“What is this green splodge here?” I murmured politely.
“That?” whispered the artist, leaning forward.
“That was the time I came home drunk, tripped up the stairs and knocked over a tin of paint with my ass.”
“Oh,” I whispered.
“And what is that large red streak there?”
“Ah,” said the artist, stroking his chin.
“That represents the enormous size of my -”
“AND CUT,” the director shrieked in Spanish.
I collapsed into a fit of laughter.
“You have got to stop doing that,” my friend and fellow ‘actress’, Emily, giggled with relief.
“It is impossible to keep a straight face.”
It was the 14th time the three of us had stood grouped around the same painting, pretending to look interested.
But it turns out the real art to being an ‘extra’ – one of those blurry nobodies you never notice on television – is controlling your own face while making everyone else laugh.
I had volunteered to work on the set of a new MTV show called ‘Ninas Mal’, which is filmed in Bogota.
The salary for two days ‘work’ was exactly two thirds of my month’s rent, so it seemed a good deal.
The days were long but the job was hardly taxing.
For the most part we sat around talking, reading and playing cards. I practised a lot of Spanish and drank a lot of coffee.
The scenes being filmed were set at the opening of an art gallery and the storyline involved several glamorous main characters who bitched and fought amongst themselves.
More importantly, the extras were directed to walk, stop, look at a painting, murmur a conversation, walk, stop… look at a painting… murmur a conversation…
The sound of the plastic clapperboard cut across the room once again.
“So,” I murmured, biting my lip and trying desperately to think of something serious or sad.
“What does this splodge represent?”
“Ah,” my ‘artist’ friend replied, failing to conceal the mischief creeping slowly across his face.
“There was this one time, my grandmother…”