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My Ongoing Background Artist Experience

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MoonKnight1
Sunday, March 05, 2017 9:53:18 AM
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bluedevil2002 wrote:
MoonKnight1 wrote:
Last week I went to Olde Towne Petersburg


Have you been there the same time Mercy Street was filming? If so, did you go find Josh Radnor and play "Have you met Ted?"

I have not. Laughing

Actually a lot of the same people work on both shows, Extras and Crew, and they share some of the sets and sound stages so they don't film concurrently. I keep trying to get in that show but they apparently have higher standards than Turn and have never cast me. Broken Heart

Had a good time Friday, everything has come full circle. The very first day I worked on Turn I was chucking cabbage at Guy Fawkes. The other day I was back at it again but this time I was hurling it at an Atheist. At first they had me mere feet from the guy and I was trying not to hit him too hard but they ended up moving me back a yard or two and told me to get it closer to his face. Due to my years of experience working in the restaurant business I am quite proficient in throwing food so I was getting some good tosses in there. I started taking the outer leaves and wrapping some core parts inside so that when I threw it the whole thing would come apart like coleslaw shrapnel!

At least two or three times the Director complimented me on the "good cabbage action". Of course I became a legend among the other Extras, people kept coming up to me asking for me to sign their carrot or beet or whatever veggie they happened to have.

Can't wait for tomorrow. It will be my first shoot in Williamsburg so that's going to be exciting. Dancing

Howie's Saying of the Week

A sure way to lose happiness, I found, is to want it at the expense of everything else - Bette Davis

Check out my eBay store: Hall Liquidations
MoonKnight1
Friday, March 10, 2017 12:05:45 PM
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I went in yesterday at 12:30 PM. Left this morning at 3:30 AM. Yes, if you do the math that's 15 hours. Yawn Hypnotized

Howie's Saying of the Week

A sure way to lose happiness, I found, is to want it at the expense of everything else - Bette Davis

Check out my eBay store: Hall Liquidations
Thundercron
Friday, March 10, 2017 12:39:09 PM
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MoonKnight1 wrote:
I went in yesterday at 12:30 PM. Left this morning at 3:30 AM. Yes, if you do the math that's 15 hours. Yawn Hypnotized


I could think of worse jobs to spend 15 hours at. Like, most of them.
MoonKnight1
Thursday, June 15, 2017 2:01:09 PM
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It's official. The fourth and last season of Turn: America's Spies will air this Saturday, June 17th at 9PM Eastern Standard Time. It is a two hour premiere and I have it on good authority that I am "all over" the episode. A couple weeks ago they had an exclusive screening for anyone involved in filming. I couldn't make it because I was out of town but a friend of mine who was also an extra went and said he saw me a number of times. Dancing

The day after filming ended I got my hair cut. It was awesome! Don't get me wrong, it wasn't that bad all of the time but I am sure glad to be done with it. For one thing my head stays cooler during the summer! I also don't eat my hair at night anymore and the drain in the bathtub is easier to keep clear. There were some upsides, I got compliments on it all of the time. Mostly from girls! Blush Since I was done with it I sent it to Locks of Love which is a charity that makes wigs for cancer patients. Hopefully there is someone out there that would love to wear a luxurious blonde wig made from hair that has been on a television show. Daydreaming

The whole thing was a lot of fun. Even when it wasn't! Big Grin I learned a lot about how these things are made and now I watch movies and TV shows differently than I used to. Turn was really good as far as production value, they seemed to take meticulous care to keep everything looking authentic and they were sticlkers for professionalism. The hours that the crew put in are absolutley staggering. I mean there were times that I was on set for 12, 14 even 18 hours and the crew was there before I showed up and after I left.

Every time I got the chance to interact with someone from make-up, or wardrobe, catering, parking attendants, animal handlers, grips or any other of the extraneous people that the production company employed I would tell them how much I admired their contributions. So much is involved in making these shows that I never realized before. It took about 4 months to film 10 episodes and these people practically live on set, they are easily putting in 80 hours a week.

My job was easy. As an Extra, or Background Artist, the only thing I had to do was show up and look good. I happen to be an expert in both of those things. Smug Yeah sure, every once in a while I had to carry around a keg of rum (empty, sadly), or a large wooden boat (I did have help), or a raw chicken (in the early summer heat) and sometimes it was insufferably cold and one time we were evacuated into the actual, active State Prison due to a tornado outbreak - but I wouldn't trade the experience for anything.

I met a lot of interesting people and also found a couple of old friends that I had no idea were doing the same thing. An ex-girlfriend of mine started out in Season 1 as a Production Assistant and by the end of this last one Alicia has been promoted to Site Coordinator and she has a number of responsibilities including finding locations for upcoming shoots in the area. She's doing so well that she was able to quit her "regular" job and do this full time.

Another time I was in Petersburg for Season 2 and the extras were all hanging around waiting to be called. I thought I recognized this guy's voice but I couldn't quite figure out who he was. Finally, after about an hour, it hit me. I said, "Are you Carlos?" He looks at me and was like, "Are you Howie?" Then we both just started laughing! We had worked with each other ten years earlier but I hadn't seen him in 4-5 years. Neither one of us recognized the other because of the costumes and the makeup. After that we hung out for the rest of the day catching upon old times.

This past season I was called a ton of times for the first month and a half but then became a victim of my own success. The Director in charge of Extra's (some call him Tim) told me at one point that I had been in so many scenes that they couldn't use me anymore. It definitely wasn't anything personal, Tim loved having me on set because I always did what he instructed me to do plus he knew that I could think on my feet and react to anything unexpected during a take. So you can watch the first half of the show and then skip the rest. Big Grin Spoiler Alert! The United States win the American Revolution.

I was trying to convince them to do a sequel called 1812: The Walking Red in which the ex-colonies are invaded by Zombie Redcoats. Not sure if they bought it. But if it happens, you heard it here first and where are my royalties! Waiting

My biggest regret from my experience was that I never begged Jamie Bell to please, for the love of god, do not do Fantastic 4 #2. Pray

Howie's Saying of the Week

A sure way to lose happiness, I found, is to want it at the expense of everything else - Bette Davis

Check out my eBay store: Hall Liquidations
MoonKnight1
Friday, November 10, 2017 12:00:00 PM
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I'm back, baby! Dancing Party Applause Whistle

Well, not on Turn - that's over and done with. I am going to shoot a scene tonight for Homeland on Showtime. I haven't seen the show but it's in it's seventh season so it must be pretty good to have lasted that long.

I signed a Non-DIsclosure Agreement so I can't give away any crucial details about the show. Since I don't know anything about it anyway that will be an easy thing to do.

What I can say is that I will be portraying a Protestor. When I first heard that my thoughts were along the lines of a peaceful guy walking around with a sign or chanting slogans. Then I saw the details and I no longer think it's going to be that type of protest.

For one thing they were seeking a lot of white guys and said the costumes would feature plenty of camo, military style fatigues, body armor, helmets, masks, bandannas wrapped around the face, etc. So I'm guessing it's going to be more Antifa than Black Lives Matter. Silly They have also cast a number of people to play cops in riot gear and warned us that things might get somewhat...heated. That's OK, I've been in plenty of mosh pits so I can throw elbows with the best of them!

It's a night shoot and temps are dipping into the mid 20's. Nailbiting

Wish me luck! Big Hug

Howie's Saying of the Week

A sure way to lose happiness, I found, is to want it at the expense of everything else - Bette Davis

Check out my eBay store: Hall Liquidations
Shadowdodger
Friday, November 10, 2017 12:32:28 PM
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That's awesome!! Applause


Congrats and have fun!
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bluedevil2002
Friday, November 10, 2017 4:14:56 PM
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MoonKnight1 wrote:
They have also cast a number of people to play cops in riot gear and warned us that things might get somewhat...heated.


I think I might know a couple of them.
MoonKnight1
Monday, November 13, 2017 1:42:06 PM
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Had a great time the other night and have been called back for Wednesday! Dancing

It was a great scene with a lot of action. A dumpster was set on fire, people were jumping on top of cars, bottles were getting thrown, we were bum-rushing riot police...really fun to be a part of. As I suspected we were an unruly mob which means I may now be typecast as a troublemaker. Angry Mobs were my forte in Turn as I was in no fewer than 4 of them. We were quite frenetic when filming. It was so cold that running and jumping around like maniacs helped to warm us up.

I was having difficulty finding an appropriate outfit to wear but a friend of mine in the neighborhood had a full-body camouflage hunter outfit that he loaned me. Man, that thing was warm! When I was inside I had to unzip because I was too hot. I definitely appreciated it when we were outside though. The coldest I got was when we took a "lunch" break at 8PM and the food was served on the observation deck on top of City Hall 18 stories high. It's an open air promenade that gives you a spectacular view of the surrounding area but with 20 degree temps and a brisk breeze it was extremely frigid up there. There were no lights so we couldn't really tell what the food was and since the wind was so fierce the sternos wouldn't stay lit and the food was cold. People were shaking so much it was tough to use a fork. When the wind whipped up paper plates went flying around like throwing stars. Anxious

When I talk to people about doing this inevitably they will ask why do I do it? For the money? Usually when someone says, "It's not about the money" it's only about the money. Trust me when I say that it's not about the money. An eight hour day for me nets about $50 and one free meal, two if you're lucky. The food isn't bad but it's not fine dining either. Not Talking No, I do it specifically so that I can show up on television.

I recognized a lot of people that worked on Turn, both other Extras and the production crew. When I was checking in one of the Production Assistants said, "Oh, it's the infamous Howie!" That's right - I'm infamous. Big Grin

The cool thing about it was that the set was at City Hall in downtown Richmond which is maybe a mile from my house. I can see it if I climb up onto my roof. So I just rode my bike there and when it was done it took me like 8 minutes to get home. I had made sure to leave my heat on so the house was toasty when I got back. My initial call time was 4PM but at 2 I received an e-mail asking if I could be there by 3. Once again, less than ten minutes to bike over so that was no problem. We wrapped sometime around 2AM and the temperatures had dropped to about 25 degrees by that point.

Long day and no guarantee that i get any face time but totally worth it. Looking forward to Wednesday and hopefully several more! Daydreaming

Howie's Saying of the Week

A sure way to lose happiness, I found, is to want it at the expense of everything else - Bette Davis

Check out my eBay store: Hall Liquidations
MoonKnight1
Monday, November 13, 2017 1:43:53 PM
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bluedevil2002 wrote:
MoonKnight1 wrote:
They have also cast a number of people to play cops in riot gear and warned us that things might get somewhat...heated.


I think I might know a couple of them.

What are their names? I may have met a few of them. We protestors stayed by ourselves for the most part and didn't mix with the cops much. Cool

Howie's Saying of the Week

A sure way to lose happiness, I found, is to want it at the expense of everything else - Bette Davis

Check out my eBay store: Hall Liquidations
MoonKnight1
Saturday, July 28, 2018 6:06:05 PM
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Well it has been an exciting couple of months for me!

I appeared in Homeland (Showtime) Season 7, Episode 5 a handful of times. Briefly in the street protest scene outside of City Hall in the first couple minutes of the episode and then several more times in a memorial scene set in St. Paul's Church in Richmond. More on that later.

I got the best exposure ever during the church scene. Apparently my character belonged to a white supremacist group out in the country in a fortified compound. The FBI rolled in, there was a gunfight and casualties on both sides. I wasn't present for that but I did make it to the memorial service and at one point my head was front and center. I was that close to the camera. I know it's a little blurry but do you see me?! I'm the guy in profile with the stunning blonde hair. Cool



That scene was crazy to film for a couple of reasons, first of all it took two days two months apart to shoot it. The first time they were only planning on it being a television news update that the President was watching. At some point during post-production they decided that they wanted to show interior footage as well so they called everyone back who was involved in the first shoot. It was very bizarre, the second time they floated a blimp inside the church and reflected light off of it. I had never seen anything like it before.

I earned some grudging respect for the first shoot. I live very, very close to where they were filming so I rode my bike in that day. In a blizzard. Yes, it was snowing like a SOB and I rode my 12 speed down there and back. Actually enjoyed the heck out of it! I told Kendall (casting director) how committed I was and she was quite impressed. Probably got me more work.

Speaking of...

Back in April I got a message from the casting company asking me if I was available the next day for an independent film. The answer is always "Yes" so less than 24 hours I was on set. It was for a film called "Slave Cry" directed by Richmond native Jai Jamison who I just learned also worked on Turn: Washington's Spies. They are taking it on the Festival Tour and possibly pitching a TV show based on it. More work for me! Big Grin

It was a fun experience even though it paid less than usual. I really did it more as a favor for Kendall hoping that I could get some of those proverbial "Brownie Points". Seems to have worked because I have been getting a lot of opportunities lately, hopefully some of them will pan out.

Anyway, today I went to a private screening of the film at Bowtie Cinema's Criterion Theater here in town. It was invitation only for friends, family, crew and actors. Turned out it was shorter than I expected, only about 20 minutes. It was pretty good. Funny at times and emotional as well. The best part (for me anyways) was when the credits rolled and there it was in black and white - my name. Ooh

The first time I saw my face on a television show I was pretty excited. The most recent time I saw my face on TV I was also pretty excited. Seeing my name in the credits right there in black and white -indescribable. Dancing Big Grin Wave Applause Anxious Drooling Kiss Dancing Kiss Big Hug

I have a few more things I'm auditioning for right now so wish me luck.

I had tried to get into Wonder Woman 2 filming in Northern Virginia but looks like I may have missed out on that. Wow, that would have been epic! Daydreaming

Side note: The food on Homeland was sub par at best. The best time was when they had 300 Domino's Pizzas delivered for about 500 people. At least I ate something that time. Another time we went through the buffet line and out of the 12 chafing dishes only 5 or 6 of them had anything in them. Although there was one filled to the very top with canned peas and carrots. At least there was always a snack table with crackers, pretzels and cheeze puffs. Straight Face

The fiasco happened when we filmed the City Hall riot scene that I told you about earlier. First of all, it was cold. Freezing temperatures and a brisk wind so it felt colder than it actually was. They served us dinner at the Observation Deck on top of the building 19 stories tall. Do you remember me mentioning the wind? Actual temps were in the 20's but with that wind whipping through it felt like the teens. All of the sternos that were supposed to be heating our food up could not stay lit. Paper plates were flying around like frisbees. A gust would hit the stack of napkins and turn it into a whirling dervish of paper products. There is no lighting up there so we couldn't even see into the chafing dishes to see what the food was. Then, we had to also sit and eat up there in the arctic conditions. I saw people, myself included, who were shivering so much that it was difficult to convey food from plate to mouth via fork.

I have been to City Hall about a thousand times in the 20 years I have lived here and I know for a fact that they have a diner (inside) and also a cafeteria that could have been used instead. Very poor planning by the production company.

Interesting historical note about St. Pauls Episcopal Church and the scene filmed there. During the Civil War it became known as the "Church of the Confederacy" because it was right next to the Capitol and many prominent Confederates attended including President Jefferson Davis. After the war, Robert E. Lee remained a member and performed a memorable act of reconciliation there.

During church services a black man got up and went forward for communion. Blacks had never been allowed in the church before so the white parishioners were aghast that this was happening. Lee however was of a different mind and he also went forward for communion and knelt down right next to the guy. People were shocked, it made the news, opinions gradually began to change.

The Homeland scene is eerily similar and I can't verify it but I'm pretty sure the showrunners knew what they were doing. The previous episodes had shown the FBI agents tracking and then engaging in combat with the confederate, neo-nazis. People on both sides were killed. The memorial scene showed the militia mourning their dead when the widows of the FBI agents showed up. They were a white girl, an African-Americam and and Asian-American. At first the congregants shout and curse at them but eventually a widow of one of the white supremacists gets up and goes over to the women and brings them up to the front to sit with her.

It was a pretty powerful scene and I was happy to have played a part in making it.

Howie's Saying of the Week

A sure way to lose happiness, I found, is to want it at the expense of everything else - Bette Davis

Check out my eBay store: Hall Liquidations
MoonKnight1
Monday, July 29, 2019 12:23:43 PM
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Oh my gosh, there are so many opportunities in and around Richmond right now.

Currently I have feelers out to several productions that are filming in the area. There are two in particular that I am most interested in.

Have you heard about the Walking Dead spin-off? Apparently it is being called Monument and it looks like it is set during the same time frame as the original show, so not a prequel or sequel per se. This would be amazing to be part of but I'm trying not to hope for it too much just in case I don't get the call.

The other one is a Showtime mini set just before the Civil War featuring the abolitionist John Brown and starring Ethan Hawke (plus Russell Crowe, Bryan Cranston, and Kevin Bacon). This one is called The Good Lord Bird.

I have also applied to a couple of other, smaller productions.

I would love to appear in any or all of those but obviously Walking Dead would be my first choice!

I have been growing my hair and beard so that I look a little shaggy. The Civil War show needs a bunch of racist looking white guys and I could certainly fit the part. To be clear, I have no problems with people from other ethnicity's but if they pay me then I can easily pretend to be a bigot. As far as Walking Dead goes, people have been telling me for years that I walk and talk like a zombie so that would also be a perfect fit!

Wish me luck, guys! Dancing

Howie's Saying of the Week

A sure way to lose happiness, I found, is to want it at the expense of everything else - Bette Davis

Check out my eBay store: Hall Liquidations
MoonKnight1
Monday, October 21, 2019 12:40:36 PM
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Dancing Dancing Dancing YES!!! Dancing Dancing Dancing

I finally got the call. There is another Walking Dead spinoff that is shooting now in Central Virginia and I have been asked to perform in the latest episode that is being filmed.

This is very exciting. Might not parlay into much, could be a one and done, but the opportunity is there! If I survive this episode without getting chomped by a zombie then it's a possibility that I could be a recurring character.

It's very cool because it is tough to get onto that show. There isn't much need for extras - Background Artists Big Grin - as most of the cast are Core. All I need is a foot in the door and then I can impress and keep getting called back. I am going to seriously lobby for a role as a Zombie. Doesn't matter what you look like when you play a zombie, Costume and Makeup can change your look over and over again.

On another note - The film "Slave Cry" is going to be shown in Charlottesville this Saturday as part of the Virginia Film Festival. I was in that movie and also got my name in the credits! Big Grin

Howie's Saying of the Week

A sure way to lose happiness, I found, is to want it at the expense of everything else - Bette Davis

Check out my eBay store: Hall Liquidations
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