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    Posted December 10, 2012 by
    Prague, Czech Republic
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    iReport at the movies

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    Crossing the Line of street filming

    Crossing town in Prague can bring you upon unexpected scenes. Amadeus by Forman was filmed in Prague as well as a James Bond film among many others. There are many reasons why films get shot in Prague, but primary among them is cost effectivemess. You don't need special permits to shoot in public and much of the architecture is authentic with wide range of styles from the fake NeoGothic that trips up most spectators to the genuine Romanesque embedded deep below the current steet levels.

    So it should never be much a shock to find an artificial ice rink suddenly appearing before a massive church with film trucks swarming all around or crews panning over a street to replace street signs or huge lamps lighting up a building façade at night. It's Prague and there's a film being produced before your eyes. It's so common that locals just pass by.

    Except when the police cars are wearing stripes, Polizei is spelt with a "t" and the New Town Hall is suddenly a Netherlands Bank and there are more police crowded into one small square than were mustered to confront the Neo Nazi demonstration, and they don't do much but stand around looking decorative.

    They're extras. The production company is American, the television series is for Netherlands and the crowd milling about, the police, firemen, artificial crowd are mostly local extras hired through talent agencies. They work on call. Some days there is work and some days not. Each staging is a different situation depending on the production and film crew. It's not so important to them. They show up, do their stint and get paid as extras while they enjoy watching the production.

    The cops don't look so tough. I laugh. There's a Dutch street sign right above Rabbi Loew's statue on the corner of the New Town Hall. A manager comes over to bark at us. "You're not to laugh," the pretty extra says next to me and then the whole row of extras laugh together. They find humor in the situation too.

    They explain it's an American film company, the story set in Netherlands, but the film crew and extras are Czech. Why? It's cheaper in Prague to film on the street and extras abound to fill out a crowd. Prague is known for its film studios and public laws that make filming much easier. It's good business they tell me.

    Who's the company? Nobody knows.
    Who's the producer? Nobody knows.
    Who's directing? That guy over there. He might be Czech or he might not.
    How did you get this work? We're extras.
    Well how can I be an extra? You need to sign up at an agency. Check the internet.

    All they know is they get paid for standing about in a crowd and getting miserably cold and they find the situation humorous like me, but we're not supposed to laugh.
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