Goes to B-5
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Part 1
So You Want to be an Extra

Special Report from the other side of the Galaxy.

by staR-L Dietz
As usual, I started my trek to Babylon 5 - LATE! As I tied up all of my loose edges, I had expected to be on the (yellow brick) road to Hollywood by Thursday evening (February 26th) but I wasn't able to leave Spokane until the crack o' noon on Friday. To make a long story shorter, I arrived in Los Angelos on Sunday evening and made contact with my man (Jason Howard) at the space station. Jason informed me that I was "expected" at wardrobe by 6:00 a.m. the following morning.

Of course, I did try to get some sleep that night. I turned my van into a bedroom and hit the sack about midnight-thirty. I had to set the alarm for 4:00 a.m., because the 40 mile commute to the production facility would take well over an hour (if I was lucky) and I HAD to make coffee and turn my bedroom back into a van. I fooled them, though! I not only arrived on time, they thought I was AWAKE!!!

So, I'm walking through the gate and into the back lot looking for something that looks like "wardrobe" and I see a few other zombies doing the same thing and I follow them. Lucky break! It's the right place and when I get to the front of the line I give the girl my name and she hands me a slip to fill out. I get into the next queue and when I get to the head of that line, I am asked what size I am and the girl hands me some black rags and shoes and I go into a small trailer to change clothes. By 7:00 a.m., I look like all the other extras (well, the 'human' extras). I am told to go to the 'makeup' trailer. After another half hour wait, I am informed that "they don't do beards" and I can go into "Stage A" and wait for instructions.

"Stage A" is where all the "Zocolo" scenes are filmed and I remember it from my first visit to B-5. It is about 50 yards long (or 47.893 meters, if you prefer) including the 'bent' end that simulates the curvature of the station going off into infinity. It is only about 10 meters (or 39.37 feet) wide so you can see how it can get pretty crowded in a hurry. There were about 50 of us extras, six 'principle' actors (I'll mention them later) and over 25 people in the production crew.

7:30 a.m.: We, the extras, are all waiting in the hallway. I have been talking with several people who have been extras before. One guy named Todd was showing pictures of himself as an extra in the newest "Lethal Weapon 3" movie. He was a fireman in one of the blow-em-up scenes.

Several of the "Centauri" women actually shaved their heads because they were regular (returning) extras and had been in many episodes over the years; I did recognize a few of them. Even without hair, they were very pretty. For the next few centons (15 minutes) three different official-looking people came into the hallway to give us conflicting directions. We all listened attentively and then said "What?" When the "Floor Director" came in to give HIS demands - everything became clear (as a Spokane night in February).

The episode in which I will appear is titled "The Wheel of Fire" and will be shown November 4. (Sorry, no photos.)

I'm going to cut this short now because I fear I will run out of space (and time). In Part 2, you can learn what a "Hollywood Extra" does for 12 hours at Babylon 5. Incidentally, since my return from B-5, I have been deluged with requests for my autograph. There is only one sure way to get my signature. That is to purchase one of my many images that have appeared on the sets of Babylon 5.

Read more about Keystone Astronomer goes to Babylon 5 (part 2)

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