Holy Jesus, the roaring sound is deafening, black-grey smoke surrounds me; large clods of dirt, mud and rock pummel down like hell’s hailstones from above.

The writhing guy scrunched next to me in the trench lies soaked in blood, lacking a good portion of the right side of his body. The rub of wet, itchy wool on my skin is barely noticeable in the mayhem…

CUT!!!

The director calls out loudly through a megaphone (not a MAGAphone!).

“Torn bloody body” guy next to me smiles, then stands up and leisurely stretches.

That was a totally fictional scenario (based on very real occurrences) I imagined in my sleep last night.

I had been hired as a soldier extra in the movie 1917, the barbarous story of British soldiers on the front-lines of World War I.

There are scads of TV and movie productions (yes, even now in COVID world) that require bodies of men, women, and children… extras as they’re known… voiceless ordinary people who make a story appear genuine by merely walking on streets, drinking in bars, or even shooting rifles in war scenes.

I’ve never been an extra, and I get it that I’ll never be a featured actor in ANY film scene… my acting chops were chopped during the gene edits in utero.

However, as an appreciator of cinematic creation, I’d love to have the experience to prance before the camera and have a Walter Mitty’ish experience: “Bond… James Bond”, I’d say in my deepest Sean Connery voice.

OK… no speaking parts, but… as I ponder the notion and scenes in my head, I wonder to myself, what are the preferred productions that would be most appealing… the most relevant and fun for me?

Which show(s) would I like to be cast as an extra? How about you, do you have a scripted opus out there that might be improved with your face lurking in the background?

And BTW, if you live in Vancouver or Toronto, here are 2 links that could make you a part of my screen viewing enjoyment sometime in the future:

Vancouver: http://bcfcasting.com/extras/home.html

Toronto: https://torontofilmextras.com/

I love the idea and fun of dress-up, so many of my choices revolve around “period” pieces where I would get to live for a few short hours in another world and time. But not The Walking Dead, or “Boy Car Crash” movies, not for me. For women, could you see yourself marching in pairs in a Handmaid’s red and white outfit?

Let’s get to it… here are some shows, or scenes that I would have liked to have shared my immense “extra” talents within:

  1. WHEN HARRY MET SALLY – The Deli/Orgasm scene. Hell, I don’t mind sitting in a restaurant, eating smoked meat sandwiches and listening to a cute woman fake an orgasm… this might be the first recorded episode of FAKE NEWS to a man (any man) who will likely never know it’s fake, right? Thanks for robbing us of our manhood Meg!
  2. DEADPOOL – Super-hero movies would usually be out for me, but this movie enterprise is so campy and crazy, I would happily stand on a Vancouver street (where it’s filmed) while Ryan Reynolds eviscerates the bad guys.
  3. SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION – I (usually) enjoy Stephen King’s fertile imagination, so becoming a part of his fictional world and life inside a prison yard would be a vicarious experience I would hope never to experience in real life.
  4. ELF – it’s an adult child’s world with vivid colours, a ton of sugar topped with syrupy sweetness; the perfect chance to release my inner child.
  5. BUTCH CASSIDY & THE SUNDANCE KID– one of my all-time favourite movies, and yes, an opportunity to throw on chaps, a 10-gallon hat, ride a horse and carry a 6-shooter on my hip, all the while humming Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head. Maybe I’d have even glimpsed Paul Newman’s blue eyes close-up.
  6. SAVING PRIVATE RYAN– a chance to be near my director hero Steven Spielberg… the opening 23 minutes of the movie with the landing of troops in Normandy during World War II is about as terrifyingly dramatic a war scene that could be made and not be real. It scared the shit out of me to watch and should be required viewing for any young person who thinks that war has a romantic side to it. I would cry for 3 nights after being an extra, but it would be worth it.
  7. TITANIC – the heart pounding drama of the “sinking” scenes would likely terrify even an extra to the core. The systemic injustice of the class system and who would be saved and who would cling to the ship until it plunged into the icy Atlantic would make me an angry “extra”.
  8. MY AMERICAN COUSIN – how often do small town folks have a quality film produced in their own backyard, and the story is actually all about their backyard? Director Sandy Wilson put together a lovely recollection of the 1950’s, beach fun in Penticton, and a teenage girl’s crush on an older American cousin. A local version of…
  9. GREASE – slick back my hair to bunny hop and jive with bobby-socked cuties like Olivia Newton-John? Sign me up Casting Director!
  10. MONTY PYTHON anything – similar to Deadpool, the slapstick humour would make it a challenge for me to NOT giggle non-stop in the background. My silly walk would look normal to these guys!

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and finally, another musical interlude, based on lyrics I wrote and posted here on July 19th.

It’s a rule-breaking piece of songwriting – the long song – that has been used by other far greater songwriters than myself eg. Bob Dylan, Harry Chapin, Don McLean, Arlo Guthrie. I haven’t yet absorbed Hemingway’s advice on brevity in writing…

Each Glass of Romance (THEO’s Song) is a song of young romance, desire, and even some sexual tension playing out in the Greek restaurant (THEO’s) where I bartended for 4 summer seasons post-retirement.

Just over 6 minutes long, it doesn’t hit its first chorus until the 2:34 mark, interminable by pop song standards.

I don’t know if it’s a hit or a miss, you will have to be the judge. Maybe “EXTRA” work will be my salvation! Thanks for listening.