German telefeature 'Bunch Of Magic' shoot (11th November 2010)

It has been a long time since I got a job through my casting agency, Kirsty Bunny Management – most of the acting/modelling work I’ve done this year were sought out on my own or unpaid roles I got casted via StarNow which were good fun even for little to no money. Roles casted with my agent usually pay a lot more and for large productions both from NZ and abroad. The production I got casted this time was for a German TV feature, “Bunch of Magic”, a screen adaptation of romance and mystery novels set in Australia and NZ written by American novelist Emilie Richards. I’m playing an extra role as a pedestrian in the sets today!

After dropping Jono off at work, I headed over to Tanera Park in Brooklyn for the 9.15am call time for the shoot. The parking area that was our main base was filled with vehicles and trailers, cast and crew getting ready for the day ahead. A full breakfast buffet was laid out for everyone and I was told to help myself to the food – damn, shouldn’t have had breakfast at home if I knew they would serve a full brekkie! I made myself a fresh orange-carrot juice instead, using their industrial juicer, a mean-looking beast of a machine that just liquidates the fruit in seconds. Hmm, nice juice :)

I was one of 8 extras (various ages and I was the only Asian) from the agency on set and we each had to bring along 3 changes of clothes (casual wear, no big logos). One by one, we were called into the wardrobe trailer where the dresser went through our items and picked out 2 sets of clothes which we would be wearing. The trailer was literally a moving wardrobe, filled with clothing, shoes, accessories etc, even a washing machine and dryer – how cool is that! The lovely lady picked out my clothes and I got to wear flip-flops (my new Havaianas), t-shirt and 3-quarter pants the whole day – yay! The weather is a warm 19-20 degrees Celsius today, a great day to be wearing summer clothing!

More waiting at base and about 10am, the cast and crew were shuttled to Aro Street where the 3 scenes would be shot today. The extras were dropped off at the unit base (the abandoned petrol station next to Aro Valley Community Centre) and we helped ourselves to the coffee/tea, biscuits and fruit available as we waited to be called on set. Having worked as an extra previously, I was prepared for a day of waiting around with a book to keep me occupied. I found my previous extra roles tend to be 2-3 hours of actual work but I would spend a total of 8-10 hours on set. Of course, pay is by the hour so I’m quite happy to be paid to sit around and catch up with my reading hehe…

There sure are lots of Germans on set! Scene 1 was shoot near Four Square on Aro Street where Kiwi actors Gina Vanessi and Dave Jamieson met outside an obstetrics and gynaecology practice (there’s no ob-gyn practice on Aro Street – it was an empty shop lot with a fake signboard) and several of us extras would be walking past them on the footpath. I looked much like a college student with my backpack and summer attire :P We did several takes from various angles until the director was satisfied that he had enough video footage before moving on. Photo taken of the camera crew on set:

Scene 2 was located across the street outside the dairy with German actor Kai Schumann making purchases and Aleni Tufuga (who played the role of a detective) asking him questions. Me and a few of the extras weren’t too sure at first if Aleni was an actor or a real police officer – he just had the gruff look about him in uniform. Like in the first scene, the extras would walk along the footpath on the cue of the assistant director while the actors played their part. One of the male extras had to don on a grocer’s attire and wrap up the snapper that Kai was buying – it was quite funny to see them repeat the scene multiple times, the snapper being taken off the fish bin, wrapped in paper and unwrapped again to be placed back in the bin. Thankfully I didn’t have to handle the fish!

Around 1.15pm, everyone was shuttled back to the main base for lunch. An awesome spread of grilled steak, lasagne, salads, breads AND fruit salad with ice-cream for dessert! This is another great thing about being a paid extra – you get fed throughout the day and usually very well :) And we are treated with respect and cared for regardless of our role (nothing like what you see on TV where the director shouts around at the extras). People are just laid-back and easy to work with – it’s great!

Ooo, better put on some sunscreen…the weather is SO amazing and some of the guys managed to squeeze in a game of football during the lunch break at the nearby field haha! Around 2pm, the extras had a change of clothes and were shuttled back to our Aro Street base. More waiting and about 3pm, we were called to head over to Aro Café where the final set was shot. The extras were split up into groups – some of were customers, some pedestrians and I played a customer exiting the café. Still looking like a college student in my t-shirt and shorts, flip-flops and backpack ;) Scene 3 had Kai and German actress Nina Bott sitting at a table outside the café, chatting and laughing (and a little flirting) as they shared their banana split with young starlet Paige Henry sitting with them, quietly licking her double scoop ice-cream on a cone. With each new take of the scene, the props guy had to throw away the ice-creams and make a new serving each. That’s A LOT of ice-cream in the bin! The poor actors must be sick of eating so many of them though it would be a great way to cool down from the warm summery day. Photos taken at the set:

“It’s a WRAP!” called out the assistant director at 5pm. Yes, finally we can go home! Though I’ve not really done much today, it did felt like a very long day and I’m glad we’re done. Not sure if I’ll be able to get my hands on a copy of the TV series when it’s out – after all, it is to be aired in Germany so we might not be able to see it…oh well, it’s ok. I doubt I’ll be in clear shot anyway so you won’t be able to tell if it was me (only I know!).

With summer around the corner, there would be a lot more work of this nature – looking forward to next one!


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