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The Story of a Degrassi Extra

Did you know that if you are a teenager living in the Toronto area, you can apply to spend the day as a extra on Degrassi? You could be one of those background characters on the show who walk around the hallways and maybe even react to some of the wackiness of the main characters. We who don't live in Toronto can only dream what it would be like to a Degrassi extra. Oh what fun we would have sitting in Media Immersion or the Dot for a few minutes! Lucky for us unlucky ones, one girl named Amanda L was a Degrassi extra for a day and we had a brief IM chat in which she told us of her experience.

Spinnersexual: Hi Amanda.

Hotprincessglitter69: hi billy from boycott da caf

Spinnersexual: First off, how old are you?

Hotprincessglitter69: 15

Spinnersexual: Ok, then you're old enough to know how to use capitalization and proper punctuation. So use it, bitch.

Hotprincessglitter69: Yes, ma'am.

Spinnersexual: Now tell use about your time as a Degrassi extra. Did you enjoy it?

Hotprincessglitter69: No. I thought it would really cool because Degrassi is the best show ever, but the experience sucked totally.

Spinnersexual: Really? How did your day begin?

Hotprincessglitter69: We were told to arrive promptly at 5:30 in the morning and stand in line outside Degrassi Studios in downtown Toronto. I was there with almost 100 other people and we had to wait outside the big barb wired fence that surrounds the school. It sucked because it rained for an hour but they still wouldn't let us in until 8 when a couple of security guards opened the gate and made us go through a metal detector and take off our shoes. Someone came with a thick marker and wrote a number on each of our shirts. We were then sent to wait in one of the classroom sets, but it didn't have no chairs or lights, so we had to sit on the floor in the dark. They also locked us in from the outside. There was a big window that let us see outside and look at what the crew was doing.

Spinnersexual: That sounds harsh. Did you see or meet any of the actors?

Hotprincessglitter69: I never spoke to any of the actors. They all stayed very far away from us. But I did see them, sort of. At 9 all the actors came in. I tried to watch them through the window, but everyone crowded around it and when I tried to get a good view, some other kids pushed me down and I scraped my knee. I heard some motorcycles for several minutes and another extra told me the actors who play Spinner and Sean rode their motorcycles onto the set and were going round and round in circles around the actor that plays Toby and they were throwing bananas at him.

Spinnersexual: How long did you have to wait in that room?

Hotprincessglitter69: Not much longer. At 10 they led us out of the classroom and into makeup and wardrobe. We were also divided up into groups that would determine in what scenes we would be in the background of. I was in the biggest group that was all going to be in the hallway scene in the school. Instead of wearing our own clothes (which had marker on them and were wet), they made us change into the studio's clothes. We had to undress in one room, guys and girls together and pile our clothes onto wheelbarrel and then get put on the studio clothes. These clothes smelled like poor people and made me itch. You can tell they don't wash the clothes after the extras from the last episode wore them because a lot of the clothes still had sweat stains.

Spinnersexual: When did they start filming you guys?

Hotprincessglitter69: Not for awhile yet. My group was sent to the school hallway set. We were told not to look any of the main cast in the eye or we would be kicked out and not paid for our time. But they didn't bring out the main cast all morning. We still had to practice walking back and forth along the hallway for the rest of the morning even though they didn't film anything in the hallway. It was hard walking back and forth for an hour and a half, but they wouldn't let us stop. The director wanted to make sure we were "in character." The director was a weird guy. He had this large black tribal tattoo along one side of his face and whenever someone messed up their lines, he'd fire a pistol into the ceiling.

For lunch we were sent back to the room we were locked in at the beginning of the day. We could see the cast and crew walk by with their lunches. They had veal and lobster and caviar and other good things. We were given a bag of peanuts and some Capri Sun and had to sit on the floor again.

After lunch we I had to go back to the hallway set. This time they filmed some scenes. We saw the actors, but they didn't want to talk to any of us. The only contact we got from them was when the ones who play Paige and Jimmy walked by and gave us the finger.

Spinnersexual: Can you tell us what happened in the scene you were in?

Hotprincessglitter69: I am not allowed to give away any important details about what happened in the episodes. They told us that if we revealed anything then since the show is funded by the Canadian government we can go to jail. But I am allowed to tell you that someone will get date raped in the school next season.

Spinnersexual: Wow. That's intense!

Hotprincessglitter69: It will happen in broad daylight to. Right there when school is in session. A bunch of people will watch it too.

Spinnersexual: So is this going to be the triumphant return of Dean?

Hotprincessglitter69: I can't say.

Spinnersexual: Fair enough. How did your day at Degrassi end?

Hotprincessglitter69: After the scenes were filmed, we were sent back to makeup and wardrobe to put our own clothes back on. We had to fish them out of the wheelbarrel. I managed to find all of my clothes, but several people said they shoes were missing. None of the people who work on the show were helpful in finding them, they told us we had five more minutes and then we had better be gone. The people who were missing their shoes complained, but then security started chasing us with cattle prods.

Spinnersexual: That sounds like a real shitty time.

Hotprincessglitter69: It was. Then when I got home, my mom got mad because I had marker on my shirt. My mom tried to wash it out but it wouldn't wash out. It was permanent. I was grounded for a week.

Spinnersexual: Ouch.

Hotprincessglitter69: The worst part is I didn't even get my paycheck. They were going to mail them, but it's been four months and I still haven't gotten mine. No one else that was an extra I talked to latter on did either. I tired calling the studio, but the phone number they have listed actually goes to a Chinese restaurant.

Spinnersexual: That indeed sounds like a bummer of a time. Well, goodbye Amanda. Thanks for the insight into how much the people who run Degrassi suck.

Hotprincessglitter69: It was my pleasure. They do suck. Bye Billy.

by Billie Green