By Kevin Vose
It was dark as Mark walked into Burton film studios for his second day as an extra on a movie about a famous female socialist.
He had finished at 8.30pm the day before and, as he was expected back at 6.15am the next day, had slept at a friends.
Waking up at 5am he put his training shoes on his bare feet, shut the door then realised he had left his socks inside.
At the studios he donned the suit he had been fitted for, then asked the woman in charge if he could have some socks.
Why, what happened to yours? she asked
She looked at him as if he were a child after his explanation.
Then he caught sight of Marianne Savoy, an American actress he had seen on another production.
After having a moustache attached he was playing a country gentleman Mark had breakfast with the other extras. Ten minutes later his tache was dripping with baked bean sauce.
Aw right old bean? Feeling a bit droopy? Asked Terry, a professional comic and extra.
Eh? Mark mumbled in response.
Your tache is falling off, he replied.
Oh thanks, Mark said, and looked at the actress he had spotted earlier.
Do you know her? Queried Terry.
She was in a film I was on. I had to escort her to her limousine in the movie. I was a security guard.
Oh did you? Asked Terry enviously. Shes a looker.
I know, Mark replied. I fell for her.
Terry laughed. Youve no chance
No He said with embarrassment. I meant I tripped up on the red carpet and fell in front of her.
Terry laughed, but wasnt to be put off.
You should have asked her out?
I offered to take her to the folk session at the Pig and Pigeon.
He quickly added, Shes a Cajun music fan from Louisiana plays the accordion.
She just laughed! Mark answered.
I was told off for speaking to an actor once...
Mark interrupted him hed heard it before.
Do you think well finish early tonight?
I doubt it. Why? Terry asked.
Theres a Cajun dance on.
Terry laughed. Ive heard of Cajun chicken. Sounds fowl to me.
Ignoring him, Mark replied, Its music from Louisiana in the US.
Before he could reply the floor runner appeared and said, All gentlemen stand on the right, police on the left.
Ten minutes later Mark was seated in a church hall listening to speeches by Brigitte OConnell, a famous socialist played by Marianne with an Irish accent.
Four hours later he had heard her make four speeches 10 times each, such was the length of time taken by the director, who, Mark noticed, was examining old photographs. Suddenly he looked straight at Mark.
Whats your name? He asked.
Mark? he answered with a worrying look.
Do you fancy being Neville Chamberlain?
He nodded, wondering what he was letting himself in for. The director looked at the costume lady who had laughed at Mark over his socks, said, Could you dress him for me, please?
She beamed at Mark and said, Follow me, Mark.
Seems Im on first name terms now, he mused, as he was fussed over by his nemesis of the morning.
He wondered how they were going to use him and if he would meet Marianne, but it was an unwritten rule that extras shouldnt talk to the stars. But he knew she liked him by the glances she directed his way.
Suddenly the floor runner appeared and shouted, In this scene Miss OConnell is invited to tea at Neville Chamberlains, but instead hands him a petition.
His heart thumping, Mark was directed to a studio that had been made up to look like a grand house, where the assistant director introduced him to Marianne, who was having her dress adjusted by the haughty makeup woman.
Hi. Weve met before, the star said with a smile.
Hello again, he said, and received a surprised look from the costume lady.
Just open the door and take the petition from Marianne, the assistant director advised.
Okay, Mark nodded with a confidence he did not feel.
Right, lets rehearse! shouted the AD.
Marianne walked to the door followed by a bevy of reporters.
Mark opened the door and shook her hand, took the petition and placed a note in her fist and winked.
Five minutes later the assistant director shouted, This is a take!
The cameras rolled and as Marianne handed the petition to Mark again, she winked.
Cut! Came the call.
Mark opened the note contained in the petition, which read.
Its a date, my chauffeur will find you when weve finished, Marianne.
Right, lets do it again, the director said, and Marianne try not to wink!