You never know who you’ll meet when you’re on set in Manitoba. Meet Sam – the only actor I was allowed to take a photo of.

The first item on my to do list today was SLEEP, and sleep I did until shortly before lunch. Getting home at 4:33 in the morning will do that to a person who is normally in la-la land by 9:30 at night.

But I have an excellent reason for my pre-dawn date with much-needed slumber. Last night, I was a background extra on a movie set somewhere in Manitoba. It was a cold night on the prairies, to be sure, but oh so much fun.

I love movies and I love the people who make them, including the producers, directors, writers, editors, gaffers, grips, foley artists, security, craft services, admin, set decorators, costume designers, hair and make-up, casting agents, actors, and all my fellow extras. I love seeing them work their magic, I love reading and watching their work, I love talking with them about their craft, and I love being part of whatever they are making. I am inspired by their creativity, passion and enthusiasm, and appreciate their willingness to help us extras enjoy our time in their productions.

And enjoy it I do, especially when it’s cold out there on the prairies, because I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to contribute my little bit to their success whenever I’m called to set.

While I don’t always appear in the final cut, being seen isn’t why I like to be an extra. I want to learn more about story and storytelling, the small details and the overall vision, the tools and the finished product, the tellers and the audiences. Whenever I’m on set, it adds to who I am and what I do, makes me a better speaker and editor, and inspires me to write all sorts of stories in a variety of media, including plays and screenplays.

And that’s what I call movie magic!

For information about extras casting in Manitoba, contact Kari Casting, NEXT! Casting, and Extras Casting. Visit ACTRA Manitoba for more information.

PS There was an unexpected bonus to making a movie somewhere in Manitoba that had me arrive home just before dawn, and that is the traffic – or rather the lack thereof. My journey was quick and uninterrupted, thanks to a succession of green traffic lights and only a handful of cars that enabled me to travel from the set to my front door at the posted speed limits. Was never able to do that while driving home from my day job.