Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be an extra on Angel? Staff writer Dick Hollywood gives us this first person account of the two days he spent playing a security guard at the rebuilt Wolfram and Hart.
So there I was driving way too early in the morning to work as an extra on the last episode of the season of Angel. It is cold and rainy outside and upon arriving at the parking lot for the extra’s which was noted by a red sign reading HALO. Trying to fool all of the rabid Angel fans I guess. I must say that I am not a viewer of Angel, though I have seen many of the Buffy episodes, but I never got into watching this spin-off, so forgive me for not knowing too much about the characters or some of their names. Walking amongst the misfits, sideshow freaks and actors trying to get their SAG card, otherwise known as extras, all I can think about is the free food. Extras love the free food, even more than me, I think to myself as some lady is pushing around me in line to get a donut. There are many extras needed this morning. The total number is around 200. I am not on the official list of extras, but instead I am “Specking”, which means, I get to work if some one of the other extras does not show up in time. My friend who happens to be one of the 2nd Assistant Directors on the show assures me that I will be able to work today. They actually call it work, which I find that funny, because anybody who has ever “worked” as an extra will tell you that it surely ain’t work. Time consuming yes, work no.
I was told to get some food, but I had to be ready at a moment’s notice to go to wardrobe and get dressed for my new security job. It seems that one of the Security Guard extras did not show up and I would be taking his place. At least I might have a shot at getting my ugly mug on screen. I moseyed up to the roach coach and got myself a really tasty breakfast burrito. Mmm mmm burrito. There was this guy who kept staring at me and then wanted to talk to me and ask me questions. “Are you S.A.G.r” “Do you have any work lined up for tomorrowr” “Blah blah blah.” Get away from me creep! I am told to get a Security officers uniform and get to set in about 15 minutes. I got dressed and left for the set with the rest of the wannabe stars.
The next hour was spent lighting and setting people in the background to look natural. 2nd team (stand-ins for the Actors while setting lights and such) was standing in for the Talent, so no sightings so far of Angel and his crew. Finally I am placed on a stairwell, clearly out of the sight of the camera and then the action begins. Angel (David Boreanaz), Gunn, Fred, and some Green Demon looking dude enter the building. The setting is the evil Law offices of Wolfram and Hart, and the extras are dressed accordingly. Faux lawyers, clerks and about 12 Security Guards. There are many set-ups and multiple angles and views of this entrance. More than half of the day is spent on this scene. Over and over again the actors and extras must do the same create and recreate the same action. “Reset everybody we going again”, was repeated many times by the A.D.’s. I was fortunate enough not to be seen so I ducked behind the stairwell and read a book. I could see David and the rest of the gang off in the distance, but not too well. After coming back from lunch, I am placed in a new position. Even farther away from the camera, but now I am walking from one side of the building and back to fill in some empty space the camera will pick up on. I can see the Green Demon dude off in the distance. He has a scene with the little guy from Wolfram and Hart and they walk off together. My action ends in the same hallway where they end and they seem to be having a fun time cracking jokes and what not. Well the day goes long and in one of the last scenes the Green Demon dude sings a song from West Side Story. At least that is what am I told. I couldn’t really make out what he was singing from where I stood.
Near the end of the night, DB (that is what they call him on the set) was sitting in his chair and was wondering why he was still there and not at home yet. The producer or the director said they find out and the within in moments they are all saying good night to him and thanking him for all his hard work. Yaddy yaddy ya ya, it is nice to be the Star.
Half of the extras were allowed to leave; I was not one of them. We were all pretty tired and really bored and then Gunn went around and asked all of us to participate in a joke with him that he was going to play on the Green Demon Dude. He was going to make a speech and when he counted 3, we were all supposed to yell out ” Go home Bitch!” He said it was some inside joke that they have between them. Who am I to arguer So the time comes and he counts to 3. Everybody left in the building yells, “Go Home Bitch!” The Green Demon dude was cracking up and I was relieved that we were finally going home.
This was a much shorter and easier day. Again I was a security guard, but this time there were only three guards and we were there for a specific scene. No standing or walking involved. Just three guards in an office as Gunn and this lady walk by, notice us, and crack a joke about our blazers. I did not see DB or the Green Demon dude. I saw Fred with a big gun in what looked to be a lab type area. I bullshitted with the other two guards for about six hours and was released after they did multiple takes of Gunn and this lady giving him a tour of the offices at Wolfram and Hart. So sit down and watch the season finale. I am the short hair security guard with glasses, sitting at a desk and looking at some paper work. Check it out…
Season Finale | Wednesday | 9/8c
Angel (David Boreanaz) and the gang are made an offer they can’t refuse when they are given the opportunity to take over Wolfram & Hart and obtain all of the firm’s secret and powerful information. Meanwhile, Angel has a chance to change the future for his son Connor (Vincent Kartheiser), who is physically and emotionally lost and wandering through the city.
Charisma Carpenter, Alexis Denisof, J. August Richards, Amy Acker and Andy Hallett also star. The episode was written & directed by Tim Minear.