During the summer of 2006, my best friend and I drove to Cedar Rapids very early one morning to be extras in a baseball movie called The Final Season. The movie tells the true story of when Norway High School was about to be consolidated into the Benton Community School District, thus bringing an end to the school’s 19-state-title-winning baseball team. In order to squash public resistance, the beloved baseball coach is replaced by a young whippersnapper (played by Sean Astin) who the District hopes will lead the team to a losing final season. Now, I know you, the reader, probably have two questions in your head right now: 1. Did Sean Astin lead the Norway team to a victory?! You will have to check out the movie to find out. and 2. How does a person go about being an extra in an Iowa Baseball movie? Aha, I knew you would ask:
A Short Guide to Being an Extra in an Iowa Baseball Movie:
1. Listen to local radio stations. As soon as they announce an Extra Opportunity, immediately change all your plans for tomorrow. You are going to be in a movie!
2. Don’t worry if you get lost on the way to the stadium. They will still have LOTS of donuts when you arrive.
3. Wear only solid colors. You may think that your Iowa Hawkeye T-shirt is totally appropriate for a crowd scene in 1990, but the producer only remembers people wearing plain colors and Nike Swooshes.
4. Make sure your best friend has a spare tank top in her purse in case you forget to follow rule #3.
5. Bring a library book because the movie will not start filming until several hours after you got your donut (click here to see what I was reading that day).
6. Watch Sean Astin’s every move, and try to figure out exactly how many feet away he is standing.
7. Finally, you get to ACT! Get your hands on a pom-pom prop as soon as possible.
8. Develop a strategy with the extras next to you. For example, during home-run scenes: hug one person, high-five two people behind you, and then punch the sky. Keep track of your actions for each scene so you can spot yourself in the movie later.
9. Forget to put on sunscreen. Thus, later in the evening when everyone is asking about the sunburn on your forehead, you can answer “Oh yeah, I was in a baseball movie.”
10. After 10 hours of cheering and reading, decide it is time to grab your free Taco Bell coupon and leave. You are now a member of a very special group that includes, but is not limited to, all the people in the traffic jam at the end of The Field of Dreams.