Chicago List: Out of Hibernation

It’s been a while since I drafted a new list of things to do around the city. With summer ramping up, it seemed a perfect time to build out something fresh, a brand new list of what I’m looking forward to doing and seeing and experiencing as the city comes out of hibernation.

The 3 Arts Club Cafe in Chicago’s Old Town neighborhood

Continue reading “Chicago List: Out of Hibernation”

Extra, Extra

As I look for creative ways to fill my time (and pay my rent), I finally looked into a link a coworker had sent me once, for an agency called 4Star Casting. Based here in the city, they’re an extras and background casting agency that provides warm bodies for everything from emergency scenes in Chicago Med to crowd scenes for the latest movie to film in the Windy City.

You’ve got to jump through a few hoops, but generally speaking it was fairly easy to get on their roster as another name in a long list of names willing to be in the background. Once I’d signed up, I quickly saw a post calling for chic, business-like extras needed that very same night. An overnight shoot for Widows, Steve McQueen’s newest film, they were looking for people to mill about at a hotel bar where two actors were meeting for a drink.

I’d heard of Widows, not only because Chicago gets itself in an adorable tizzy when big productions come to town, but also because of that time Steve McQueen came to the Chicago Int’l Film Festival. He came to be honored at the Festival, but also – at least according to word on the street – to location scout for this very film shoot.

What does it mean to be an extra on a major film production? I’m not sure I could really tell you, but I can share what my one night giving it a go was like. It involves a makeup triumph, comical eavesdropping and, you know, witnessing an Oscar-winning director direct a few scenes. Continue reading “Extra, Extra”

Walk With Me

I recently made a change in my employment status, stepping away from the formality of full-time office work in order to pursue my own client work (and preserve my sanity). It’s been a great few months, and things are starting to come together (though not to the point that I’m ready to blog about it in detail just yet).

While I work on piecing together a business that is exactly what I want it to be, the world keeps spinning and the rent is still due on the first of each month. As it does. Which means I’ve had to get creative about where to generate income, and fast.

It was actually on the plane home from Paris that I wondered what kind of film tours were offered around Chicago. I’d taken several walking tours while in France, and so the idea was fresh in my mind. It’s a fun way to explore a new city, and I’ve actually been a guide before, having given campus tours to prospective students when I was a senior in college. Continue reading “Walk With Me”