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Signing up as a film extra by Tony
Signing up as a film extra
I am Joe and just eighteen years old, just left school with next to no qualifications to speak of, I always hated school and was always a bit of a rebel, if there was anything I could get away with, that was me. I had got into a bit of a rut in life and was looking for some excitement. My hair was long, but by far the best asset, I spent hours looking after it, washing and conditioning every other day and even every four weeks going to the salon to get it trimmed. It was very dark brown, straight and very thick, it always took at least an hour and a half to dry, I never used a hair dryer and always let it dry naturally, I always combed it getting a perfect straight side parting, that way my front always hung across my face a little and the length was about to my shoulder blades now.
The last time I was at the salon getting my usual trim, my stylist said to me, you should sign up with a company that film adverts for hair products as your hair is so perfect, have you ever thought about that? I said, no, never crossed my mind really, but I will look into it, I still have no job, so might be worth considering. That evening I went online looking at agencies specializing in that type of thing and came across an advert from an agency supplying people to the film industry, they called it being an extra. I sent an email with a photo of myself and a description of my wishes to be considered and sat back dreaming of becoming a film star, just a wild dream really!
The following week, I got an email from the agency saying that they were interested in placing me on their books for work involving just being on set as an extra. I was quite excited about this thinking it would lead to all sorts of things in the future. The money was not great, but it was a start.
The first job was as a student in a classroom sitting doing an exam, not very exciting, but we got paid for a day's work even though it was just a couple of hours. I did get several more jobs, but nothing more than a day at the most. I was just getting a little despondent when I was asked if I was interested in an extra's job which would last for nine weeks, but had to be prepared to sign a contract for that length of time, they needed to guarantee the same people for the duration of filming, obviously I jumped at the chance and signed up straight away. It was starting in two weeks time and we would be away at a location for filming in an old army barracks that was no longer used, we would be given bed and board, as they called it, but warned it was nothing fancy or hotel standard.
I decided to go for my usual monthly hair trim before I left, being as we were going to be away for a couple of months, I decided to get about three inches cut off the length so I didn't have to worry while I was away. I chatted with my stylist while I was sat in the chair and told her about my new job, she was quite pleased as it was her who suggested I go for this type of work. My haircut seemed quite a bit shorter than I was used to, but still came past my shoulders down my back, but about three inches above my shoulder blades, that was the shortest it had been for a long time.
I packed and left the following morning, the train journey was about three and a half hours, when I arrived there was a coach waiting to take us all to the location. There were about fifty of us in all and about seven girls to the rest of us guys, when we arrived after about an hours drive, it was like being in the middle of nowhere, very remote, we drove through a set of gates into a perimeter area in front of a load of what looked like long huts. We all got off the coach to be ushered into different areas, I was with a group of guys, eight in all, we were taken into one of the huts and this was our accommodation, four smaller areas each with two beds in, we were told to just put our bags away and report to the dining hall. I was put in with a guy named John, we were all about the same age, John and I made our way to the dining hall where every one of us congregated. A couple of guys came in and introduced themselves and told us all a little about the film we were hear for, it was about a platoon of youngsters enlisted into the army to train for active service, so we would be trained how to march, how to dress in uniform, how to polish our boots etc. Then came the crunch, he said you will all visit the barber shop set up tomorrow morning in the hall. My stomach churned at the thought of having short hair, let alone a cut as severe as an army cut, I piped up saying, we were not told about this before we signed the contract, I am not cutting my hair at all, I have just had more cut off than I usually do to last me the weeks I am going to be here filming. The one guy doing most of the talking said, did you read the contract before signing? I said, not really, I was told it was just so you could keep all the same faces here for the duration of filming. He then said, No, it clearly stated that every person here would have to undergo a military haircut, you have signed to say you accepted the terms. I said in that case I shall leave now. The guy said, ok, you may leave once you have paid back all the costs of getting you here, that's the cost of the train fare, the coach fare and the cost of the accommodation and any administration costs, that will amount to approximately £320.
I said, I don't have that sort of money, I can't pay that! He then informed me that failure to pay in full would lead to legal proceedings and then court costs would be added, that's why a contract was drawn up first, and you signed it.
I felt sick, how could I possibly get out of this? Most of the other guys had short hair already, I was the only one with long hair, apart from the girls, I said, what about all the girls then, surely they won't be expected to cut their hair too? He replied, yes everyone here will have their hair cut before we start filming tomorrow.
We were dismissed from the meeting, I went to speak to the group of girls, I said, are you all aware of this haircut demand? They all replied, yes, we read the contract and signed it, we all knew we would have to cut our hair short too.
When I got back to the hut, John was already there, he said, why are you worried about having short hair? It will look great on you, I said, I hate short hair, I am going to look stupid. He said, look, don't worry about it, everyone will look the same, even the girls.
We slept that night and had to be up and in the main hall by nine a.m. I was nervous about losing all my hair, but could not afford to pay all that money to get out of it, so had resigned myself to the fate that was about to happen. As we all sat there waiting for our names to be called, four of the guys came out from the barber shop, I felt so sick, my stomach was knotted up as I saw these guys emerge, there hair had been cropped to about an eighth of an inch on top and the back and sides were shaved to the skin with a razor, not a hair in sight, literally smooth and completely white. Then some of the girls were called in, they all came out with the same thing, but they all found it amusing, they looked across at me rubbing their shaved heads and taunting me.
They were all ushered to the next hall where they were given army uniforms and army boots and then sent back to their huts to get changed.
I was one of the last to be called in to the barber shop, John was just in front of me, he was instructed to sit in the barber chair and I was seated in the one next to him. The barber placed a cape around my neck and before. Had aI chance to speak, his clippers were placed at my forehead and quickly plunged back into my gorgeous long hair on top, the sound was horrific, the look of all my long hair tumbling down onto my lap was even worse, relentlessly the barber shaved wave after wave across the top of my head until I was cropped like all the others. The guard was removed from the clippers this time and the back and sides were reduced to just a mere stubble, I looked absolutely hideous, then came the worst part, shaving cream was applied to the sides and the back and a straight razor was used to reduce the stubble to a clean shaven skin, my skin seemed so white and looking down at the floor, my long gorgeous hair was plied up with all the other guys hair. I was now finished and walked out with John, he said, mate you look so good, I told you that you would. We picked up our uniforms and went back to change. I kept feeling the back of my neck, shaved smooth and devoid of any hair right up as far as my crown, I was absolutely devastated, I felt like crying, my long hair was so beautiful, how could I have been so stupid to not read a contract. John kept trying to make me feel better and telling me that I looked good, but deep inside I felt sick. We went back to the main hall where we were introduced to an ex army instructor who assured us all we would have fun training. I kept looking across at one of the girls who winked at me, smiling and in general flirting. We were told we could go and get some food from the canteen and then tomorrow morning we would start our training. I followed John and then this girl tapped me on the shoulder, hi, she said, I am Becky, you look amazing without all that long hair, very sexy, I felt myself getting very red and embarrassed, Becky said, after we have eaten, do you want to get out of here and go for a walk? I said, yeah, why not, meet you outside after I have changed.
I changed into a pair of jeans and a t shirt and met Becky outside, she had a pair of tight jeans on with a t shirt too, but had a baseball cap on, I said hey Becky, are you trying to cover up the army haircut, she smiled and said, on the contrary, I love my new haircut, I was so fed up with long hair. Don't you like it on me? I said, actually, believe it or not, I am quite turned on by girls with short hair, with that I ran my fingers up her shaved neck, it felt so sexy, I actually began to get hard by the feel. We had a very nice evening and agreed to do it again. She spoke about my hair and asked if I would keep it short, she said how much she liked my new look, which made me feel better.
The next few days went well and we were now ready for filming to start, I was surprised how easy it seemed and already I had got over the shock of the severe haircut, I was actually enjoying the feel of the shaved neck, I kept feeling it and loved the feel. On the next day one of the actors had called in sick and the director asked me if I could stand in, he told me there were only three lines to learn, did I think I could do it? I said I would do my best. He said, go down to the barber and get him to shave the back and sides again with the razor, I want you looking perfect. I did not argue this time, I thought this could be a help for me to secure other small parts as well.
I learnt the lines over and over and that afternoon I was in front of the camera with my freshly shaved haircut, I was enjoying every minute of this and the afternoon flew by, Becky congratulated me and asked if we could spend the evening together, I said ok, then the director said, I need you again tomorrow, you did well today, here are your lines for tomorrow, just a few again. That evening Becky helped me learn them, then we ended up kissing , this was just so out of the blue, but we both enjoyed it, she loved my hair so much and kept running her fingers up my shaven neck, I did the same, but said to Becky, your neck is getting stubble now and not as smooth as mine, she said I know, I am going to ask the barber to re shave me, just for your enjoyment Joe. Wow, that's great , I said, I was so turned on.
The following morning we started filming, I managed my lines perfectly, I was really enjoying this now, I felt like I was on the verge of a breakthrough with my life, the next few weeks went well and I was offered more work when this finished, my relationship with Becky was great and even though she was finished soon we felt we had a future, I had never had a serious relationship before, but this was magic, all down to a haircut I never wanted.
Becky and I agreed we would both keep our hair the same as we both loved it, and to this day, we still cut our hair every two weeks.