The Office Set Visit 2009: Day 2

Being an extra

There is a specific procedure that each extra follows every day:

  1. Arrive on set at the designated time. (Before you leave set the previous day, you are told when your call time is for the next day.)
  2. Get in line at the Pavilion tent and pick up your voucher. (You can’t get paid without your voucher!)
  3. Get in line at wardrobe. Exchange your voucher for your wardrobe.
  4. Go inside the changing tent (one for guys, one for gals, and the only area that is HEATED) and change into your wardrobe.
  5. Go out and do your acting thing. :)
  6. At the end of the day, go inside the changing tent, and change back into your own clothes.
  7. Get in line at wardrobe. Exchange your wardrobe for your voucher.
  8. Get in line at the Pavilion tent, sign your voucher, and turn it in.

Here’s the breakdown of extras (according to the call sheet):

  • 26 Utica: 15 employees, 8 friends/family, 2 teens, 1 child
  • 26 Albany: 15 employees, 8 friends/family, 2 teens, 1 child
  • 22 Nashua: 15 employees, 6 friends/family, 1 child
  • 27 Corporate (NY): 15 employees, 9 friends/family, 2 teens, 1 child
  • 27 Buffalo: 15 employees, 9 friends/family, 2 teens, 1 child
  • 15 Scranton: 12 friends/family, 2 teens, 1 child
  • 10 Akron: 10 employees
  • 10 Rochester: 10 employees
  • 3 bar/drink servers
  • 4 caterers
  • 6 other children, 6-8 years old
  • 3 other children, 3-5 years old, for Utica, Albany, Nashua
  • 3 other children, 3-5 years old, for Buffalo, Corporate, Scranton

While this isn’t the most number of extras ever used in an Office episode (someone told me that honor belongs to ‘Dwight’s Speech,’ which employed around 400 extras), ‘Company Picnic’ is definitely the most logistically complex, with both a large number of extras PLUS an outdoor location shoot.

This was the first day of picnic shooting, and I arrived woefully under-dressed. And by under-dressed, I mean, I was dressed for 70 degree weather, when it was actually below 40 degrees most mornings!

I was clearly not a “professional extra,” but I was surrounded by them.

You could tell who they were, because they brought their own carry-on luggage, replete with outerwear for every possible weather condition. During those freezing cold mornings, I could see extras wearing floor-length down coats, hats, scarves, and gloves.

What did I have? Jeans, t-shirt, and light canvas jacket. I was freezing my ass off. I would go to the food truck, fill up a cup with hot water, and use it to warm my hands.

All extras were given the instruction “Wear one outfit for the week, and come hair and make-up ready.”

When it was my turn to receive my wardrobe for the week, I received an apron. “You’re going to be a grill cook.” Cool!

About an hour later, though, as I was wandering around the picnic grounds, one of the Office staff walks up to me and says, “Jennie, we’re changing your assignment, you’re now going to be a Buffalo employee,” and hands me the bright orange t-shirt. They grinned and said, “you’re part of a special branch.” Haha.

I can’t remember when or how I found out that “special” meant “eliminated,” but by the time we started shooting our big scene, I knew exactly what was going to happen.

I talked to quite a few extras, and determined that the majority of them were NOT Office fans. Many had never watched the show, and a few didn’t know who Steve Carell was.

All, however, were very happy to be extras that week, because The Office staff had the reputation of treating the extras well. Much better than on other shows, it seems. And one extra told me, “…and to be able to be an Office extra for an entire week, well, I feel like I won the lottery!”

I didn’t take any photos of the food this time, but just let me say, we were fed very, very well. As in a hot breakfast buffet with a breakfast burrito truck on the side, fully catered lunch with beef, chicken, fish, pasta, salad, and dessert for lunch, plus a hot snack and trays of sweets in the afternoon. We were not lacking for food. Ever.


  1. Another great report tanster! I would give ANYTHING to take a pic with John and Jenna!

    And this is a bit off-topic, but I read somewhere that Angela Kinsey was born in Lafayette, Louisiana, which really surprised me because I am also from Louisiana and visited Lafayette many times!

  2. “…the majority of [the extras] were NOT Office fans. Many had never watched the show and a few didn’t know who Steve Carell was.”


    New rule: ALL extras should be Office fans who might only DREAM of being that close to the filming of TO. It’s only fair, I think.

    Otherwise, another great report tanster, thanks!
    PS-Do you realize how jealous everyone will be when they see that pic of you with JAM? LUCKY!

  3. I love your detailed summaries of the days! Makes me feel like I was there, kind of. Keep up the good work, Tanster!

  4. I agree, the extras should always be Office fans so they can fully appreciate what they’re doing! I would give anything to be an extra.

    I love the detailed reports, Tanster, great job!

  5. I agree with erinlee519, to be an extra you must be a fan. This are such great reports Tanster! Thanks again!

  6. I’m sure we would get MANY less episodes if all the extras were fans- it would take so much longer! I can’t imagine them trying to get an episode like this done with close to 200 fans milling around. I mean it would be FUN and a lot of people would be super cool. But probably a lot of people would NOT be.

  7. I think only major Office fans like us should be allowed to be extras! How cool would it be if they went to Officetally for all the extras. That would be crazyyy! Lol, great report Tanster. These pictures/report are the only things I look forward to these days with this hiatus and all. Thank you!

  8. Thanks again for getting the John/Jenna picture for us. Also, thanks for letting them know the fans miss them posing together.

    Can’t wait for the synopsis of the next 3 days.

  9. This report is worth millions.
    You would have to be from a very remote country to not know Steve Carell, I can’t believe this.

  10. Yeah! I’ve been checking Officetally several times a day waiting for the next installment of your set visit report. So cool to read all your behind-the-scenes insights. And bravo…I love your TWSS comments.

    “He let me hold it. (That’s what she said.)” and “When it’s extended out all the way, it’s super hard to hold. (That’s what she said!!!)” I’M STILL LAUGHING!

    Can’t wait to read about day 3!

    P.S. Tanster, I’ve been meaning to thank you for the little box of goodies I won in the Where’s Tanster contest. Thanks very much for sending them out to me so quickly. You’re the best!

  11. JAM with tanster

    Wouldn’t that be JAMster?

    Love the photos and love hearing about the experience! Thanks, as always!

  12. Wow, Tanster, I can’t believe how thorough your reports are! These are so much fun to look through. I love all the behind-the-scenes pictures, but I think I could stare at that picture of John and Jenna all day.

  13. These are so much fun to read! I love that you got a mixture of pics of them posing along with while they are shooting and of the crew :)

  14. ::::applauds:::: well done on the twss…… well done…..

    also – NEVER eat set food. Sometimes they spray it with stuff to make it look like it hasn’t been sitting out for 3 weeks. I once had to do a breakfast scene for a tv-movie my sister was casting for… thank god they had fresh coffee cause the 2 week old ham and eggs on my plate were making my stomach turn. At least you didn’t have to fake eat anything!

    thanks for the photo of John & Jenna…. now to carefully cut Jenna out…. there we go… hehehehe kidding kidding. love it

  15. Love the updates. So the extras…many weren’t Office fans and some had not heard of Steve Carell? Are they so busy being a professional extra they don’t get to watch the show or know who is big in their industry?

    So crazy…

    Btw, nice job with the “that’s what she said” – LOL

  16. I can’t wait to hear about the next day! Very exciting… Thanks for sharing!

  17. It’s just too easy to imagine myself right where Jenna is standing. *giggle* John Krasinski, you are amazing!

  18. It’s a good thing the extras didn’t know about the show. Otherwise they’d be mugging for the camera, and during breaks they’d be pestering the cast and crew – preventing Tanster from getting those pics!

  19. “New rule: ALL extras should be Office fans who might only DREAM of being that close to the filming of TO. It’s only fair, I think.”

    Ditto! Of course then nothing would ever get done. Great report and I love all of the pictures. So awesome!


    @11 JAMster…Jim+Pam+Tanster (haha)

    I’m with the majority that say only real office fans should be the extras. I’d try my best to gain my composure if I saw J-Kras from afar!

  21. look at the picture of john & jenna… he’s digging his fingers into her arm! i’ve noticed that he tends to do that when they hug… that would totally bruise me. (not that i’d mind… i’d probably get those bruises tattooed on.) (ok, maybe not.)

    and yeah, sounds like they treat the extras well! i’ve been an extra in a couple movies (friday night lights & idiocracy.) the idiocracy set was ok (they had NO vegetarian food, though, apart from carbs, like pasta and stuff), but the FNL set was AWESOME! it was for the kegger scene… all the stars talked with us in between shots, by the end, peter berg (director) knew most of us by name, and the food was AWESOME! they had veggie burgers! they had tons of snacks (and caffeine!) too. (we were there from noon to 3 AM the first day…) it was freezing outside where we had to wait, and they provided blankets for us! so awesome. paid us pretty well too… $300 for a 2-day shoot.

  22. It looks like you are goosing JK in that picture with him and JF.

    Really do appreciate and have enjoyed reading the detailed recaps.

    [from tanster: lol!]

  23. Wow, it looks like you really knew your way around the script for this episode! Scene numbers and everything! So cool. That must have been such an amazing experience. Thanks for sharing!

    [from tanster: wish i could take credit, but no, i never read a script. i, did, however, get copies of each day’s call sheet, and that’s what i’m using in writing these reports. :) ]

  24. Thanks so much for posting these office set reports. It has so much great insight!

  25. Can’t thank you enough for posting all these details and the photos..THE PHOTOS!! Just amazing. As I was reading, I felt like I was there too. Again, thank you so much for sharing your experience with us.

  26. Wow. You’re so unbelievably lucky, thanks so much for the detailed report! What I would give to be the filling in a JAM sandwich… That’s what she said.

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