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The role of extras in films and teleserye is crucial as they add realism to the scenes. Although part of a team that is hired for production purposes, most extras believe appearing in front of the camera could be a way for them to be discovered. After all, several celebrities started as extras in the hope that they will be noticed. Hence, extras are not just mere numbers on the set, but they are also people waiting for the chance to prove they can be stars.
Some time ago, a production of one of the networks was taping a crucial scene that was highly emotional and demanded much acting from Young Actor (YA). All actors know that coming to a taping requires ample preparation, which begins with knowing the lines and understanding the context of the scenes.
YA came to the set ready with his lines, and prepared for the instructions coming from the director. Although he has made his mark in such a short period, the pressure to prove he is not just a pretty face was getting into him. After all, he hardly has long lines in his scenes, which already indicates that writers and directors are considering his limitation.
However, that day was different. His Director (HD) was adamant that he show competency in the scene, where he was expected to release immense reaction. YA was instructed to breakdown, as he was grieving for the demise of an older character who took him under her wing. During the first take, HD stopped the scene, as the performance of YA was subpar. HD explained to YA that to make the scene more appealing, he has to shed tears. Taping continued, and YA attempted to follow HD.
YA tried to cry, but no tear could come out of his eyes. HD had to think of something or else the production will fall behind schedule. HD then called for The Extra (TE) and told him what he wanted to happen. Thus, the moment for TE came and he delivered. So impressed were the people on the set, that they praised TE. They felt the emotion, as though the scene happened in real life. When HD saw that YA was watching intently, he came over and whispered to YA. HD said that TE was indeed great, and that YA was expected to be like TE. Ouch!
Nonetheless, between TE and YA, the former has to return to the backdrop, as this moment was going to be YA’s even though it would be hard for him, HD, and the rest of the production. The team could not really do anything, as YA seems to be the flavor of the month of his station.
‘There's a small percentage of people who can act. There's a small percentage who get to do this for a living. There's a swath of the population that are able to keep a story in their head and fight all the battles against self-consciousness and the surreal unnaturalness of acting in a movie. The technical aspects you can learn fairly quickly.’ – Tom Hanks
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