I had the pleasure of doing some background work on Tuesday and I must say it was an exceptionally educational experience. It was a lot of standing which, as a theater actor, I am not used to doing. If there is down time in a rehearsal, usually there are lines to run with other scene partners or time to send by yourself cultivating your own character. In a film, all that is required is for you to stand on your mark (sometimes for an hour or longer) waiting to walk through the shot behind the featured actors.
At the very least I only managed to royally bone things up one time (got stuck right between the camera man and the foam thingie coated in silver to reflect the light, oops!) so I think all in all it wasn't too bad of a day. However, for all the standing in the sun and the heat it wasn't all that bad and the crew who was in charge of wrangling the crowd of New Yorkers on the sidewalk (a beastly job if ever I saw one) surely had the worst of it. Most people were kind -- "Oh! Filming, okay, sure, let me just walk around then" -- but others (usually chattering away loudly on their cell phones or having loud 'important' conversations with whoever they were walking with) were less receptive to the idea of having to deviate from their set path for 15 feet in order to let the film crew get their 30 second shot.
It was really nice to get to see how film set works and I actually learned a lot, so that makes me very grateful for the opportunity. I guess in a year we'll see if I can actually be seen walking by in the film.
No Pay, Nudity!