Thursday, December 12, 2013

Ekstra (First Part)

L-R: Soldier patrolling the evacuation center, a family of bit players taking a nap while filming of a scene takes place on the other side of the gymnasium, a kid poses in a tub.

Never to be mistaken for the displaced and downtrodden, they arrive in groups from places god knows where. Men, women and children, in simple attire and clothes worn at home. A careful observer would think they were herded on short notice; neighbors, friends and families convinced to be set pieces in films, many of them will never get to see.

They come for one reason and that is to earn. A few no doubt hopes to be seen as B-List celebrities; professional bit players whose faces become the stereotype of everyday characters. They all show up with their handlers. It's easy money, after all. Lucky are those who stand next to the cast - for they get their shot to fame when the camera rolls and they become part of the scene.

"A crowd is a crowd," Vilma Santos quipped to fellow bit players in the movie, Ekstra. The Cinemalaya opus is about the lives of bit players and walk-ins, and how their larger than life stories during production is the subject of the film. I would never forget the silent but powerful ending; of why tears cascaded down Vilma's face as she watched the soap opera on television while people around her talked about the episode.

She was asked a question I could no longer recall, her grief-stricken face encapsulates the narrative.

The credits rolled and I was happy to put the movie behind me. But who would have thought a few months later, a chance to play a bit part would come unexpected.

It was an invitation shared on Facebook. A friend who is part of the production team of an indie film seeks extras. They need walk-ins, who will play the role of flood victims for a scene that takes place in an evacuation center. There will be no pay for us, only experience. And maybe, an opportunity to see a life I've seen once on the big screen.

"Count me in sa evening scene." I replied to the chat thread after getting the details. "Kelangan ko ng idadagdag sa bucket list."

The truth is, I just don't know what to do with my time. and for someone who doesn't belong or have any close contacts in the movie industry, I feel, such experience only comes once in a lifetime.


1 comment:

Geosef Garcia said...

I'm looking forward to see kung ano ang mae-experience mo. :)