As a stand up comedian, I am always looking for other “show biz” opportunities to help round out my life experience and portfolio. Every experience in life is a potential comedy bit, and anything in show biz is bound to be an amazing experience! Or well, sometimes just an experience that is less than amazing. So take 1, 2, 3, Jenn Hayward is an extra in a movie!
My first attempt after signing up with www.extrawork.ca was not so thrilling, but mostly that was my fault. I signed up, ready to work! I was sent to the set of a Hallmark movie starring Mary Lou Henner! Hello! Taxi and Johnny Dangerously! How cool! The challenge was that the night before I was to attend I found out I was supposed to wear fall clothing. Anyone who follows my life and career surely knows that I have lost 100 lbs since April of this year. Thus, any fall clothes I still had were a wee bit big. I decided to go anyway and give it a try! Slight mistake. I looked like a clown. Wardrobe was like “um, yeh, I guess it will do”, but I noted I was not really being put in any scenes. I ended the day early because in truth I hated looking like I did, and told everyone around me that I looked silly because of all my weight loss. I hated looking silly!
A week later I received another email saying they were looking for homeless people. Well they were looking for people to play homeless people in a different movie. I immediately said “my husband would be perfect for this!” but alas they filled the male role so off I went. I was told to wear large, baggy and ugly clothing. So pretty much what I had worn for the fall shoot! I brought some baggy clothes and off I went!
I arrived on set and was greeted by a very friendly man who took me to a holding cell. Wait, not that is my old job in corrections, this was a trailer. The couch in it was more comfortable than my couch at home! 15 minutes later they called lunch. I worked hard for that lunch break! Food was good, sweet potato shepherd’s pie! yum! I chatted up two other extras, one who I knew from Zaphods, Mr. Peter Jurt. Hey I made a new friend!
We were sent to wardrobe to look at our choices to make us look homeless. They were very happy with my selection. Apparently I have a knack for looking like a slob. I should add here that this is in no way meant to demean homeless people. Clearly I was playing a homeless person with mental health issues who doesn’t bathe or go to shelters and also likely in the United States. I have worked with homeless people and Canada is generous with it’s clothing, showers, food and such that the role I was playing was clearly the most homeless of the homeless. I hope this caveat appeases those offended by the idea that homeless people are ugly. They are not, as everyone has beauty. Except me on this day at this shoot.
So wardrobe gave me grass stains and quite a bit of dirt and sent me to hair and make up. As you can see from the picture, they did a very good job. I am pleased they had to put MORE makeup to make those dark circles under my eyes. Most days I am trying to cover my circles up! The make up and hair ladies were awesome, and local here to Ottawa.
So off I went, looking homeless, tripping in my oversize clothing. They took me, Peter and the other guy (whose name escapes me) and took me through a dark warehouse. No lights, just darkness. Seemed legit. I swore if they were planning on having us as ringers in “bum fights” I was going to lose and they’d have to pay me more! Eventually we reached our destination and followed them until it was our time to be in the shot.
We were in the grossest room I have ever been in. Props to the props department on this movie, because it was so gross. Used food, garbage everywhere…just yuck. My job was to sit on the bed and eat food from a napkin. They were kind enough to give me food that didn’t come from the garbage, though it was still hard to eat because of the surroundings. But I was here to prove my worth as an extra, so eating I shall do! I was playing Peter Jurt’s mom. I was playing a mom to someone four years younger than I am. Self-esteem, check.
They had many takes and I really enjoyed it. Mostly because I got to sit. It would suck if I had to stand or something. My body is still getting used to my muscles from under all the fat! After about an hour the lady from the hair department came over and asked if I was okay. Apparently I did such a good job of spacing out and looking sad that they thought I was sick or something. I took it as a compliment, but any mom of three has the ability to stare into space and pretend nothing is going on around them. I need my George Clooney fantasy time!
The actors in the scene were also very nice. Big Jenn Hayward faux pas (as usual) I said to the actors “hey, you look familiar”. They were, I am going to say Latino, and the one fella thought I said “they looked alike”. I had to backtrack to say “no I am not racist, just saying I may have seen you in something once..maybe as a gang member?” They must have understood it as a joke because Xavier Sotelo is now my friend on facebook. Suck it social awkwardness that come out as racial issues!
When the scene ended, we were escorted back to wardrobe (I had shoes to give back) and then signed our forms and went home. I wanted to go downtown to do an expose on how people treat homeless people, but my desire for a shower and snuggle time with the husband won out.
It was fun, and the time flew by. The show is called His Master’s Voice and is a co-production with Hungary and Canada. Everyone on the set was nice. The director came over and thanked us. A class act all the way and while not every experience will be like this, for one day, I was paid to be ugly and I loved every minute of it! I have posted a recent picture of me without the movie magic, really for my own benefit!
Cheer’s to life’s adventures!