I have been working as an extra recently on a TV show called ‘El Capo 3‘ that goes to 37 countries on Fox. I thought I would communicate briefly about my experiences as an Australian living in Colombia working as an extra on such a show.
The work for ‘El Capo’ which I have done is very adhoc. It is mainly weekend work when they have outdoor shoots involving extras. They obviously can’t employ extras many times other wise they wouldn’t be ‘extras’ lol
The last work I did was this weekend gone at a cafe set in Italy, but in fact we were located just behind the Colombian Presidential Palace in the central of Bogota next to the famous Bolivar Plaza. They cordon everything off to make sure the public aren’t let in. So they converted the outdoor Colombian cafe into an Italian cafe set near the Vatican which included Italian motorcycles, cars, priests, skateboard riders, Italian outdoor fast food caravans – you name it…whatever Italian stereotype there could be were alongside us – including Roman gladiators (who were obviously body builders kitted out in the Gladiator uniforms) and an Opera Singer singing Puccini supported by an accordionist. I was seated with two Russians at the cafe next to the 3 major stars of ‘El Capo’. By the way, it was quite surreal to be watching these guys on Fox TV just a few nights before and then appearing face to face with them dressed in a suit on set. My 15 minutes of fame.
It’s a bit tough, since the days are so very long and tiresome. But we do get fed and the Colombian organisers are very nice. It’s not something I would want to do very often, but its fun for the first 10 hours or so, after that everyone becomes noticeably weary from being on their toes or pretending to talk for nearly the whole time. After 12 hours, we are just dying to get going. All of us ‘Blancos’ – ‘Caucasian persons’ were burnt to a crisp from the Colombian sun! The walk back to public transport isn’t exactly de-stressing as you always have to be on your toes especially at night in Bogota central. So I got up at 430am and got home at 1000pm.
I have got to meet some very interesting people mainly Russians and Germans, which has been a very illuminating cultural experience since I am not very familiar with the present day Russian and German cultures. Interestingly, there are very few Americans or Australians involved.
I watched an amazing documentary recently about the Second World War called ‘Apocalypse Now – Second World War‘ which demonstrates how the Russians were instrumental in changing the war in the allies favor, but lost so many lives fighting the Germans and when I mentioned to a young Russian girl how sad it was that in the western mainstream media that so very little is known and quite frankly attributed to the Russians being instrumental in winning the war. She suddenly wept as she explained that she had lost her Grandfather in the War near Ukraine. That certainly put everything into a bit of perspective. You might say like Basil Fawlty -‘Don’t mention the war’. But in a weird way, I’m glad I did.
The German guys were top fellas. Very intelligent and kind. We had a lot in common. In fact I’m looking forward to meeting them again for a ‘gringo meet up’.
I have watched some great German movies of late, including an excellent movie I saw yesterday called ‘Stroszek‘ by Werner Herzog who narrated and directed the awesome documentary ‘Grizzly Man‘.
Overall, it’s great to see such a amalgamation of people you might not ordinarily get to see in other places. It’s an eye opener and a brain cleanser!