Lazy Luddite Log

26.4.06

Movie Extra

On the weekend I was roped into becoming an extra in an amateur movie by the name of Malfuction. The movie-to-be is a kind of comedy with a quirky Australian feel to it and the scenes we did were shot at Monash Uni in what was once the Biomed Library (now totally refurbished as offices). It was one of those things that happen as the result of "a friend of a friend" and it was an interesting way to spend an afternoon (besides which I get a credit and an invitation to the opening night - yay!). All most of us had to do was be in the background in an office and at an office party. There was a definite plan but some aspects were also ad-lib. And there was a lot of sitting around between scenes.

It got me thinking a bit more on how movies are made and how much is planned and how much is done on the fly. The impression I get is that most (professional) movies are planned to minute degree. But even some major films have improvised elements. A few days ago I saw The Party on telly and apparently huge swathes of that classic Peter Sellers movie were semi-improvised. They did the unusual thing of filming all the party scenes in chronological order so that all the actors had a strong sense of what had been happening so far with their characters and could therefore improvise specific actions more realistically. I saw it as a kid and loved it then and it is still fun now. I want to go to a party like that!

Update

On Saturday 15 July I went to the screening of the completed Malfunction at a hotel in Kensington. There were a few others I knew there (via MonUCS) who had also been bit-part extras. It was a fun evening and a funny movie. Partly it was funny to see familiar faces in a film. More importantly it was funny because it was supposed to be a good old comedy of errors. For me it was like a cross between the 'Dilbert' comic and an old 'Carry On' movie. I have a pretty simplistic sense of humour so it worked well for me and was a good way to fill an otherwise empty Saturday night.

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