OK, I was wrong.
I thought that the Common Non-Union Background was the lowest form of life in Hollywood. But a new, and even more lowly species has been spotted.
I refer to the Promo Background.
Promo extras work, not for money, but for the privilege of maybe getting to see a celebrity and a bit of cheap promotional litter (hence “promo”). The State of California views them as “volunteer labor” and will not let the production companies use them for more than eight hours a day. The Union no doubt has restrictions on how many may be used in a production compared to paid performers.
They were used in a production that needed (or wanted) to have a large auditorium completely filled for just a few shots. It is the first time I have worked alongside unpaid volunteers. Needless to say, all we paid (albeit poorly) performers felt rather threatened by these fan boys and girls. After all, were it not for them, more of our colleagues might have been hired. Not to mention that they were rude, not knowing or not caring about on-set courtesies like not moving another extra’s luggage.
Bleah. Oh well, this was the first such incident in six months working. I can hope that it’s a rare occurrence.