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  #1  
Old 15 June 2007, 04:41 PM
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Default If film extras speak, they become actors

It is true that if a person speaks in a film, they are classed as an actor, but if they stay silent they are considered an extra. I presume extras are cheaper to hire also.
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  #2  
Old 15 June 2007, 04:45 PM
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There was a Monty Python skit about that....
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  #3  
Old 15 June 2007, 04:47 PM
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It is true that if a person speaks in a film, they are classed as an actor, but if they stay silent they are considered an extra. I presume extras are cheaper to hire also.
My husband has worked on films and done some extra work as well.

I believe what he said is that an extra who speaks a little (a line or 2?) is considered a featured extra and is paid more. I'm not sure how much more, or where the line is between featured extra and actor.

But I think this is all regulated by the Screen Actor's Guild (SAG).
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Old 15 June 2007, 04:57 PM
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My writer buddy has told me about this. Even a single line apparently gets you scale wage as an actor. This of course doesn't mean you get credited for it on imdb, but you get a little bit more cash for it.

When he was working on a show, the producer's wife got just such a deal. She was dressed as a cop, went to the captain, and said, "Here's your reports", and walked away. She got something in the neighborhood of $3000 for that line.
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  #5  
Old 15 June 2007, 05:04 PM
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SAG defines nonspeaking extras as "Background Actors." If a background actor is given even one line of dialogue, he or she becomes a "Day Player," and is paid at a higher rate.

The exception is if the background actors have "omni" lines--usually improvised murmurs and gasps, etc. (the crowd mills while people mutter "rutabaga, rutabaga" to each other).

In the recent live-action Charlotte's Web, the crowd at the fair was told to improvise expressions of amazement at seeing Wilbur the pig. Their murmurings had to be overdubbed, because they were all Australian (the film was shot Down Under, not in rural Maine), and somehow having the crowd say "Blimey!" and "Strewth!" seemed odd.
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  #6  
Old 15 June 2007, 05:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Brad from Georgia View Post
SAG defines nonspeaking extras as "Background Actors." If a background actor is given even one line of dialogue, he or she becomes a "Day Player," and is paid at a higher rate.

The exception is if the background actors have "omni" lines--usually improvised murmurs and gasps, etc. (the crowd mills while people mutter "rutabaga, rutabaga" to each other).
Never heard rutabaga - I've heard "peas and carrots" though. What is it about crowds and vegetables?

Quote:
In the recent live-action Charlotte's Web, the crowd at the fair was told to improvise expressions of amazement at seeing Wilbur the pig. Their murmurings had to be overdubbed, because they were all Australian (the film was shot Down Under, not in rural Maine), and somehow having the crowd say "Blimey!" and "Strewth!" seemed odd.
Those murmurings are always overdubbed. They don't film those live because they want to get the actor's lines without distortion, so crowds in scenes are murmuring (and clapping) at an indetectable volume or silently.

Loop groups then are hired to do the crowd noises - conversation, applause, etc.
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  #7  
Old 15 June 2007, 05:13 PM
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I was surprised recently to learn than American crowds say "peas and carrots" because British ones say "rhubarb rhubarb." "Rutabaga rutabaga" is a new one on me.
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  #8  
Old 15 June 2007, 05:19 PM
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I was surprised recently to learn than American crowds say "peas and carrots" because British ones say "rhubarb rhubarb." "Rutabaga rutabaga" is a new one on me.
Oh you wacky Brits!
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  #9  
Old 15 June 2007, 05:21 PM
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....



Those murmurings are always overdubbed. .....
Nope. I was in a movie, as an extra in a crowd scene, and you can hear my distinctive laugh now and then.
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  #10  
Old 15 June 2007, 05:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad from Georgia View Post
Nope. I was in a movie, as an extra in a crowd scene, and you can hear my distinctive laugh now and then.
Cool, what movie?
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  #11  
Old 15 June 2007, 05:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chloe View Post
... British ones say "rhubarb rhubarb."
Dutch crowds enjoy the same vegetable, though I feel "Rabarber" rolls off the tongue just a bit easier than "Rhubarb": "Rabarber-Rabarber-rabarberabarberabarber..."
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Old 15 June 2007, 05:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Joostik View Post
Dutch crowds enjoy the same vegetable, though I feel "Rabarber" rolls off the tongue just a bit easier than "Rhubarb": "Rabarber-Rabarber-rabarberabarberabarber..."
Ooh, we need a cross-cultural linguistic analysis of this phenomenon!

ETA: This is not it, but I can't resist saying "Voila!" http://www.ruyasonic.com/sfx_walla.htm
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  #13  
Old 15 June 2007, 06:09 PM
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One film I was watching recntly used crowd noise I recognised because it was also used as the background crowd sound to Rollercoaster Tycoon. While most of it was generic murmering there are a few few distinctiv laughs and what sounds like a growl.
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  #14  
Old 15 June 2007, 06:12 PM
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My college roommate's Dad had one line in the movie "Country" as an extra/actor. At the time, he told me "we had a good Christmas that year". He's actually listed in IMDB as well -- not sure if he's on the movie credits as I haven't seen it in years.

-Tim
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  #15  
Old 15 June 2007, 07:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad from Georgia View Post
Their murmurings had to be overdubbed, because they were all Australian (the film was shot Down Under, not in rural Maine), and somehow having the crowd say "Blimey!" and "Strewth!" seemed odd.
Crikey! What the bloody hell was wrong with that!?
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  #16  
Old 15 June 2007, 07:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by annabohly View Post
Cool, what movie?
Blood Salvage, known in its foreign escape--uh, release, as Mad Jake.
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  #17  
Old 15 June 2007, 08:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bthyb View Post
Never heard rutabaga - I've heard "peas and carrots" though. What is it about crowds and vegetables?
"Watermelon, watermelon" also works. So you can add fruit to those vegetables.

In live theatre, the improvisations are generally made-up lines that fit in with the situation. I recently did a version of "It's a Wonderful Life" in which the crown noise during the "bank run" scene was a bunch of us repeating things like, "Did the bank really close its doors? What am I supposed to do? I have to feed my children, and I can't do that without money!" etc. There were only four of us making the crowd noise, but we sounded pretty mob-like.

The only time I've used "watermelon" or "rutabaga" or whatever in a live performance is when I have forgotten the words to a song in choir, and end up mouthing the fake-out word in time to the music.
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  #18  
Old 16 June 2007, 05:11 PM
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I've read in a message board on imdb that the Roller Coaster tycoon crowd sound bite is used in a lot of movies. There was actually a bunch of movies listed and, apparently it was distinctive enough to recognize.
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  #19  
Old 16 June 2007, 06:49 PM
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It's funny because when they needed the Orc crowd noises Peter Jackson went out in the field and got the crowd to chant. The sound guys were actually able to get some usable material out of it.

Oh. And be kind to your foley artist! They are the ones who make nearly all of the sounds, after all.
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  #20  
Old 16 June 2007, 08:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Movie_Fan View Post
I've read in a message board on imdb that the Roller Coaster tycoon crowd sound bite is used in a lot of movies. There was actually a bunch of movies listed and, apparently it was distinctive enough to recognize.
My favorite distinctive sound used is the creaky door from TES: Daggerfall. I've heard it in several movies and TV shows, the latest of which was the English Robin Hood TV series. I know why this happens; when I worked in radio we had a big crapload of CDs filled with sound effects. It's likely - probable, even, that the same 2 or 3 companies that made them for us make them for everybody. It's just hilarious to hear that no matter what the century, no matter what the genre, doors creak exactly the same.

Also, the goat sound, which was actually used in a Divine Comedy song (the one where he quotes Wordsworth; the name escapes me at the moment).
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