Night of the Zombie Casting Director

This was a quite negative experience, so I am changing names and dates to protect the guilty.  You need not try to figure out which production this was, as I will scrub it thoroughly for identifying detail.

9:57 PM 10/28/12 – A call for a booking with car. This is actually a good gig, as I will be paid a nominal rent for the car in addition to my usual day rate. The call came in 3 minutes before my cutoff time, to work the next day. (after 10 pm I have asked my agents not to call me for bookings. If a job arrives after 10pm, well, I don’t want to work that badly. Even if I do.) No tape recorded details yet — the film is still shooting. Call back after 11 pm.

11:25 PM 10/28/12 – Still no details. I dare not go to sleep until I know my call time and the location.

11:45 PM 10/28/12 – Still no details. This is ridiculous. I am stuck. If I back out, it will be a “cancellation” and my agents will put me on probation. Grrr. I decide to set an alarm for 12:45 AM so I can get a little rest.

12:45 AM 10/29/12 – Still no details. Set alarm for 1:45 AM.

1:45 AM \
2:45 AM. |
3:45 AM. | Rinse and repeat.
4:45 AM /

5:45 AM 10/29/12 – OMG. I am due at Hellandgone Airport at 7 AM. This is an hour or more from my home in the San Fernando Valley, and I must dress, put on makeup, and put together wardrobe options.

6:15 AM. With the help of my husband, I am in my car and driving like a maniac. Thank God, no cops.
7:10 AM. On set. Am not tagged as late because no one is yet being checked in.  Most unusual; generally the PA (production assistant) is checking in extras on the dot so that no time is lost.
8:36 AM. Checked in, through wardrobe and makeup check. Nearly a hundred extras on this call, and most are late due to inadequate notification.  Production changes the scene shooting order.  Not clear if this due to extras’ lateness or other causes.

This, I think, is the time to explain the peculiar organization of the background industry. I have agent(s), although for background work they are called “calling services”. They find work for me with casting agencies. The casting agencies, in turn are hired by production companies to provide background actors. After much debate, the guilt for eighty-plus extras not being notified until 5 AM has been traced to the casting agency.

I am going to inform my agents that I do not want to work with this casting agency. Ever.

9:58 AM. Sitting in my car. My job is to drive around the airport on cue, making a non-busy airport look busy. I have already done one lap. I call my agents and make sure that Clueless Casting Agency will never work in my town again.

4:00 PM. We break for lunch.  This is the first meal since 7:30 AM.  The crew are suffering as much as the extras.  No wonder Clueless Casting Agency was hired; the management of this production is just generally disorganized, so how would they notice? I want to make clear that there was no rudeness shown by the crew; but lack of communication is rampant on this set. No one knows what is happening next.

8:00 PM.  I am sitting in my car by the curb, waiting to be called up to drive, when I notice that the outdoor lights are being taken down.  Yes, we eight in cars had not been told that production was wrapped (ended) for the day.  I had to run down to the last few crew persons striking set, to get official word sent to us (extras cannot leave the set until released, at least not if they would like to be paid.)

8:30 PM.  I shake the dust of this production off my boots.  Will keep a watch on the main director; may choose not to work for him again, either.

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