. So far we haven't had any trouble, but we're just in the first stage of raising the box. I never really thought I'd be showing you pictures of my litter box or bathroom, but alas, here they are together:

One of the most important aspects of the training, making it a habit to leave the lid up and seat down. I made this sign because we have a habit of putting the lid down. It will also be here for guests if our training is successful.

Sunday, Day 1: Move the box to the bathroom.

Monday, Day 2: Put something steady (a small box) under the box to gradually begin raising it.

Today, Day 3: Put a taller box under the litter box to raise it even higher. Ultimately the bottom of the litter box will be level with the toilet seat.

The basic premise is that you start by moving the box into the bathroom, raise it a few inches every few days (making sure that your cat has used it normally in between moves) until the bottom of the box is toilet bowl height, and ultimately remove the box all together. We look forward to that step because having a big litter box in our tiny bathroom is sort of style cramping, but if it ultimately saves us the trouble and money of cleaning out a litter box, it would all be worth it! It's obviously more in depth than I described, but that's the basic idea. If you want to know more about our training tactics, read this article.

I know you're wondering if we're going to try to teach Charlotte how to flush (you're probably not really wondering). We've read controversial opinions on that subject--it can be done using a weight on the flush handle that you train the cat to pull down--but we decided against it since lots of cats never associate the flushing with using the restroom and instead just do it all the time to be funny. Sassy cats!

We'll see how the toilet training works out. Rest assured, I'll keep you informed every step of the way. For you doubters out there, a woman we met yesterday trained her cat to use the toilet, and there is video proof! It is possible, and hopefully it works for us.

Here's a video of Charlotte investigating a disturbance in the Xbox. Disclaimer, this is sort of long and has bad lighting. MY BAD.

-T, K, J, & C

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