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Just about everyone knows someone who has been bullied, in ways big and small. Understandably, though, many victims are reluctant to speak about their experiences. We found some who aren't.
*On Wednesday, March 21, tb-two* staff writer Angela Skane got the chance to be an extra in the movie Spring Breakers, which stars Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens and Ashley Benson as college students arrested for robbing a restaurant, who get bailed out by a drug dealer, played by James Franco. The movie has filmed at several Pinellas County locations so far, and is scheduled to be released in 2013.*
By Angela Skane, St. Petersburg High
“Are any of you comfortable with making out with another girl?” was not what I expected to hear at 10 a.m. Wednesday morning. A producer for the movie Spring Breakers was walking up and down rows of people looking for prospects, but no one seemed up for any random girl-on-girl spring break action. There were about 70 of us at this point in the morning, anxiously waiting in black folding chairs at the hotel where the shoot was taking place. Directly above us, on the second floor, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson, Selena Gomez and Rachel Korine were filming a hotel room party scene.
The day was long, but well worth it for me. From 9:45 a.m. when we arrived until we began setting up for filming at 2:10 p.m., we had to sit in silence -- can’t talk when cameras are rolling! -- and wait.
All the “spring breakers” were armed with empty beer cans and bottles and neon Solo cups. They poured Monster energy drink in the clear cups to resemble beer. I was placed on the second balcony level overlooking the pool near the DJ, who wasn’t actually spinning, just acting. I thought to myself “I am never going to make it on camera up here.” They filled the balconies directly above and below us and the pool. They began playing music and told us to have fun. Everyone danced and pretended to have a total blast.
I will admit I was shocked when I saw what the crew referred to as the “A” team: select girls who got paid $150 and ran around the set partying topless. Now I see why extras had to be at least 18 years old. Despite the girl-on-girl action down by the pool and the topless women, the camera crane passed right by my face multiple times, so I was getting more and more pumped.
After about an hour or so of filming us partying, the crew began moving people from my left down to the other end of the balcony. To my surprise, the four stars of the movie walked out of one of the rooms and onto the balcony just a few people away from me. It was sort of hard not to gawk at the fame to my left. As extras, we weren’t allowed to approach or talk to the stars, so I just watched them out of the corner of my eye. Despite being starstuck, I had to go back to pretending I was on spring break; I danced and yelled right alongside Vanessa, Selena, Ashley and Rachel.
The stars left and people slowly began to trickle out, even though we were asked to hang tight. I stuck out the full day, and lucky me, I found myself in the presence of stardom again. This time, Selena and another actress from the film, who wasn’t famous (yet), filmed a short dialogue one person over from me. I was close enough to see the small music note tattoo on Selena’s right wrist and listen to them run their lines. As they spoke their dialogue, I continued to act like I was on spring break.
As soon as they ran their lines and the director yelled “Cut!” my day as a movie extra was over. I shuffled out with the masses and waited in the parking lot for the white 13-person shuttle to take me to my car, which was parked a mile down Gulf Boulevard in the extras' parking lot. Definitely not a chance you get every day. In my case, Spring Breakers won’t be my first big screen appearance; my breakout performance was in the Jonas Brothers 3D concert movie as an excited fan. I’ll accept autographs next time we meet.
In the photo: A video camera on a crane swoops overhead to get a unique angle as hundreds of local college-aged kids get in on the action as extras, dancing, partying, splashing and having fun in the sun during the filming of a pool scene. Photo by Melissa Lyttle, Tampa Bay Times.