At some point long ago, it became a goal of mine to be on a movie set that had at least one giant explosion. I had absolutely no idea how I was going make this happen, and for the most part it was filed away along with my other “wouldn’t it be cool” fantasies.
Fast forward a few years to late summer, 2009. I was living in Austin, underemployed, and trying to pick up every bar shift I could to make ends meet. I knew that there’d recently been a casting call for Robert Rodríguez’s Machete, so I asked a friend who worked for a local talent agency to put a feeler out for me. She made one phone call on my behalf, and just like that, I was on the call sheet as an extra for the rest of the week. I guess it really is “who you know.”
Shortly after getting the news that I had the gig, a production assistant called me and explained that the first day would be a big political rally, held outdoors. She gave me a standard wardrobe request: no patterns, no logos, no bright colors and at least two full changes of clothes. The next morning, I was outside a church in downtown Austin at 5:30 am, waiting in line to check-in. After a second check-in and some more waiting, they called all extras to the set.
We were led to the capital building, which meant that cops were on hand to re-route traffic throughout the day. I quickly realized the logistical nightmares productions like this can create.