The Vast of Night Movie Update: Week 3

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I’m glad I’m doing these The Vast of Night movie recaps now because I’m already beginning to forget things! You can read about weeks 1 and 2 to catch up if you’d like, and I’m now onto week 3 of my time in Texas (which was also week 2 of filming).

Week 3 Recap

Fortunately the first week of filming was pretty easy on my end. Not too many actors to dress, and I had some time to prepare and gather more clothing for this week, when I needed it! This was my sink or swim week and I think I came out (fairly) unscathed!

Each night this week we added on more featured actors and extras going from two actors on Monday night’s shoot, to three on Tuesday, 25 on Wednesday, 30 on Thursday, 43 on Friday, and I honestly have no idea on Saturday – 200? 300? a million? It felt like a million!

Extras waiting on hair and makeup early in the week.
Extras waiting on hair and makeup early in the week.

One really nice thing about the movie all taking place in one night was that a lot of the extras from Wed-Friday returned each night which meant we only had to decide on their outfit the first night they were there and then just kept their clothes together each night to give back when they returned the following day!

Saturday, which was the night I had been preparing for since March, actually went about as well as I could have hoped! Once extras began arriving and checked in with the production team, we started pulling them in a handful at a time (our room only had five dressing rooms).

They’d check in at a registration table and then Michelle and I would evaluate their outfit (if they came in one) or bring them clothing to try on. Once they were dressed they’d head back to the registration table to “check out” – basically letting us know if they had any of our clothing or not! (Since we had a ton of borrowed stuff I was terrified of people walking off with it!) The extras would then get in line for hair and makeup!

movie update
This was early Saturday afternoon, when we just thought things were busy. We were wrong!

This system worked well for about an hour, maybe? Then we realized there was a line of people wrapped around the building and that there was no way we could get the 400 or so people who showed up dressed in a matter of hours with only five dressing rooms!

I left the dressing in the capable hands of Michelle, my friend Megan and my mom (I recruited some extra help for the night!), and I started going up and down the line of people pulling out extras who were already dressed appropriately.

We had posted photo guidelines on my blog to show examples of the kinds of clothing we wanted extras to bring if they had them. (If they didn’t, we would dress them.) Some people did an amazing job and others showed up looking like characters from Grease, which was exactly what I didn’t want!

Trying to get things somewhat organized!
Trying to get things somewhat organized!

Around 8:30 that night they were ready to start filming so the rest of the people still in line were told to just go to the gym as is. Which is great for having lots of a bodies in the scene, but a little tricky when it’s a period film and people need to be dressed a certain way. :)

My next hour or two was spent running up and down gym bleachers and rearranging people. Once they had shot one take of the scene I got to see the footage and then moved people around again, now that I knew exactly where the camera would be!

Someone snapped this photo of me in the stands, I look a little intense, ha! (I felt a little intense!)

At one point I went up into the stands to move some people and I guess no one realized I was still up there because I soon heard them yell action which meant I dropped to the floor and crawled my way through the bleachers trying to stay out of the scene. I do kind of hope this is the cut that makes it into the movie and that somewhere in the stands you can see my poorly hidden body!

It wasn’t too long after this that one of the boys who had been an extra all week approached me. “Ma’am (all those Texas kids were so polite – which made me feel old!), I don’t know if you know this, but I think when you were crawling on the ground that you tore a hole in your pants.” I immediately looked down the front of my legs and at the sides not seeing anything. “No, I mean, there’s a hole on the back, on your, well, on the back of your pants.”

Guess who had a giant half-dollar sized hole on the back of their black jumpsuit? Guess who prefers thong underwear? (TMI?) Guess what things don’t go together well?? (That would be thong underwear and holes in pants)

Nothing like the confidence of doing your job in front of hundreds of people, only to show them your bottom later. A safety pin saved my pants and what was left of my dignity. :)

My brother, Marcus and me. He was running the camera for the big gym scene.
My brother, Marcus and me


Want to make a 1950s cheerleader costume on a budget? Grab a long full skirt (I found these blue ones here, less than $20 each!), a sweatshirt from Walmart, and some sneakers we found at Family Dollar for $10 a piece. (Don’t forget the white ankle socks!) Grab a towel that’s the same color as your skirt and trace the school name initial and cut out and sew or tape on. Voila!


And I asked these high school boys if they wish that these basketball shorts would come back in style…for some reason they weren’t loving the short shorts! :)

I didn’t get any other photos from that night (including the entire other side of the gym!) but maybe you’ll get to see the movie one day!

You can read an update here!

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1 Comment

  1. glenda ross says:

    It was a wild Saturday night for sure. I’m pretty sure there WERE a million people. And we talked, moved and hurried every one of them!
    Great job Jamie and crew.

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