For the past five years I’ve been moonlighting as a film extra in Paris. The first time I responded to an ad I saw somewhere, perhaps the American Church, specifically looking for American extras for a vernissage scene of the film L’Un Reste, L’Autre Part (the logic being that Americans buy art, they wanted our voices in the background). We stood around for two days in a gallery on the Quai Malaquai drinking Canada Dry (they don’t give extras real Champagne, of course) for a five second scene. After that, the same casting director calls whenever he needs someone who fits my “profile” which they keep on file. Being a freelancer, I tend to be available when most other people have to be at work. The pay is low (usually €100 for a full day), the job mostly requires standing around waiting to be called on set, and the food at the table for “figuration” (extras) usually consists of cookies, Pringles, soda and coffee. But you meet some really interesting people and get to see the behind-the-scenes of the film industry. And it gives me an excuse to go watch French films.