My One Day In The Movie Business


Growing up, I was never the type who dreamed of becoming an actor or being involved in movies. I was the person who enjoyed watching movies, not being in them. In fact, I avoid being in student documentaries and other similar projects in my previous college, SUNY Orange.

It took a series of extraordinary events which led me to my acting debut on Oct. 24, 2018. 

It was a Wednesday which meant I’d have class from 9:00 a.m. all the way until 4:00 p.m. By far my busiest day, so I was just looking to get through it and go home as fast as possible. 

The morning was business as usual, I went to my concept of physical wellness class and then met up with my friend Issac for Lunch until our English class together at 2:30 p.m. This was when things began to change this day from just any other day. 

This gentleman, whose name I never learned, came up to Issac and me outside the campus library. He asked if we were busy and what the rest of our day was like. In the spirit of stranger danger thinking, we told him we had class and couldn’t be involved in whatever he needed. 

He then gave us his card, to us explained he was from the History Channel and said if things change to give him a call. They were filming something near the college and needed extras. We laughed this off as kidnapping 101 and went on our way to lunch to kill the time before class. 

We were joking about all the way to our class door a few hours later when we said a note on the door. Before explaining the note, it’s important to note that our English professor suffered from chronic back pain. I can’t recall the note verbatim on the door, but essentially the message was this. 

“Class is canceled today. Pick up new medicine for my back and took too many. See you Friday.” 

Now, there are a lot of places you can go on just this note alone. Did our professor just overdose on prescription painkillers? The school obviously wouldn’t put a note like that, so she had to drive there and do it. How did our teacher drive high as a kite and manage to put a sign on the door without anyone noticing? How could she be so confident she’d see us Friday?

I could go on and on on this note alone, but that will be saved for another column. 

The important thing to note is our teacher is unavailable so we could just go home. This was when Isaac looked at me. He brought up the History Channel gentleman and gave his pitch on why we should roll the dice. 

Being a bit more cautious, I pondered the idea for several seconds before agreeing. The way I saw it, I’m a fan of the History Channel, and you have one life to live. If it’s meant to end by being lured in by a fake History Channel show, then that’s how it’s meant to end. No point in fighting it. 

I give the guy a call, and he texts me an address just about a mile north of our college. Not too far, so even better for us. If it goes bad we just run. 

So, we made our way to what we saw was an abandoned factory which was concerning, but we pressed on. We made our way inside and saw a whole movie crew running around. They welcomed us graciously and ask us to sign papers before we went to the costume room. Being the intelligent 19 year old we were, we signed without reading them and went to the next room. 

I was opposed to the costume idea, which for some reason surprised me, but I had no idea what the movie was about, so I went along with it. 

They gave me this 1800’s era factory worker costume. I only know that because the label said so. I put on the ridiculous outfit and met up with Issac, who thankfully was still alive and unharmed. You can see me mid-scene pictured to the right carrying the basket.

They then sent us up this large staircase where we were thrown with other extras waiting for their chance under the bright lights. 

It was at this moment I learned the name of our film, “The Food That Built America. It was a continuation of the series on the making of modern America, which I had enjoyed so I was excited. 

This lasted for entire 90 seconds when I realized how cold it was. It was now about 6:00 p.m., and the sun was setting. Easily was in the mid-40s by then, and we were dressed for the movie, not for warmth. The struggle to stay warm was the main focus of the next few hours. 

In time, another person came over and explained we’d be going on set soon. Our role was factory workers in Henry Heinz’s Ketchup Factory and have various simple unnamed tasks. 

I was just happy to be moving and not sitting freezing to death. 

At this point, I met two of the main actors. Michael Bradley played Henry Heinz’s assistant or something to that degree. He was cool, very polite, and not a jerk. The guy who played Henry Heinz was an absolute jerk and a miserable human to be around. I did not care for him at all. 

My role was simple, however, so I didn’t interact with them too much. Over two hours, I carried two baskets to and from tables as a background character. Isaac was off doing his own background work. 

At around 9:00 p.m., we finally got to go home. We were miserable but glad we went. We were even more glad when our paycheck came in with was a considerable amount.

All and all not a bad Wednesday but definitely my first and last acting experience.