An Inside Look into being an extra in Outlander

An inside look into being an extra in Outlander. Jacobite Rising!

My Facebook friend, self confessed Horror-obsessed writer and Filmmaker, Matt Loftus, shares his experience being cast as an extra in several scenes in Outlander.

“So after hearing about a few jobs on the show from my agency, I was asked down for a couple of costume fits and got my first look at the Outlander studio. Based in Cumbernauld and within an hours drive of Edinburgh, it didn’t look any different from the run-of-the-mill business parks you drive past on a daily basis. The only clue you’re entering a film studio is perhaps the partially painted green floor and signboards that decorated the car park. These are no doubt used for taking photos of the cast in front of a blank background to be added later or any special effect shot involving a set or location that doesn’t exist.

A wee bit of green screen in the car park

So after arriving and meeting some of the extras wranglers (not sure of their official title but this is close enough) I was ushered into the wardrobe department and tried on a few variations of clothing they’d already put together with my size details. I remember thinking the clothes looked like something my granddad would wear. Still, this is why you do this job – to put on strange clothes and play at someone you’re not. I actually think EVERYONE should try this at some point in their lives as its the closest thing to being a kid again. Seriously, it can be so much fun.

So have a look at my Outlander scenes below in my vlog video segment. If you’ve not got to the end of Season 2 of Outlander, there are some PLOT SPOILERS so you have been warned…

Where is Our Bonny Prince Charlie?

“You are Bonny Prince Charlie!”

Did you spot me “hamming” it up as that slightly (I say slightly) geeky student with that Beatles-esque hairdo? Firstly I want to say I haven’t had such a bad hairstyle since my own days in high school and secondly brown is not my best colour. The wardrobe Dept did a great job at capturing the feel of 1960s Scotland, I wanted some of those groovy looking spectacles that a few extras got to wear.

Brown really suits you Matt… no, really!

Luckily I had my contact lenses in for the 2 days we shot as my modern-day glasses would never have passed for the 1960s period…well possibly.

Applauding the Jacobite cause.

Being a true Yorkshire-man from Leeds, England and now living in the north-east of Scotland, I got the honour of becoming part of Outlander’s rich tapestry. I’m starting to sound a little pompous and I know I’m not playing a lead part or even getting to spout a line of dialogue. Still, being able to basically play in the background of a scene can be both exhilarating and rewarding. Personally, I’ve always considered acting and filming the closest thing to being a child-at-play again since my youth. That being said it’s not always easy or without stress but I’d sooner be within the film industry than stuck in a dead-end office job somewhere. I’ve had plenty of those types so I know of what I speak.

The scenes for the University rally were shot at Sterling University and it was quite a long shoot. You can’t appreciate what the filmmakers accomplish until you see them do take, after take, after take and all from so many angles. Part of the reason I wanted to be an extra was so I could see what it really took to create films with a budget and the proper equipment. As a mostly non-budget filmmaker, I have to make do with whoever and whatever I have on hand. So this really opened my eyes to another world!

The pub scenes were great too because we were in a real pub which was a local working man’s club by the side of a Loch. After being told we were having a pint it seemed like a great idea, although it wasn’t actual alcohol we were consuming. I found out that when they drink in the movies, its only fizzy coloured water that tastes awful YUK! The only benefit was being close to the stunning actress Lotte Verbeek who was back (very) unexpectedly in the season finale.

The drinks aren’t real!

I almost forgot I did see the actual stars of the show Catriona Balfe (Claire), Sam Heughan (Jamie) and Roman Berrux (Fergus) as they returned to their trailers after filming. In fact, Sam actually turned his head sharply in my direction as no-doubt he had the sensation of someone watching him. Having been sat doing very little in the catering bus all day with only one other extra as company, I think we were both staring like idiots at the sight of these celebs arriving. Probably didn’t help we were dressed as gypsy bandits either really…”

Thanks Matt for your fun insight to filming on the set of Outlander! You can find Matt on Instagram and YouTube.

Here is the link to my recap of the season 2 finale, episode 213 “Dragonfly in Amber”.