Sunday, January 18, 2015


One cannot truly call himself a New Yorker unless he tried on multiple hats that the Big City has to offer: a bartender, a waiter, a role with the loud name "Brand Ambassador", which stands for a sales person, an usher or a "front of the house" team member whose responsibilities include "but not limited to" handing out flyers outside and stopping people on a street to persuade them to go inside of a venue.

Lastly, the two roles surrounded with the most romance and expectations of fame and prosperous future are modeling at Abercrombie and Fitch, half-naked, if you dare and fit the A&F parameters, and, of course, acting!

To gain an experience in the latter I headed to Central Casting on Thursday, the day when at 1 PM they accept applications from non-union females only.

Photo credit:
The crowd in the room, so to say, was not what I expected. It was about 20 of us with the third of the group in their late 50s but going on early 40s. The kind of experience one gets in Vegas, when at a casino every cocktail girl looks the same from afar: slim and very fit body, high heels and mini skirts; and only at a close up you see the difference.

"Portrayable age" said one of the questions in the application. Later, one of the girls asked, "What do I write down on the "Age" question? The one that I can act like?
- Honey, you write down your actual age, - the host answered softly (with understanding).

The room was full of enthusiasm however. The vibrant host-lady stated, "Remember, you are very important to the director." Background actors set the overall atmosphere. "Imagine, they are shooting the scene at an office full of cubicles. They need you there to be seated pretending you are doing the work. Even though, your face might not be seen, you are an integral part of the movie."

Thirty minutes through the meeting the girls were readily filling out the Skills section. "Are you proficient in any sports? Do you know how to dance? Do you play any instruments?"

"Singing is not an instrument,"- every now and then interjected the host.

"Write down all of the costumes you own. Background extras bring their own clothing. Ladies, if you own a cocktail dress, put that down!"

An agreeable sign of relief spread across the casting room. There is still a chance to flaunt as a flapper dancer on a ball framed-up to 1920'es or to be present at a the Oscar Awards even the fictitious one. 

The time was two o'clock. And after a brief introduction to the terms and conditions of the employment and expectations on both sides it was time to call it a day. The host informed the guests on Acting Glossary such is "Call Time" - the time the extras expected to show up on set; "check-in number" - a unique number given to all actors; and a "sign-in voucher" - the proof of the time spent on set used to claim a paycheck.

Another important piece of information was about a salary expectations. Extras get paid $96.25 (if I remember correctly) for 10 hours of work, everything past 10 hours is considered an overtime.

"Ladies, remember, you are here for the lovely experience not money!" - The host exclaimed cheerfully at the very last.