I got a call on a Wednesday afternoon by a Central Casting director from Burbank, California. It was November 2011. I was asked if I had wanted to work as a background extra on a Fox TV show called, The Finder. I said ‘yes’ and was told to be on the Twentieth Century Fox studio lot on Thursday afternoon at 1pm.
This new show was to be a spin-off from the Fox TV drama called, Bones. It would also be a mid-season replacement scheduled for January 2012. The casting director informed me to show up dressed like a regular bus driver. The TV show’s director would take a look at me along with other actors. It was raining pretty hard on that Thursday as I got off the bus a few blocks from the studio. I could see the Fox building where the movie, Die Hard 1987 was filmed.
I got there ahead of schedule. I went to a sound stage where they had built a set that duplicated a bar in Miami, Florida. That is where the TV show is located. They were shooting some scenes as I was led into a waiting room. There were four other men there who dressed more like bus drivers than me. We waited for an hour and a half. The TV director and two assistant directors lined us up next to the sound stage. The director handed us all a sheet of paper and watched our reactions.
The assistant director asked us all a couple questions. The director then walked down and chose me plus one other actor. I was told to call central casting the next day for information on where the production would be located. Part of the episode called, The Great Escape was to be shot at a bus station in Norwalk, California.
I got to the location shoot. The wardrobe lady already had a bus uniform ready for me to wear. I got dressed and several of us background extras were driven over in a van to the TV set. We had to wait for the cast and crew as they shot other scenes in Long Beach, California. The technical crew was setting up in the greyhound bus station parking lot. It was lunch and we ate catered food near by. One group of background extras got to eat first because they were in Long Beach at 5:30am that day.
When the shooting of the scenes began. I was not chosen. I sat in the lobby of the bus station and watched the other extras work around the lead performers named Geoff Stults’ and Michael Clark Duncan. In this episode they were searching for a missing person. Scene take after scene take was shot as the sun began to set in the west. I was wondering if I was going to work at all.
The TV set atmosphere was fun and exciting with a group of talented actors and actresses. I was enjoying it when an assistant director asked me to follow him as the next scenes were being set up. I was excited to be the only featured extra bus driver in the background. It was simple. The lead actor chases a fugitive behind the bus station as I get off my bus during the commotion.
That scene was shot eight times. After each take, the assistant director would tell me what to do with my reactions. Even the TV director came over and gave me some advice. Then, it was over and I had my moment. We had a dinner break as the next scenes were set up. The sun was gone and night was upon us. They chose several more extras for the bus station lobby scene and then it was over.
I watched the episode called, The Great Escape in February where I had appeared. It was brief and I certainly looked like a bus driver. It was a good day in the life of a featured background extra. Fox moved The Finder to Friday nights at 8pm/7pm central time. Check your local listings. You can also visit the official Fox TV website for full episodes of the show.