Paranormal Activity 4

This was an interesting call. The call time was for 4:30 PM, very late. I was number 131 of 300 women to arrive a local high school from which I was bussed to the residential neighborhood location. Background holding was in a massive tent in someone’s backyard; the set proper was across the street in another backyard.

All background were asked to wear solid black attire, also a very unusual request. Generally, background are asked to wear what I think of as “mud colors”; no black, white, red, or very bright colors that might distort on-camera. Not knowing what to expect, I packed every stitch of black I owned, which turned out to be a wise decision.

We went to set for rehearsal before sunset, where I learned that actual shooting would be done after dark with a hand-held infrared camera. Rehearsal before dark was essential, since we would have no lights save moonlight for the actual shoot.

Part of the footage was shot with an actor-held camera! I had never before seen the technique. As with many shoots with a large number of extras, it went long hours. My experience is also that hand-held shoots tend to go long, as well; it seems to be difficult to predict in advance exactly how footage will look, and on-set experimentation is needed. It was after 2AM before I was released from set.

Memorable incidents: I was quite a popular person. Few other background had any extra clothing, and late nights in the inland suburbs of Los Angeles can get cold, even in August. I wore my own extra blazer, and two other women took turns borrowing my sweater.

When we were released from set, one woman was so anxious to have her voucher (time card) signed and get home that she tripped on a hole in the lawn in the dark and briefly knocked herself out cold.

Despite being repeatedly warned, my fellow actors would not shut up. Considering the fact that it was the wee hours of the morning in a residential area, and there were 300 of us, it was not an unreasonable request. Nonetheless, we were finally yelled at by production, always an unpleasant experience. Me, I was reading an ebook on my iPad and being mouselike.

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