How I got on the show
I am part of extrasonly. That is the website to sign up for to get onto Grimm in Portland. You can also give them some ideas of props that you have--like a car.
I submitted my name several times for parts. The reason they wanted me was for my car, but I'll take what I can get. :) In New York, if your an extra with a car, sometimes (if not all--I'm not sure) they will have you stay in your car. That is not how it works in Portland.
Seeing the Grimm and Hank
The PA, Amanda, had all five of us who brought cars, to wait in the holding which was in the back room of the restaurant where David Giuntoli and Russel Hornsby (Nick and Hank) were filming. I didn't get to see Mr. Hornsby other than behind the glass separating us, but I did get to see Mr. Giuntoli several times, walking through holding. During filming I was right outside the window of the cafe where they were talking.
I didn't get to hear any of their lines. But at one point, when we weren't filming, Mr. Giuntoli (the Grimm) looked out the window at the machine that washes the streets and sure enough, he looked exactly like he does in the show--all pensive and deep in thought. I smiled at him, but he was looking just past me so I don't know if he saw.
What surprised me
The extras on the show were all delighted to be on it, because it was Grimm. They happily said that they had set their devices to record it so they wouldn't miss the show that was going to be on that night. This is completely the opposite from the reactions of the extras in New York. Many there said that they didn't even watch themselves on the episodes they were on and didn't know anything about their shows. Between the two, I prefer the Portland excitement. I like the show too and it was fun to talk with fellow enthusiasts.
What I learned
Embrace the awkward. I rehearsed questions in my head driving up to Oregon City for the filming, I told myself that I didn't care how awkward I felt I was going to move forward and ask questions. Somehow giving myself permission to feel out-of-place and move past it really helped my determination to ask questions to the crew.
I received vocal permission from each of the following people to put what they said on my blog. That said, I did not record our conversations and hastily wrote down the general idea of what they said--so hopefully it makes sense.
Matthew Barbee, First Assistant Camera: "b" camera
Grimm is usually filmed with two cameras and with action scenes three. Actually, Matt did not tell me that, someone else did, but it gives some perspective.
1. What is an easy to camera to use when starting filming?
Canon 7D is good for beginners and if you want to spend more try a Canon C300 which is around $13K, but is rentable for somewhere around $200 a day.
2. I have two lenses at the moment--a kit zoom lens and a 50:1.4. What do you suggest would be the next lenses I should get? The 16-35mm; 70-200mm; and the 24-70mm, in that order. They are also rentable.
3. Many people I have talked to say that you just need to get making movies. I have been trying to make a 2-5 minute short a month. What do you think should be my next goal? Work with other creatives. People need to see that you can work with others. Watch other directors and learn from them.
Chris--whose last name I did not get and there seems to be three electricians with the first name of Chris, so if you see this Chris--you know who you are and if you'd like I can change this to your last name.
1. Please tell me what I can do to get the best results for lighting at the most basic level.
Natural light is the best and is generally the most forgiving. It can be soft. But avoid direct sunlight at noon. Don't be afraid of the shadows. Colored light is dramatic. Clear amber is basic Grimm lighting. (Note to self: Now, I'm going to really have to pay attention to the lighting and see if I can tell the difference when I watch the show).
Emie: Hair Stylist
1. How do you know how to do different period's hair? We are given several photos to use as inspiration.
Matt: Head Electrician: May be the best boy--but I could have misheard his name because I cannot find it. At one point he started doing the robot because the electricians had a running joke among them that when one of them was talking to a girl they do the robot.
What is your goal in the next five years? I think I need some ideas with that, could you tell me what would be some good goals? After your work gets better and better consider Public Access television. You won't be paid for it, but your work will be out there for people to see. Check it out in Salem, Gresham, MetroEast, Portland and Community TV. It must be the first showing of what you make.
Todd: Lighting or Grip
Use a reflector when light is behind the subject. It will diffuse light into the face of the actor. Grips shape light. If you get a reflection in the window of the lights you use a black sheet of paper. White reflects light. Black absorbs light. A good light to act like the sun shining through the windows is 4khmi-m40 .
Thank you so much to those who took the time to talk with me and to give me advice. You are doing great work and what you said meant a lot to me and to my readers!