Packing my bags for Hollywood….

Ok, so not really, but I did have a very unique experience today that has a surprising running tie in.  I received an email earlier in the week from the Twin City track club that a local movie production needed runners of all types for a “race” scene.  I looked into it and thought it sounded fun and replied to the email with my name and contact info and got back a quick reply with instructions for Saturday.  I was going to be in a movie!!

The movie is called “Goodbye to All That” and is directed by Winston Salem native Angus MacLachlan (screenwriter for Junebug).  The IMDB page is HERE Although there’s not a lot of info on there since this is early in the production which just started a couple weeks ago.  Today’s scenes involved male lead Paul Schneider, who is also a North Carolina native.


I think “good and valuable consideration” is movie-speak for “You get to hang out on a movie set all day and tell your friends you are in a movie” since we certainly didn’t get paid (not that I expected to).

The day started out with a good bit of “hurry up and wait” which of course is always expected.  We got our clothing approved by wardrobe and then headed out to the set, then they picked the ones they wanted and the rest of us went back to the community center (“holding”) to change clothes.  I was smart and brought street clothes with me since although I had signed up for a “runner” I had a feeling they may also need me as a “spectator”.  For the first scene I ended up as a spectator.  By the time we got back to holding, it was time to break for lunch, so we stayed there and ate lunch, then they decided to film a scene with the actor by himself (which took several hours) so we basically sat around and cooled our heels and wondered what was going on.  Then we finally got back out to the set to start shooting our scene.


Our first scene involved the finish of a race, where our hero is going to win the race.  Those of us who are spectators were lining the course and cheering for him and he came by and then cheering for the next two or three guys who were coming after him (who were extras like us who got picked as “runners”).  It was a pretty fun scene, and of course as you would expect, we went through the scene 10 or 12 times.  3 times from one camera angle, 3 times from another camera angle.. a couple times with a close up of him and his daughter etc etc.  Was fun though.   The camera was pointed right on me as the scene started, so there’s a good chance I’ll actually make it on screen.


After they wrapped up this scene, then we had to hustle back to holding to change clothes quickly for a different scene.  In this one I got to be a runner! But I didn’t actually run.  For this scene (which was a different race) the dejected hero is moping back to his friends after not winning this race (although he had a medal).  For this scene, I’m in the background with the female who won the race and we are celebrating with her big trophy.  So I know for SURE I’m in that shot since we’re definitely supposed to see the winner behind him.  I’ll be interested to see how this plays out in the movie, if this is before or after the race he wins.   Even if I’m out of focus in the background I’ll still be there.

It was certainly an interesting experience, even though it’s small, uncredited, unpaid parts, it’s the background extras that make the scenes realistic.  As we were celebrating with the trophy in the parking lot, there were people walking through the parking lot as if going to a car, and then on the road behind us a couple of women who were runners were still running (or finishing) the race.  So really three layers of “background”.  Adds a lot of depth.  For the first  scene the only background was us spectators, but that’s a more controlled environment.

I may try to do that again! It was actually pretty cool.  Now I can’t wait for the movie to come out!

  • About Me

    I am a recent graduate in Food Science (NC State, 2009) and I work for a major food manufacturing company. I love food, but I can no longer eat anything that crosses my path. About 24 months ago I begin a serious struggle to get my obesity under control and reduce my chances of developing Type II diabetes. Since September of '09 I have lost 50 pounds and I still have a long ways to go. I've started eating better and exercising more, including taking up running.