Saturday, March 8, 2008

My Casting Call Experience

My experience with the Public Enemies casting call was . . . how shall I say . . . .underwhelming.

BUT - I'll manage to make it as exciting as possible, but only if I can figure out how to make standing in line entertaining.
I woke up at 6:30, two hours before I had planned but you know how it is YOU DON'T WANT TO MISS THAT ALARM!!

I got ready, got my photo, made sure my camera had extra bytes in the flash card, pen works, clip board ready, hair poofy. I'm OFF.

It's a one hour drive to Oshkosh and it's a beautiful day inside the car. Four degree's outside though. It's an easy drive and I make the final turn and see the school where everybody is parking. As I turn into the lot flashing lights catch my eye and I see hundreds of people (maybe 50) walking down the side of the street towards police cars that are parked on the edge of the horizon.

As I exit my nice warm and cozy car I'm joined by other, mostly 20-somethings, 30's garbed walkers making the trek to some point yet unseen just over the hill, we hope.

Oddly, if you have lived in Wisconsin this winter the temperature is not so bad. In fact even though it is seven degrees I feel no need to wear gloves or a hat. I do realize immediately that my black dress shoes are not the most comfy walking and I make a mental note not to go hiking in dress shoes.

Finally I see our destination. I'm one half hour before it's all suppose to happen. As I approach the front door (actually the opposite side of which EVERYONE had to walk) I notice sleeping bags near the front door. (more on those later).

A bunch of us enter the school and am told pick a line and we walk half way down the hallway and come to a stop.

And it begins. The photo below is from halfway down the line. I think the woman in the purple dress is not appreciating me taking a photo LOL

We stand there for about one half an hour, talking a little but most people seem shy. I mention this blog and it's like I'm talking alien language as many do not know what a BLOG is and I have to explain.

I see most around me are 20 something people. There are mothers with kids and right next to me is a mother with her 18 year old actor son who I'm told flies all over and has an agent. She preens and plays with his hair making him look perfect (in her eyes). Many are wearing complete "costumes" from gangsta outfits with spats. (not needed and over done).

The few men MY age all have beards and short to balding hair and 90% are wearing hats so you can not see their hair ANYWAY. I look at the line which now stretches to the outside of the building.

Finally we see activity and we're told to enter the BIG room.

This is the gymnasium with yellow tape and we wind around and fill up the room. Counting heads I figure 50 people per row and 10 rows. On the other side of the gym is a partition which is our ultimate goal.

And we wait and stand and wait. We're handed application to fill out.

Can you dance to 1930's music? Could you learn the two-step in a short time and do it well? Do you own any pets and if so what kind? Do you own a bicycle? Are you available from for the entire shoot from March to June? Are you available for night shoots which starts late afternoon and runs to sunrise for two nights and two nights before the shoot? What size clothes to you wear? and other such questions.

Then they staple your photo to the app and you wait and stand and wait and stand and shuffle for about one and a half hours. We are in training for being an extra.

I look at all the people. About 500 in the gym, another 250 I figure on the other side of the partition and probably another 500 in the hallway and it is only 11:00.

I'm told there were people in line at 6 :00 in the morning. hmmm Does not really make sense to me but . . . . . it's THEIR toes and fingers!!

The woman next to me is getting nervous and keeps rolling unseen lint off her dress and saying she is prone to anxiety attacks (not something you should put on your app as a special talent) and the kid on the other side is getting his hair tweak for the twentieth time.

Demographics? I say 80% are 28 an younger. Another 15% are 30 to 45. And 5% are in their 50s and less then 1% are in their 60s.

I'm feeling guardedly happy as MY group is small AND the males did not do their homework. I have hair, clean shaven face (a COLD clean face, it's been a number of years since that part of my head has felt air!). However I also realize I am one of 30,000 wanting to NOT be seen in a movie. Remember, extras are like office furniture if they are never seen, the shot works perfectly.

The people in MY demographic all look like aging hippies and if they do have hair it in a pony tail pulled back but with a hat to hide it. WHY WHY!!

I don't know what Micheal Mann is looking for so I could be totally wrong. Just saying what I feel.

Finally a few hundred of us are ushered into THE ROOM. There we meet Joan(sp?) and Clair(sp?) who are running the operation.

Joan says her little speech that is repeated over and over and Clair says it is FREAKING cold in Wisconsin.

The speech has words like "boredom is what being an extra is all about".

They NEED men with hair. Male hair is on top of the head and short on the sides. Woman hair is shoulder length and shorter. If you are picked you will HAVE to allow your hair to be cut. Many long hair woman I can see are cringing.

She says we can be called tomorrow or any day up into June.

Then she scampers off to tend to more matters and we're instructed to form four lines for photos.

Pretty simple stuff. Step forward, hand your app and photo to a girl who writes down your name. The she writes a number on a piece of paper (I was 1038) and stand next to the wall for a mug shot - DON'T smile. Click. Move along, thank you! There were no second shots as I have heard from other calls.

Then it's the walk back to the car and the drive home.
I'm going for a walk about with the camera today. I have heard Tuesday they are closing Columbus to traffic instead of Monday.

I was also told the actual scene will take about 20 minutes to shoot, then an hour and a half to review what was shot and then do it all over again if needed, that's it.

Then that's it! Done for the time being.



  1. Rod, we "breezed" into the gym at around 3, and left at 4:30. Except for the number of people in line at that point, our experience was exactly the same. Your ratio estimates are right on-- I was musing with my husband that pretty much any male there over 40 that did NOT look like they were dressed for a remake of a 70s stoner comedy (or who knows, those guys could have been accompanying extra hopefuls like we were!) was gold. I actually enjoyed the time in line, people-watching-- some "great faces", as Philo Casting would say, really stand out! And that has not a thing to do with conventional standards of magazine-ad beauty.

    We also were tickled by some of the conversations nearby. One woman ahead of us, who was perhaps stretching the size requirement slightly, loved to talk about her showbiz experience in a rather odd category which I won't detail in case she ends up linking here. But at one point, she lost patience and her temper-- briefly, but it made those around her uncomfortable. The kid behind us and his older female escort were droll and hilarious. I got a kick out of telling people that, despite our garb, we were really just on our way to a wedding! The kid had her photo taken, and that was it. Great stories to tell at the wedding reception-- which we were early for!

  2. Hey Grinder!!
    First off I am jealous you all were able to wait INSIDE!! I went to the Milwaukee one and froze for almost 2 hours outside! : )
    Also, I am in my late 20's which yea most of the people that came were in this age group! : (

    Also, you have me curious now, the card they gave us to fill out, did not ask:
    Can you dance to 1930's music?

    Could you learn the two-step in a short time and do it well?

    Are you available from for the entire shoot from March to June?

    Are you available for night shoots which starts late afternoon and runs to sunrise for two nights and two nights before the shoot?

    None of those questions were on my card!! The pet and bike question was!
    Now I am soo scared that I missed all those questions! That cant be possible can it!?

    But anyway, great job with the blog..I stop by everyday! (and at IMDB... guess you could say I am obbsessed : )

  3. To both anonymouses'ss

    Anonymous #1

    I was thinking about going later just for the reason you mentioned - but . . . .I would be waiting around all day so I decided to just go!

    Anonymous #2 - you went to the Milwaukee one and maybe had different questions? I'm thinking there will be some dance scene in Oshkosh.

    I actually enjoyed the lines and people and thought the time went fast INSIDE!!

    I read the Milwaukee call was HELL (in a cold way).

  4. Grinder (poster #2..sgorich from imdb)

    Yea i realized after I typed that they they are probably doing different scenecs..duh to me!!
    I should have went to the Oshkosh one! That one sounds better. Plus for Milwaukee its probably just a one day scene in a bank..They probably only need 10 people for that one!! I really messed this up for myself! Good luck to you!

  5. It's only a 1 day scene in Columbus also - my 1st choice.

    In Columbus the 2nd part of the bank robbery but from the outside - and snowing from what I understand

    On a side note - watched 3:10 to Yuma - funny last scene.

    They had 2 feet of snow the night before the shoot - NOT what they wanted. The trucked in tons of dirt to put OVER the snow!

  6. Good luck Rod (and all the others who are yearning to "not be seen")!

    I am looking forward to you posting the pictures form your downtown walk. I drive through it every day, but I know I miss a million and one details because I don't get out of my car.

  7. Awesome pics--thanks for keeping us updated!

  8. Good luck to all of you! I decided not to audition, but I did go and interview some people for Depp Impact.....I would rather be on the side lines and *hopefully* watch the movie being made than sit in a holding room for 12 or more hours...hee hee

  9. I traveled down to the one in chicago. I waited for about 15 min and when doing so filled out my app and then stapled my picture that was freshly taken that morning. Walked in with an group. Joan then spoked to us about what they were looking for and what the job entailed. They had us divied in to the four groups and get the number and the snap shot. The weird thing was that when I was leaving they pulled me another guy and asked to for another picture. Then asked if I would die my hair. I said sure....Did this happen to anyone else????

  10. I went to the Oshkosh one as well...Actually, from Milwaukee but it was bitterly cold and I was not standing outside after work only to be told they were closing down.

    hmm...finding out there were different questions makes me wonder...I would rather do the Milwaukee shoot anyways

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