Disclaimer – I do not own SVM/TB characters or stories. No copyright infringement is intended and no profit is being made. I just want to play with the Viking!
We slept in the next morning, arriving at the shooting location we were given early with plenty of time to assure a place to park. They had rented the old, unused middle school for the Makeup and Wardrobe Areas. The building was rented to the people of the town for many different occasions, and to arrange its use for such a thing was a terrific idea. It was conveniently located a block away from the main street just behind Dan’s. It wasn’t yet dark, so there would be plenty of time to prepare for whatever we were filming.
As we walked toward the entrance, I was mulling over all the events that had occurred last night when I heard JP’s voice.
“Don’t you think?”
He had obviously been talking to me and I had been oblivious.
“I’m sorry! Think about what?” I asked.
JP sighed and looked at me pointedly.
“I said it seems strange that we would be in this building so close to Dan’s and not even know where we are shooting. Everything seems to be revolving around there. Don’t you think?”
“I don’t know. I’m not surprised that they are using the school. It’s close to everything in town. I’m certain it won’t be long before someone tells us where to go and I doubt it will be to Dan’s,” I laughed.
We were the first of our group to arrive and, after signing in; JP was sent to the Makeup room while I was sent to Wardrobe. Peej said he had butterflies in his stomach all afternoon, but I felt strangely calm. I was comfortable in this environment and knew that my butterflies would come once we were actually on set.
More people were arriving, and because there were only four chairs for makeup, many of the extras were being sent to Wardrobe first. There was so much activity in the building, with the extras cast for the night shoot arriving while those who had been shooting the afternoon scenes were returning to change out of wardrobe. I was certain there was a constant flurry of activity all day. The Makeup artists and Wardrobe assistants were very friendly and let us know we were being put into our fangbanger makeup and costumes, and could proceed to the next area when they were finished. They moved quickly, and before I knew it, I was in my fangbanger costume and being rushed to Makeup.
Once my makeup was complete, I looked in the mirror and saw that I had very deep, dark, smoky eyes and glossy lips with a tint of red. My high cheekbones were highlighted to show contour and definition. My hair had been curled and teased into a wild mane; it made me feel sexy and I couldn’t wait to see how the costume I was wearing would complement the look when I finally was able to remove the smock and look in a full length mirror. When I did, I was shocked! I didn’t recognize the woman looking back at me. My makeup was finished with setting spray to make sure it didn’t run under the hot lights. We had been sent separate ways, so I didn’t see JP until we were herded out into a main room with the rest of the extras after we were readied. I had been put into the corset, black and gold short shorts and knee high leather boots that buckled up the sides with chunky heels. I felt I could even rival the outfits worn by Pam! That thought made me laugh and smile wider. When JP and I saw each other, we both had very widespread smiles, and then we clasped hands; both excited to get to work and curious about where we were going. We gave each other a head to toe look, both excited and impressed with the others’ appearance. We were definitely the epitome of fangbangers!
Peej was wearing the unzipped black jacket and black leather pants, complete with untied black boots. His makeup consisted of very heavy black eyeliner along with pale pancake makeup and his hair had been spiked up in all directions. They had applied very faint marks to his neck, chest, and wrists that looked as if he had bite mark-like scars still healing. I teased him that he was obviously a blood whore who gave it away to anyone with fangs!
Maria-Star came in and lined us up. She walked from one end to the other like a drill sergeant doing an inspection. She would stop at one person occasionally, check something on them, and move along. When she got to us, she stopped and looked down where we were joined back up to our faces. We immediately unclasped hands.
“Do you see the makeup on your hands and wrists?” she asked quietly.
“Yes,” we said in unison.
“Do you think that holding hands will smudge it? I see he’s got bites. Do you think they were put there for the fun of it?”
Neither of us said anything, but I felt like an idiot for not having realized it.
“I apologize…” I started.
She interrupted me, looked to everyone, and spoke louder.
“Don’t touch your faces, hands, necks, or anything else while you are in make-up and wardrobe unless instructed to by the director. The men and women on this crew just spent hours getting the right look for each of you. I understand you are excited, but this is a professional environment and you are not here to undermine their work.”
She ended her speech looking at me with a raised eyebrow. I could tell she was sizing me up. I felt as though she was trying to intimidate me, so I kept looking her in the eyes. After a moment, she smiled and nodded. She turned and motioned for us to follow.
We left the building as a group and were led through the parking lot, across the street, and directly to the back of the tavern. I couldn’t believe it! Peej was right! It seemed this place really was the center of everything. I started questioning why, and then I noticed the back entrance of the building. It had been overhauled completely and now looked exactly like Fangtasia, right down to the awning in front of the building and the fluorescent sign attached to the side.
I wondered what they had done to the inside. The set-up in the tavern wasn’t reminiscent of the vampire bar. It would have been more conducive to Merlotte’s, but if you shot from the right angle, I could imagine how it might work. Dan hadn’t mentioned any of this! I can’t believe he wouldn’t have already known! Everything must have been planned long before they arrived. I found it odd that he wouldn’t have said anything…
Maria-Starr stopped to address us.
“My staff will be here if there are any adjustments or touch-ups necessary. I am very pleased with the way you all look. I will see you tomorrow night. Thank you for arriving on time. Have fun, break a leg, and remember not to touch yourselves!” She smiled a little and laughed at her own joke. Everyone relaxed and laughed a little as well. With that, she turned and headed back toward the school.
The cameras, lights, boom mics, and reflecting screens along with many other pieces of equipment that I didn’t recognize were all in place. All they needed was us and the actual cast members. We stood off to the side while the crew moved things around, watching and talking amongst ourselves.
A man approached us and we gave him our attention.
“Good evening, everyone, and welcome to ”Truly Bloody.” My name is Alcee and I will be placing you per the director’s wishes to start the scene.”
Wait! What? After hearing his name, I didn’t hear anything else he said. I stood there staring at him while he continued to speak until I felt JP nudge me and begin to push me to the right.
“What the hell is wrong with you?” he whispered.
“I, uh, nothing.”
“Well, come on! He just told us to move over and line up by the door. What the fuck?” he said, keeping his voice low.
“I don’t know. My mind wandered for a minute.”
“Jesus, pay attention, Cricket!” he whisper-yelled.
He guided me over to where we were supposed to stand and I asked him if Alcee had given us any other direction. He hadn’t. Thank God! We were standing next to each other and Alcee looked over the line much as Maria-Starr had. Then he turned to a man whom I assumed was the director and they spoke briefly. The director pointed at JP and another woman in line, nodding, gesturing with his hand. Alcee returned to us and told JP to move to the front of the line with the other woman. I couldn’t hear everything that was said, but they were to appear engaged in conversation and would enter first and second into the bar. I saw JP introduce himself to the woman. She put her hand out and they both looked down at it, and then started laughing. I laughed a little too, watching as they remembered they weren’t supposed to touch.
Alcee moved me to near the back of the line, but out of direct sight of the camera. He said we were space fillers to make the line look larger, and I was mostly hidden by others. That was fine with me as I was still trying to focus back in the now. I introduced myself to the two men who were with me in line. They were both dressed less like the rest of us and more like regular college students. One said he was hoping to get lucky with a vampire and the other said he wanted to watch. We all laughed at that. They had worked out their character’s back stories already. That was one of my favorite parts about acting when you had a small or non-speaking role. They asked who I was, and I told them that I was there to get a job as a dancer or feed the Sheriff, whichever came first. We all laughed quietly again.
Our attention was brought back to the scene when someone called “Places!”
I hadn’t noticed before, but Pam had made her way to the door and was chatting with JP as he was right in front of her. At the call she stepped back, struck her bored pose, and looked at us, the vermin. When “Action” was called, I saw her say something to JP and hold out her hand. He checked his pockets and pulled out some money. As she took it, she grabbed his arm and looked his wrist. A wry smile graced her face as she lifted the velvet rope and let him in. She then did the same with the next woman in line, holding out her hand for ID. However, when the woman pointed to the door in protest that she wasn’t being let in with him, she was shown some fang and scurried out of line. Pam smiled. I watched this out of the corner of my eye as I quietly pretended to make conversation with my fellow actors. Just then, Pam stopped and straightened up as if someone had called her. She turned her head to the man behind her, and he took her place at the front of the door as she started to turn and head inside. The action looked as if Eric had ‘called’ her. Before she fully turned, I saw her stop and look directly at me through my ‘man wall.’
“CUT!” was called.
“Let’s do it again. You are supposed to go inside when you are called, Pam, not stop and look back. Set up the scene again, everyone!” called the director.
She looked at him and apologized. JP reappeared and took his place in line.
“Scene seventeen, Take two,” a girl called as she closed the clapperboard.
The scene was repeated and this time I found her eyes on me sooner.
“What are you looking at? Just do the scene and let’s move on. It’s only a one minute scene before we move inside,” The director said.
She continued to look at me as she apologized again.
“Scene seventeen, Take three,” the girl called.
The scene progressed, and this time I could tell she was making a conscious effort not to look in my direction. When the time came, she turned and headed inside the building.
“Cut,” The director said.
Alcee came over and told us to go in. We would have a few minutes while they set up the next shot inside and he would give us our places then. I watched them tear down the equipment as I made my way to the door. Everything was so impressive, I felt like a kid in a candy store watching the efficiency at which they performed their tasks.
When I entered the building, I was completely amazed by what they had done. I really felt like I was in Fangtasia! The wall coloring and decorations had been changed. The platform I had sung on the night before had been moved and now held ‘the throne.’ Everything was different. I looked around trying to find JP and saw him on the other side of the room talking to Alcee. I started to head in that direction when a voice stopped me from behind.
I turned and saw Tray standing by the wall.
“Oh Tray, hi, how are you? I didn’t see you.”
“You should pay more attention.”
“I didn’t know you would be here during filming.”
“Protection,” he grunted.
“I guess someone needs to keep the townies away during the filming, too,” I laughed.
“I’m always around when they’re out,” he mumbled.
“Yeah, I knew you were a bodyguard the way you watch the door and everyone around the actors. They’re lucky to have you. I’m sure the fans can get out of hand pretty quickly.”
Before he could respond, the extras were called to the set for our places.
“I’ll see you later, Tray. It was nice talking to you.”
I entered the main part of what was now Fangtasia and took in my surroundings again. I was taken aback at how it was exactly the same down to every detail. My butterflies finally started kicking in, and I started smiling unconsciously.
JP had been placed at a table near the bar with a drink in front of him. He smiled when he saw me come in and gestured around. I nodded, still smiling. I saw Pam had been moved to the dais and was talking to the director. I looked around until I found Alcee and watched while he placed the extras around the room at various tables or stances by the bar and walls. I was waiting my turn by the wall for him to place me when I saw Eric walk into the room and head for the throne.
I felt my knees buckle when I saw him. He commanded attention, and I looked around to see that every head in the room had turned to watch him take his place. He was dressed in a black button-up shirt, black jeans, and black boots. His shirt was unbuttoned enough to see a long gold chain with a pendant. I couldn’t make out what it was from my distance, but I thought it looked like a hammer. His hair was short, which was different than last season, and it suited him better. He was glorious. He was the living picture of the man I stared at on my computer screen every day. I took a deep breath. I had to keep my cool if I was going to successfully stay in character and not stare at him throughout the scene. Damn! It was going to be difficult!
Alcee approached me, and then told me that I would be standing at a high top table at the back of the room watching the Sheriff.
Well, that little problem was solved!
He said I would be alone at the table with a drink in front of me. At the end of the scene, he would beckon me forward. I would walk toward him, and then he would grab me by the arm and we would leave through the door. The next scene would take place in his office, which was actually at a different location. I nodded and tried not to show my absolute, relentless ecstasy at his directions. He asked if I got it and I nodded.
I was eager to get this show on the road!
Though I was in the back of the room, I had a front row seat to all that was happening while I was staring at the dais. Pam was standing to Eric’s right and when “Action!” was called, she leaned over and spoke to him quietly. I couldn’t hear the conversation over all the other noises and music playing in the room, but the boom mic was close to them, so I knew it picked up all that was said.
After a few minutes of conversation, their attention was drawn to the doorway of the room behind me when Sookie and Bill entered and walked straight to them. He had his hand on the small of her back and she was standing straight as she faced down the Sheriff.
I wished I could hear the lines of dialogue! From their body language it was clear that something serious had happened in Bon Temps to Sookie or someone close to her and she was blaming the Sheriff. That figures! Fortunately, my role kept me watching intently as I stayed in character and tried to read his lips to no avail.
He smiled and appeared to speak civilly to her while she became more enraged, pointing her finger at him as Bill tried to calm her down by placing a hand on her arm. She shook it off and turned to stomp out of the room. Before she left, she turned back to Eric and said something else very sternly. His face became serious and morphed into anger at her display.
Her action caused the others in the room to turn their attention to her on cue and then to the dais. Fangs snapped down around the room and Pam shot the ‘vampires’ a look that stopped any movement. She looked bored and irritated at Sookie’s display, but made no move other than to stand erect at Sookie’s last proclamation.
At Sookie’s final outburst, Eric stood and called, “Miss Stackhouse…” She waved him off as she turned to make her exit and shouted, “Save it for someone who gives a shit, Eric!” He paced a step or two and back until Pam put her hand on his shoulder. He appeared to relax slightly when he sat back down, but his face was that of a caged animal as he turned his head to her and said something causing her to step down from the dais and head toward the door. She noticed me as she passed, but only looked at me from the corner of her eye when she stepped out of camera range.
Eric sat agitated on the throne for another moment scoping out the vermin, contemplating his next move, and looking for the tall, blonde woman at the back of the room he was to settle on and summon. He looked in my direction and held up two fingers to beckon me forward. This was it!
I knew from experience on stage that it was impossible to see past the lights when they were facing you. Everything was in shadow past that point, and he was only facing my direction as he had been instructed. That gave me even more of a thrill in my stomach, and I put my mindset into my back-story of the woman who had wanted to be called by the Viking Sheriff and moved with purpose.
As I walked from behind the table and took two steps toward him, I heard Pam say “Oh, Hell, NO!” from behind the open doorway to the other room.
The music and all conversation stopped as everyone moved back into their previous places except for me. I wasn’t sure where the scene would pick back up and if I should step back behind the table. Instead, I watched with rapt attention when I saw the director turn toward the doorway and motion her to him, much as Eric had just done to me.
“Just what is your problem tonight?” he asked her. Without the background noise, it was easy to hear their conversation even though they were speaking quietly.
“I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to ruin the scene.”
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Eric step down and walk over to them.
“You have been distracted since we began this evening, and now you call from off stage for no apparent reason. Are you having an issue with tonight’s scenes? You should have spoken to me beforehand. You know I am always open to your thoughts as well as the rest of the cast.”
Before she could answer, they were interrupted by Eric.
“Is there a problem here?” the question was directed to both of them, though he was looking at her.
“No,” she answered as she unconsciously glanced in my direction.
Eric’s eyes followed hers to me, and they widened slightly as he appeared to recognize me. They stayed on me only briefly before he turned back and looked at her. He said something very low that I couldn’t hear. Pam looked at him and stepped back out of the room silently. The director didn’t move to stop her or say anything as Eric quickly directed his attention onto him. He was listening very intently to whatever Eric was saying. The only words I could make out were the last two. He said, “…not her.” The director nodded slightly.
Not her? Not who? Not me?!
When their conversation was over, Eric stepped back to sit on the throne, and the director called Alcee over and spoke to him briefly. He then called a ten-minute break.
Everyone stood and stretched as the crew reset the scene. Alcee approached me and told me the director wanted to move me from my previous position behind the table and place me on a stool at the bar next to where JP had been. He had stepped out of the room during the break. Alcee told me that when the scene picked up again, I was to face the bar and chat with JP and the bartender.
I questioned if the entire scene would be reshot since it would seem odd that I was not there before and now I would appear. He explained that it shouldn’t matter since the scene would be cut so that it wasn’t noticeable, but that he truly appreciated my attention to detail and concern for the continuity of the scene and would pass that along to the director in case it was an issue during editing.
I was so hurt. It was stupid, I know, but it still hurt. I felt my eyes well up, but there was nothing I could do. I was an extra, and if they didn’t want me in the action that was the director’s choice. I sat on the stool and turned to face the dais. I found Eric looking at me. Did he not want to act with me? They hadn’t even seen me act. I know that my dejection was clear on my face when I looked at him, but so what?
He stood and took a step in my direction. As he moved to step off the dais, they called “Places” and he was forced to turn back and sit on his throne, returning his attention to the room while Pam once again took her place at his side. JP was surprised to see me when he returned, even more surprised to see I was on the verge of tears. I shook my head and turned toward the bar. Right then, I was so relieved to have my back to everything.
I heard the scene progress to the point where it had stopped before, and, after a moment, I heard him speaking to someone; no doubt ‘glamouring’ my replacement to go with him. The scene ended with them brushing past us as he held the woman by the arm and left with her through the door. I was so miserable and humiliated that for the first time I hoped we were done for the night. I just wanted to go home. I got my wish shortly after when I heard “Cut” called. They were moving to a new location and we weren’t needed. I knew what that meant. They were going to shoot the office scene with the ‘feed and fuck’ that was not me.
We were dismissed and I listlessly rose from my stool. JP continued trying to get me to tell him what had happened. I was sure by that point he had guessed and wanted to let me talk it out. I didn’t want to talk. I wanted to wallow. I planned to wallow. I planned to go home, drink, and probably cry myself to sleep. I was being childish and foolish, but I was more than devastated by what had happened than I should have been. I had to keep reminding myself that I was an extra and this wasn’t a big deal. At least it wasn’t to anyone aside from me.
As we were walking across the parking lot, I heard someone call my name. I stopped and turned. Eric was walking toward us. I looked to JP and told him I would catch up in a minute. I didn’t bother to wipe my eyes. I knew it would be harder to remove the stage make-up if I smeared it into my face. He stopped in front of me. I looked around and didn’t see anyone else near us as I gave him my attention.
Aurelia Gliwiski as Chelsea ‘Cricket’ Kerrigan
Alexander Skarsgård as Eric Northman
Sean Hayes as JP
Kristin Bauer van Straten as Pamela Ravenscroft
Anna Paquin as Sookie Stackhouse
Stephen Moyer as Bill Compton
Salma Hayek as Maria-Star
Taye Diggs as Alcee
Jason Momoa as Tray
Vincent D’Onofrio as Dan
A/N: As always, a huge thank you to MsBuffy for her editing on this chapter. I couldn’t do it without her. Please leave a review and let me know what you thought. 🙂 Thanks for reading!
Don’t hate me! *posts and hides*