“Holding” is wherever they put Extras until we are needed on set. God help the missing Extra who has been given ‘special business’ when a 2nd Assistant Director needs them right now. An angry “Where is the Bike Guy?” is followed by “I told you to stay put!” We are paid to follow instructions and keep our mouths shut (I’m skilled at the 1st, not the 2nd). However I know to be “quiet on the set!”. What fun to listen and learn! Feel free to write that down.
Yesterday I was on location in Little Tokyo where they rented a boarded up Beauty Parlor for us to hang in (more like crammed in). The 18 year old Extra who was supposed to ride his bike around the Guest Star kept disappearing and getting yelled at. It was pretty funny seeing this kid ripped apart by sarcastic crew members. “Glad it’s not me!” was the phrase of the day. Everything is cool if you politely ask the 2nd AD if you can grab a bite or go to the bathroom. This kid thought he knew all the ropes and boy did he show us! Did I mention that he was released early and I was asked to work overtime?
Back to Holding. Sometimes it is a tent in the Valley in a parking lot. It can be audience bleachers on a Comedy Stage or a rented fancy restaurant (where they always lock the bathrooms and force us to use the porta-potties…heaven forbid Extras use an inside toilet!). For down time many of us bring books to read, some bring board games, dominoes, cards. etc. I like to talk to people instead (surprised?). I play an old game my Dad taught me…I work on remembering people’s names. By the end of a shoot day I usually know 10-15 people (my secret is using a crib sheet!). When a 2nd AD shows me Holding at 6am I introduce myself by name and they know me the rest of the day. I often get picked for special business because I am polite, listen and am not an 18 year old idiot.