Homeland: My Experience as an Extra

by Jen on July 16, 2013

I’m not sure if you guys watch Homeland but if you don’t…you should. It’s an awesome show with a very engaging and interesting storyline. I have no idea why but Homeland picked Charlotte as their filming location and they are now in their third season of filming here.

7.16casting

Facebook was all abuzz last week with talks that Homeland was looking for yoga people to serve as extras in an upcoming shoot. I was clueless to the fact that there was even an extra’s group on Facebook but after receiving the info from several friends I decided to submit my photos and bio and see what happened. I was pretty shocked to receive an email from casting that they wanted to book me for the shoot.

Call time was 6 a.m. today. I received an email last night with details on where and when to arrive and what to bring. I arrived at “base camp” at 6 a.m. and had to check in with production, makeup and wardrobe. After we were cleared there we were sent on shuttles to location and instructed to hang out in the holding room until we started shooting.

7.16breakfast

While waiting for shooting to commence I enjoyed a cheesy and delicious egg sandwich and some fruit. Shortly after inhaling this we were off for our first scene. I am under strict orders to share no details about the scene, plot, etc with you but I was just a background person today. I did get to see Claire Danes quite a bit! I was sad to miss Damian Lewis (Brody) and Mandy Patinkin (Saul but who I absolutely LOVE from his years on Criminal Minds playing Gideon) but it was fun to just be on set all day! It’s such a production!

7.16pretzels

I had a really hard time keeping my hand out of these. It doesn’t get better than peanut butter filled pretzels. They were a great distraction during our downtime.

7.16lunchmenu

We broke for lunch at 12:30 and were sent back to “base camp” where there was a full catered lunch.

7.16lunch

It was 92 degrees out while we ate so I stuck with salad but still had a hard time getting it down. I really appreciated that they had a good salad option for lunch that wasn’t hot food.

7.16jenhomeland

After lunch we were sent back to set to the holding area for a couple hours before we were released. It was an almost 10-hour day for which we were only paid minimum wage but I’m happy I did it for the experience. Some of you might recall that I used to work in advertising and this was an excellent reminder of how interested I am in the production side of the business. If this fitness gig doesn’t work out, it’s definitely something I’d love to pursue from a photography or film standpoint. (Let me make it clear that I mean I want to do the behind the scenes crazy logistics stuff and not the in front of the camera stuff.)

7.16homelandgroup

I was lucky to have my friend Wanda on set with me and we grabbed a quick picture with our production assistant Nick before we took off.

Let me know if you have questions about my experience. Has anyone else ever served as an extra? If so, when, where and for what?

{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lisa July 16, 2013 at 11:52 pm

OMG Jen that is so awesome! Homeland is my favorite show, it is SO good, I can’t wait for the next season to begin. Will they tell you when your episode will air? Let me know so I can try to spot you, seriously how fun. I can’t wait to hear about all the fun details when you are allowed. Have fun!

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2 Jenn G July 17, 2013 at 12:20 am

Sooooo exciting!!!!!!! They are all wonderful , except Damien Lewis plays Brody not Howard Gordon, he is a writer :)

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3 Heather @ Health, Happiness, and Hope July 17, 2013 at 5:24 am

That is SO awesome. What a neat experience! I’ve never watched the show, but I’ve heard great things and it’s on my list to check out! You’ll have to give a head’s up when your episode is aired! :)

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4 Shashi @ http://runninsrilankan.com July 17, 2013 at 7:30 am

Never served as an extra – but have been curious – there seem to be a lot of filming going on in and around Atlanta and I get emails from “http://clcasting.blogspot.com/” often, but have not responded yet.
Sounds like you had an interesting experience!

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5 erin July 17, 2013 at 7:47 am

How random and fun! Can’t wait to hear more details when you can share them.

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6 Sarah July 17, 2013 at 8:06 am

I was an extra earlier this spring – fun experience! Can’t wait to see the season air!
Also, Brody is actually played by Damian Lewis :)

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7 She Rocks Fitness July 17, 2013 at 8:09 am

That’s so awesome and have yet to get into Homeland, but maybe I will pick up some of the DVD’s from the library and start catching up! Got to love Kirkland brand for their larger than life snacks. Those look good and have never seen them before. Have fun!

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8 Lee July 17, 2013 at 8:10 am

That is awesome! I can’t even imagine what’s going to happen in Season 3. Who is the mole??

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9 Ashley N. July 17, 2013 at 8:55 am

What a cool opportunity!! I have never seen Homeland before but I can always use a new show to get hooked on. :)

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10 colleen July 17, 2013 at 8:57 am

How awesome!!! This may be your big break! ;-) I’ve never watched the show, but I may view the “yoga” episode. Let us know when it airs.

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11 Krista July 17, 2013 at 9:00 am

Awesome! I love Homeland and Damian Lewis is dead sexy. :)

Btw, I was thinking of buying the top you have on in the pictures. Do you like it?

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12 Whitney July 17, 2013 at 9:06 am

Homeland is an excellent show! I have heard that a lot of tv shows/films are being shot in NC because there are great tax breaks as opposed to other places! Homeland has also shot scenes in downtown Belmont (about 20 mins outside of Charlotte) which is where I’m from so it’s cool to see. We’ve had quite a few movies filmed here. Glad you had a great time :)

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13 Whitney July 17, 2013 at 9:08 am

I’d also like to add that Claire Danes gets her nails done at Polished at SouthPark :)

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14 Tamara July 17, 2013 at 9:20 am

How fun! I don’t watch it but my husband has checked out some of it; I’m sure I’ll catch up eventually!

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15 Joy July 17, 2013 at 9:25 am

How great that you got to be an extra!

Just last week I got to see Liv and Stephen Tyler in the town where I live because she was filming a scene for an HBO series. I was just watching the whole thing from the sidelines, but I heard some people talking and one women said that she’s glad she’s not an extra anymore because there is just too much down time just sitting around and waiting. It was about 90 degrees and super humid last week so I felt really bad for all the extras (and the actors) who had to stand around in the heat all day.

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16 chelcie @ chelcie's food files July 17, 2013 at 9:34 am

that is SO COOL! i’m obsessed with Homeland!!

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17 Erin @ Sugar Magnolia July 17, 2013 at 9:52 am

How fun!! I would love to do something like that!! I’ve heard that show is amazing! And love your outfit (:

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18 Running Betty July 17, 2013 at 10:18 am

Did you do any yoga in the background?

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19 amy July 17, 2013 at 10:20 am

This is SO COOL!!!!! I love Homeland!!!

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20 Nicki July 17, 2013 at 10:31 am

Jen, what a fun experience! Especially for Homeland, which is the BEST show – love it, and had no idea they filmed in Charlotte. Being an extra just to see what the tv/movie industry is like would be cool.

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21 Kinsey July 17, 2013 at 10:53 am

I love Homeland! My husband and I were extras once for two separate days on a small (low budget) made for TV film. Unfortunately our experience was pretty terrible…extras were mostly young kids/teens and their parents, got yelled at a lot, and they ran out of food for us at base camp :( We worked 12 hour days in the summer outside on a college campus carrying book bags and whatnot, so it was super tiring. It sounds like your experience was much better (even though I’m sure yoga for 10 hours is no cakewalk)!

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22 Dana July 17, 2013 at 11:28 am

That’s super awesome!!! We have only stars at Y2!
I served as an extra once, years ago “Eddie the Basketball Movie” featuring Whoopi Goldberg- lol! I played a fan and clapped for 8 hours- whew~ It’s amazing how tiring clapping can be! It was a good experience-

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23 Mary July 17, 2013 at 11:35 am

I am incredibly jealous!!! Such a shame you didn’t get to meet Brody but so exciting that you got to meet Claire Danes!

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24 Jessica July 17, 2013 at 11:53 am

I was an extra in the Movie Road trip back in 2000 in Athens on the UGA campus. It was a lot of fun, and I was able to see Amy Smart, Brecken Meyer and Tom Green.

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25 Caroline July 17, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Omg sooo awesome! Homeland is my favorite show!

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26 Patti Smith July 17, 2013 at 1:02 pm

I love Homeland! What an incredible experience for you!! :)

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27 Karey @ Nutty About Health July 17, 2013 at 2:56 pm

That’s pretty cool!! I think that’s a neat experience to have. Love Homeland! :)

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28 Katherine July 17, 2013 at 3:55 pm

What a neat experience! so glad you got to do this!

http://therealfoodrunner.blogspot.com

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29 Jo @ Living Mint Green July 17, 2013 at 6:08 pm

That is SO cool! What an amazing experience – I would’ve done it for free! :D I can’t wait for season 3 of Homeland now – I’ll keep my eyes peeled for you.

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30 meghan @ struggle muffins July 17, 2013 at 6:23 pm

That is so cool, what a great experience! I’m a big Homeland fan and definitely share your feelings toward ‘Saul’ :)

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31 Andrew July 17, 2013 at 9:33 pm

Awesome Jen!

I was an extra for, “Growing Pains Reunion 2″. Yes, the show actually had a 2nd reunion movie. It was shot in New Orleans while I lived down there. I actually was featured on camera for 3 seconds. We had to rough up Christine(the add a child daughter towards the end of the series’ run)-boyfriend in the pool hall-when he didn’t pay up on his wager. We surrounded him and pushed him…and the camera couldn’t see it, but he was laughing. And, so we were we as we chased him out. You can kind of see me smiling as I am chasing him…but it was really quick. As for the day, it was long…a lot of sitting around…both on and off set. Joanna Kerns, aka Carol Seaver also served as the director…so it was cool to see her in action. Highlight of the day, Alan Thicke cut me in the lunch line.

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32 Megan@eatmybeets July 18, 2013 at 7:44 pm

Holy crap that’s so cool!! I love that show :-) Majorly jealous haha

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33 Mere July 22, 2013 at 8:17 pm

I’m just now catching up on your blog, and this post was great! (not that all your others aren’t) I was an extra last March (’12) for The Conjuring, and my experience was similar- on set from 6am until 11pm! There were 200+ people there, so it was hectic and not quite as chill as I expected. I went to see the movie this past weekend with the friends I extra-ed with, and we made it to the big screen!!! It was hilarious because we were squealing and it wasn’t even at a scary part! :p Thanks for sharing your experience. Like you, I would like to extra again- the experience fascinated me.

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34 kristy July 24, 2013 at 7:58 pm

for some reason i haven’t been getting your posts in feedly! i saw on IG you were an extra and couldn’t wait to read all about it. what a awesome experience! i love homeland and had no idea it was filmed in charlotte. can’t wait to see you next season ;)

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