Friday, June 12, 2009

The Movie Shoot

5AM was the casting call today at Nationals Park for most of the 643 Extras assigned to participate in How Do You Know? A movie in production starring Owen Wilson and Reese Witherspoon. Hollywood using Our Washington Nationals and Major League Baseball as the backdrop. Wilson plays a Relief Pitcher for Washington.

The African Queen and I were two of 485 Nationals Season Ticket Holders given background roles for today's shooting. The Production Staff insisted no pictures of shooting and the sets be taken--and we are respecting that request. But there is a lot to write about.

Garage B at N & South Capitol Street, SE was provided for free parking for everyone cast. Upon arrival, we headed over to a large tent set up at 1st & Potomac Ave. SE--checked in and filled out tax and payroll forms. As always this assignment was all about the experience of participating and having fun. $100 was the going rate for Non-Union participants--something like $7.18 per hour.

Catering of course providing more food than you could EVER want to eat. Full Hot Breakfast, Full Hot Lunch and as many snacks and cold drinks as you could possibly force down.

At about 7AM, the assigned groups were split up and sent inside Nationals Park. The African Queen and I were sent to Section 103 in the leftfield stands--just to the right what was for today--Our Washington Nationals Bullpen. Others were assigned to 101 and 102 above the bullpen, as well as, The Red Porch Seats. A final group was sent to Section 143 in centerfield to fill in for the "Forced Perspective" Shots that appear to make the ballpark crowded.

Everyone cheered as multiple takes were shot as the centerfielder for Washington made a leaping stab of a baseball heading over the fence and into the bullpen. The scene setter for a conversation involving The Nationals Bullpen Members and a love interest in the stands.

This particular scene was the entire gist of today's shoot. Extras worked early until lunch break at 11:30AM. Then, sat around in The Red Porch for most of the remainder of the day until 4PM while close up scenes of the professional actors were shot in the bullpen. At that time, Our Section 103 was recalled for shots involving the love interest. And other extras filled the upper reaches of Nationals Park--Sections 401, 402, The Party Suites down the leftfield line and the walkway terraces that lead down from Gallery Level.

It was downright HOT!! The very fact that Sohna brought along a umbrella saved us from the sun while sitting and waiting for the next take. Interestingly, there was a medic on site to help out anyone in the heat. He works for a company that's honestly called "Cine Medic". The African Queen and I got a good chuckle out of that job and business.

This was a very long day--ending at 7:30PM--with a tremendous amount of down time. You had to show some patience to last the entire day. Some even spent the afternoon taking a nap on the MASN Set in Centerfield Plaza. What was also funny was noticing extras not assigned to certain groups--looking to get "FACE TIME" in the movie. Desperate, they showed up for cutaway shots in Section 103 of Nationals Park later in the afternoon--when they were not in the "MASTER" shot this morning.

We just can't wait to see the final cut--knowing these folks did everything possible to be seen while probably making the editing of this particular scene--a little more difficult to finish.

Sohna and I enjoyed the opportunity. We have no idea if we will even be seen in any of the final shots. But the experience was well worth attending. And the very sight of witnessing Our Washington Nationals represented in a Hollywood Movie--very, very enjoyable. Come On--it was cool!!

And no--there was virtually NO INTERACTION with the professional actors. Reese Witherspoon was not involved in today's scene--although Owen Wilson was.

We can't wait to see the final product sometime next year.

All Photos Copyrighted Nats320--All Rights Reserved


Anonymous said...

"What was also funny was noticing extras not assigned to certain groups--looking to get "FACE TIME" in the movie. Desperate, they showed up for cutaway shots in Section 103 of Nationals Park later in the afternoon--when they were not in the "MASTER" shot this morning."

I was watching them too! Pitiful souls, desperately craving attention.

Tim said...

Generally speaking the camera focuses tight on the subject and unless you are directly around the subject anyone else not within 15 feet will just be a blur.

Big deal about nothing. People are always looking for their Warhol 15 minutes of fame!!

Sarah said...

I was there all day yesterday until the end and I guess I missed these "pitiful souls." What did I miss? Who are you talking about?

I had a great time although wish I would have brought a good book to read in the down time (most of the day!!).

@Tim - We are just fans wanting to be part of something to do with our Nationals. Not looking for our "Warhol 15 minutes of fame." Fun to meet other fans.

Tim said...

Sarah, I wasn't there. I was responding to the Anonymous one more so that people around them wouldn't be seen anyways.

Reread what I wrote, "Big deal about nothing". Anonymous sounds like a person with an axe to grind.

For their "15 minutes" wasn't saying it was bad, most do crave that as would think Nats320 does too, who wouldn't! A chance to be at Nats Park doing a movie loosely based on a Natinals player is very cool.

Wish I was there. I didn't know about it and yes I would have been trying to get close to the camera if given the opportunity!

Sam R said...


Lexi and I had fun at the shoot too it was nice seeing you and the African Queen there. But in the end I doubt we'll ever be able to pick ourselves out of the crowd if we are even in the final product. I was happy to sit in the Centerfield Club Lounge seats and they did put on a good spread. Any day I can get paid to sit in Nationals Park and take in the beauty is a great day indeed. As we, take after take after take, cheered the ball caught at the wall Lexi and I remembered the real cheers, albeit few, we gave at home games this year. I can't help but think the shot was a metaphor for our season. The Nats season needs a leaping catch at the wall, a game changing event to salvage this season. I just don't know where it will come from.

Take Me Out To The Ball Game!