Extra, extra, read all about it!

Beck Diefenbach The Daily Illini Beck Diefenbach

By Erin Kelley

The obsession with Hollywood continually grows through the years. Every aspect of the stars’ lives cover the front page of many major publications, and people dream of going to California and making it on the big screen. But for Nadine Pavichevich, a graduate student in the Institute of Labor and Industrial Relations, an opportunity presented itself last summer when she along with her father and sister were movie extras in “The Break-Up.”

“I have been getting phone calls and e-mails right and left from people asking if I knew I was in the movie,” she said.

She sent in her picture after a friend of her father’s let the family know that “The Break-Up,” which was filmed in Chicago, was looking for movie extras. The Pavichevichs got a phone call asking if they could be on set the days they were needed for the scene.

When they arrived on set, early in the morning, they were given a wardrobe to change into. The Pavichevichs were in a baseball game scene so they were given Chicago Cubs clothing and paraphernalia. The cast and crew spent two days filming the scene.

“We spend over 17 hours on set in 90 degrees plus because it was summertime when we were filming,” Pavichevich said. “They gave us lunch and snacks. That’s one thing they were really good at (providing).”

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As a movie extra, Pavichevich was able to meet the writer, director and cast.

“Vince Vaughn was really awesome,” she said. “He talked to us and tried to get us in the scene.”

Pavichevich and her family also enjoyed being invited to the cast parties, but she really liked seeing the behind-the-scenes of making a movie.

“It was really cool to see how many people contributed to the film that don’t get (publicly) credited for it,” she said.

In addition to “The Break-Up,” Illinois has been the location for several popular productions including “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” “The Lake House” and “Batman Begins.”

“Over the past three years, we have shown Hollywood that Illinois has everything a production needs – great cities, great locations and great actors and crews,” said Gov. Rod Blagojevich in a press release.

Illinois will continue to benefit and experience from film production through Senate Bill 2030, according to the office of the governor.

At the Chicago premiere of “The Break-Up,” Blagojevich signed the bill to expand film productions in Illinois. Previously, films were given a tax credit based on wages earned within the state. The new bill makes gives a 20 percent credit on total production spending. Production spending is considered all salary and expense costs associated with production activities in Illinois.

Before the original bill took effect, film production had declined to $26 million because studios were looking for less expensive locations, according to the governor’s office. This left thousands of Illinois residents unemployed within their profession.

“Our film tax credit has helped bring has helped bring new productions to our state, which have pumped millions of dollars into our economy and put thousands of talented people to work,” Gov. Blagojevich said.

During the past two years, the money generated by productions and number of people employed has increased. In 2004, $77 million was made and 14,000 people were employed by the industry.

Then in 2005, revenue increased to $94 million and 15,000 people were employed by film and television productions.

“We’ve had great success over the past two years, but there is much more potential for growth as studios see the incredible results of films produced in our state,” said Brenda Sexton, managing director of the Illinois Film Office.

Shortly after the bill was signed, Sexton was in Los Angeles with more than 150 producers. Producers love working in Illinois because the state has a great crew and locations, and they absolutely enjoy filming in the city of Chicago, Sexton said.

“Hollywood is very excited about the bill,” she said. “It makes us very competitive.”

This year, those who dream to be on the big screen have the possibility to be an extra in “Butter Fly on a Wheel” starring Pierce Brosnan and “Grace is Gone” starring John Cusack, which are already filming or slated to film.

Although Pavichevich enjoyed her experience as a movie extra she said that one thing she didn’t like was that they didn’t receive much direction on what to do while filming. The extras were supposed to mime talk, but that is all they were given for direction, she said.

“Some people could make a life out of it, but I couldn’t,” Pavichevich said.