Thursday, September 22, 2005

15 Minutes of Fame in 15 Second Increments

10 years ago, I answered a call for extras when I was visiting Hollywood, California. On this hot June day, they told me to bring a heavy coat; I'd get more details later...

When I arrived at Griffith Park, I found myself among 100 or so extras simulating a New York Marathon audience for an upcoming episode of Seinfeld. For 5 hours we were asked to stand around in heavy coats (The real marathon takes place in November) waiting on different camera setups in order to film crowd cheering scenes. In return they provided us with all the free sandwiches we could eat. Even though the cast members weren't there most of the day, we happily complied for a chance to be on Seinfeld.

Most of the day, the director had extras line up along the curb and cheer while marathon runners passed by.

Top view diagram of most shots

I was filmed in four different shots, usually pretty close to the front (My festival concert seating skills at work). In one shot I was standing next to Jerry Seinfeld for 20 minutes, although he didn't talk to the extras. My dad was even selected for a part with a costume (security guard). The cast members kept leaving to go stand under a large fan, while the rest of us baked in the sun.

At 2pm, the sandwich truck stopped serving food signaling that it was time to go. A production member gave us a phone number we could call to find out when the episode would appear. With four shots of me and one for my dad we were pretty excited. We told everyone to tune in when the episode titled, "The Hot Tub" finally aired on October 19, 1995. (This would be the episode during season 7 immediately preceding the famous "soupnazi" episode.)

Knowing nothing about TV at the time, I was really surprised to find out that the scene we filmed for 5 hours was a throw away joke before the end credits. :-P I had imagined that the entire plot hinged on my dramatic scenes of marathon watching! I was further disappointed to find out that I wasn't even visible on most televisions!

Standard Television View

Widescreen Television View, I think Kramer is looking at me.

Upon further review of the VCR tape, we were able to find one other shot that we were included in:

Why am I the only one looking at the camera?! Now I remember that I was looking directly at the camera on every shot! They didn't tell us not to! (I did wonder why everyone was looking off at nothing...) The editors probably had to work hard to find shots where I wasn't standing in the front row smiling directly at the camera. :-D

So that's it. I wish that I'd been on a show that I actually watched, but I can't complain about being on the greatest show of all time. It was different than I had expected, but I had fun, and I know that twice a year on syndicated television my goofy face is staring directly at the home viewer for a couple seconds.


Daniel said...

That must have been pretty fun regardless!

(verification: iozabtv - sounds like a pill brand for upset stomachs)

Pecadillo said...

That's awesome, that episode was just on the other day.

Scott said...

That's so cool.