Filming is not allowed on set, so I have no photos to offer for this post.
I signed up to work as a film extra locally. It not only gets me out of the house but allows me to earn some money whilst meeting people.
And meeting people you do have time for as most of the day is waiting around. If on set you’re not supposed to talk but you’re not on set all day and these people were a friendly, chatty bunch. All my goals were reached.
The start time was early as usual, although not as early as many crew have to be, so that we can all be counted in, sign contracts, let make-up, costume and the hairdresser check we are suitable or make alterations, and generally be ready in time for when the director wants to shoot.
I’ve done this in the UK too and it’s interesting to see the differences. Mostly it’s the same except the general atmosphere seemed a bit more relaxed and appreciative here, even when time was running over and everyone was getting desperate to finish the filming on their last day in the region.
Refreshments consisted of real coffee from stay fresh capsules (no instant granules) and croissants for breakfast on location, whereas back home there would always be the option of a full English and, of course, tea, which I did miss. But where it differed significantly, and this may just be this particular shoot although I doubt that, was at lunch time.
We were in tents on a car park due to the location, with the background artists being in a separate tent to the crew (which is the same as in UK). However, there was no queuing up at a mobile kitchen that always has steps nowhere near high enough to reach the serving hatch comfortably, trestle tables were already laid up with plastic cutlery, plastic plates and cups, and the entrée was already set out on a platter with enough for the people on that table.
Yes, that’s right, I did write ‘entrée’ – a fish mousse with a tomato coulis on this occasion. Followed by another platter brought out to us of some excellent and plentiful beef and dauphinoise. Then a cheese course and finally a type of panna cotta with a berry coulis.
A four course meal, finished off with another real coffee from freshly ground beans.
It was a highly efficient and satisfying lunch. If you wanted choice or were vegetarian, it wouldn’t have been your lucky day, but for me it was great.
And now I get to the best part… there were two bottles of wine on the table for eight, one red, one white, with more available on request. I was astonished and wondered if this was due to some special event and a girl I got talking to later on, and who was part of the organisation, said that wine on the table was required by law!
Of course, here, people don’t go mad with it, they have a glass or two with the meal as part of the food. I can’t imagine that working in the same way in the UK. Probably helped that we were mostly middle aged and older with a reduced drinking capacity.
Even so, God bless France.
I understand we also all get invited to a local premiere of the film when it comes out. That definitely never happened in the UK.
Makes me wonder whether this is another sign of how people treat each other with a little more respect in France, much in the same way that people say greet each other in the street far more here and also in places like hospital waiting rooms. Especially after living in cities, one gets so used to being treated and treating people in a different way, that it takes a fair bit of thought to remember to make those greetings in some situations, but I’m glad for the push to make it permanently automatic.