ATLANTA (AP) — Associated Press Writer Jonathan Landrum Jr. switched from reporter to acting as one during the filming of Starz's new sitcom "Survivor's Remorse," co-executive produced by NBA superstar LeBron James.
Landrum, a newsman based in Atlanta, spent more than five hours recently on the set of the show for a red carpet scene at the Fox Theatre.
"Survivor's Remorse" focuses on a young basketball star dealing with major success and opportunistic family members after signing a multimillion dollar contract with a professional team. The half-hour scripted comedy series premieres Oct. 4.
Landrum describes his experience as a first-time extra.
First steps on the set (7:10 p.m.): With more than 260 extras, production workers and cast members moving in various directions, I tried to process my surroundings. That was until a woman at the check-in table asked for my release form, which I forgot in my car a few miles away. "No release form, no scene," she said. Luckily, there was a stack of blank forms on a nearby table. I quickly scribbled my signature, printed my name and address, and handed her the form. Now, I'm back in motion.
Wardrobe (7:30 p.m.): Preparation is key. I brought three different suits, all stashed in my garment bag. A wardrobe specialist pulled me aside and asked, "Whatcha got? You got clean dress shoes? A tie? Any dress shirts?" I came prepared, but for some reason the wardrobe specialist's quick demands caused me to nervously thumb through my options: a black suede jacket with dark gray slacks, a light gray pinstriped suit and a navy blue suit. The specialist surveyed my choices, pulled out a blue-and-white polka dot tie and said, "This one. Let's go with the navy blue." She walked away. I never saw her again.
Makeup (8 p.m.): After getting dressed, my next stop was the makeup chair. It was my first time wearing makeup, but the process wasn't too bad since it only lasted about 5 to 10 minutes. Afterward, I was told to hang out in cool areas so my face wouldn't sweat too much. I sweat easily, so I took heed.
Downtime: For about two hours, there was nothing much to do except eat dinner, which I consider a hobby anyway. I took the time to do some people-watching, mainly of the show's actors. It was interesting to see how some of the lead actors spent their downtime, from the show's star Jesse Usher sleeping on a sofa, RonReaco Lee playing the piano and Tichina Arnold chatting on the phone.
Lights, camera, action (9:45 p.m.): I have been on many red carpets, and this scene seemed like the real deal. I wasn't given too much direction, except to stand in one spot and act like a reporter, pointing my recorder (my iPhone) at anyone who passed by me. I wasn't to say a word. OK, no problem. I stood mostly behind the main cast, sandwiched between a married couple acting as photographers. It was their first time as extras, too.
"This was fun doing this together," the husband said. "What a way to spend a Friday night."
Golden Rules for Extras: Before I left shortly after midnight, I chatted with producer Hilton Smith. He said extras should always be on time, be prepared, do what they are told, remember they are background, do their paperwork correctly and do NO over-the-top acting.
"I didn't notice you, which means you did well," Smith said.
Follow Jonathan Landrum Jr. on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MrLandrum31
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