Thursday, July 27, 2017

STRICTLY ON BACKGROUND, PT. 12: FRIENDS FROM COLLEGE

It was a crisp, sunny November morning when I stepped out of the bus at the Tuxedo Club in Tuxedo Park, NY. I had arrived for my first "classy" role, one of a couple of hundred old-money swells attending a wedding. Up until now, the only old money I had ever been associated with were my collection of Indian-head pennies.

As the rest of the extras gathered inside the huge tent outside the club, I glanced around at the others who'd arrived earlier. As one of my colleagues pointed out, the production hired what were essentially the all-stars in the extra field.


Two months into this gig, and I was already accepted into ranks of the greats. Or they just needed as many people as possible to fill out the scene.

I had no idea what Friends from College was, or who the stars were. It wasn't until the P.A. gave us a quick rundown of what to expect in the first scene and started mentioning the cast that I had an idea: Seth Rogen, Keegan-Michael Key, Fred Savage... Hey! I know who those people are! 


Reminds me of the reform school.
Now this was getting really interesting, especially when we were ushered inside for our first scene. The Tuxedo Club is the kind of place where TV shows want to feature a place like the Tuxedo Club, know what I mean?

Forget about Platinum, you need an Iridium Amex Card to get into this joint. If you ever have a chance to attend a wedding at the Tuxedo Club, by all means go. Of course, you need a multi-millionaire friend or relative, but that shouldn't be too difficult to find.

It took only five minutes to shoot the scene, featuring a conga line snaking through the endless dining room while the rest of us grooved from the sidelines. Fortunately, I was so far away from the camera, my bad grooving would be invisible to the audience. What made up for my non-screen appearance, however, was walking past Seth Rogen, talking to whom I presumed to be the director, as we were ushered outside afterwards. For anyone interested, he looks and sounds like he does onscreen, which shouldn't be much of a shock.

Eight hours later, we were called back for more of the post-wedding party. Again, the camera and I weren't exactly the tightest of friends. It wasn't until the final shot, a few hours later, that I finally had my moment.

The party was now winding down, the remaining guests either dancing to the final
number or finishing dessert. As I described my dancing skills already, you know what I was picked for. Another extra and I were placed a table several feet across from another featuring the stars.


It wasn't until episode 6 of Friends from College became available a week or two ago on Netflix that I discovered I had a juicy shot -- front and left, and at the very beginning of the scene, being offered coffee by a server. 

For the first time, you couldn't miss me. Finally I was in a scene where former friends could ask with unmitigated jealousy, "Hey, what the hell is Kevin doing on TV?!" Eating a slice of cake, that's what.


I was happy to accept my server's offer for a cup of coffee, if only to perk me up (by now, I had been there close to 15 hours and was on the verge of narcolepsy). Pro that I am, however, you couldn't tell I discovered too late that it was cold. Oof!







I can be glimpsed in the background during the rest of the scene, a blurry figure eating cake and chatting with my tablemate. It wasn't until the very end that I was closer to the camera once more, sticking a fork in my mouth. Now I know why the Queen isn't allowed to be photographed while eating.

All in all, a lovely wedding. I just had no idea who got married. But the cake was good.


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