Kyle's Career Filmstrip: TV Series and Movies

Jul 9, 2010

The past four years ...

Below is a blog that I wrote a couple of weeks ago. Please do not repost this blog or recreate it without my permission. Thank you!! I will post on the forum later today, why I would like to keep this blog post on the downlow. Thank you again!!

Recently, I had the bitter sweet privilege of filming the final Austin games for the show, Friday Night Lights. This show has been a huge part of my life for the past four years. I'm a fan of the show, but I'm also a background extra. I started out getting booked in the hopes of meeting Kyle Chandler. That turned out to be just the beginning of an amazing chapter in my life and my family's life.

The first scene we filmed was a church scene. The cool thing about that was, that it was REAL! A real worship service going on while we were filming. How cool is that? When my kids and I showed up, we met the most interesting people and were introduced to a culture that I never knew existed. It was like dropping in on another planet. I was hooked.

The next filming was also a church scene. I actually found the nerve to tell a production assistant about my son and ask if there was any possible way we could meet Kyle Chandler. After we were done filming, we got to meet him and he was beyond gracious.

And from that point on, I, along with my family have been devoted extras. We've done football games, church scenes, restaurant scenes. I've been a wife to numerous men and and a mother to numerous children. I've laughed and cheered at pep rallies and I've cried at a funeral. I've worshipped in at least two churches and have eaten my way through many restaurants in Dillon.

I've met celebrities, aspiring actors and folks who love the show, and like me, want to support it in the most tangible way possible. How many people get to actually work on the set of their favorite show, alongside their favorite actor? It's been one of those unusual blessings in life that I thank God for often.

That's not to say that all is perfect in Dillon. There have been some times when I wonder why I'm doing this.

The process of being an extra is very much like the military. There have been some report times as early as 6:00AM. You show up on set half asleep with wardrobe in hand and are immediately herded into a sign in line. Once you're signed in, you fill out your voucher, then you wait in the wardrobe line. The wardrobe line is reminiscent of my days in basic training. The wardrobe lady looks at what you have, inspects you and tells you what to wear. After that is all done, then you hurry up, get changed and then......you wait. and wait and wait and wait. Then just as you get lulled into relaxing, the production assistants come in and start barking orders. You're then told where to stand, when to walk in and what to do as often as it takes to get the scene right.

There are times when the weather is not on your side. In Texas, the weather can go from 90 degrees to 50 degrees in a half hour and you have to stay in the cooler clothes for the sake of continuity. The call times can be hard to deal with. I've had early morning call times and I've driven home from filmings as late as 5:AM There are extras on the set that are so ambitious and competitive, that they'll gladly step on you on the way up the ladder. The lying, tattling and pot stirring could rival any soap opera. And conversely, there are extras that are just there to either meet Tim Riggins, or get an easy paycheck for little or no work. It's amazing how shocked some of these folks are when they realize they actually have to work to get that check.

All in all, it's been an unforgettable ride. I can't believe it's been four years. This experience has changed me in ways that I never thought possible. I'm not afraid of little things anymore. I'm not such a homebody anymore. I have more confidence in myself and I'm more willing to try new things. This show has really taken me out of my comfort zone and for that I will always be grateful.

Some really cool memories...

Meeting kyle!! What an awesome, humble person he is. He has made me and my family feel special and for that, he will always have a special place in my heart. What a treat it has been watching him do what he does best. I've gotten to watch him turn into Coach Taylor. I've gotten to watch him fool around on set and show us his food and throw a football around like a big kid. I've gotten the opportunity to tell him how I feel about him, that I pray for him and his family and that I'm thrilled that they are all here in Texas together. I wish Kyle the best and i'm so glad that he was Coach Taylor.

Showing up on camera!! OMGosh, this was the one thing that always surprises me. I never go into a scene trying to get on film, so seeing myself is always a special treat. First time i showed up on camera was season two, sitting right behind Landry. You could see me for a whole five or ten seconds. I was floored!! I've showed up a few more times since then and it never fails to make me all giddy inside.

Being a fan on the set. I'll never forget filming a dance scene on a Friday Night, watching Friday Night Lights in the holding area while waiting to film!! I have no words to describe how surreal that was.

Friday Night lights and my faith. I'm a born again Christian. Since this show came on the air, i have felt compelled to pray for the cast, crew and the show in general. The fact that my first booking was a real church scene, just showed me how this show can be used to connect Hollywood and God in a real and powerful way.

The friendships. I have met so many different kinds of people through this show. Before FNL, My circle of friends and aqaintances were either military spouses like myself, or friends from church, again, like myself. I've met people from this show that I never would have met otherwise. I'm so blessed by the friendships that have been formed over the past four years.

Friday Night Lights and life imitating art. My son is a junior at Judson high school, a football powerhouse here in Texas. Before this show, he had no interest in football or FNL. After watching a few episodes, he became a fan. He opened his eyes to the world around him and started to show an interest in high school football. Today, he's the Judson athletic photographer, and an aspiring film maker. His influence? FNL creator, Pete Berg.

The cool factor. I can't tell you how many people think i'm just the coolest person on the planet because i'm on Friday Night lights. I have to admit, it's fun having an instant ice breaker at parties. I really do get a kick out of hearing people say that they've seen me on TV.

So that's been what the past four years has meant to me. People have asked me if I'm sad about this show and this chapter of my life coming to an end. I am sad to a point, but then i think back to an interview with one of the producers. He said something to the affect of there was a story to tell and when that story was finished, the show would be finished too. I have every confidence that this story will have a good ending. I'm so blessed to have been a part of it all and I'll never forget it. Clear eyes, full hearts....

2 comments:

  1. An awesome account of your experiences. As a late-comer to Friday Night Lights who got caught up by watching DVDs and/or Netflix, it's hard to fathom that it really has been 4 (going on 5 now) years since this awesome show began. That realization will hopefully make it easier for me to let go of my favorite show when the time comes.

    Thanks so much for sharing your experiences and insights with all of us.

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  2. What a wonderful post. It amazes me to read about what an interesting, challenging, and worthwhile experience you've had. I don't think anyone can believe that FNL has been on so long- it seems so strange to me when I realize that 2006 wasn't yesterday and the series is almost in its fifth and final season. I was fourteen and a middle schooler when the series started, and going into my junior year I appreciate that through all my ups and downs, my happy times and heartaches, that this show has been there with its positive influences. I think the fact that this show feels personal to all of its fans is why it is so hard to let it go. Thank you for this hearfelt post.

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