150 people in an abandoned swimming pool in Essex throwing fake blood and guts at each other is what happened behind the scenes for giffgaff mobile’s latest, halloween themed video as part of their #giffgaffguts campaign. I went along to take part in the shoot as an extra. Here’s what happened…
I arrive at a disused leisure centre, the first leisure centre I’ve been in for about ten years. I’m slightly hungover and have been up since 8am (I am more used to going to bed at 8am than getting up at 8am) but thankfully the kind staff are on hand to provide me with some coffee.
I’m then taken through to be styled by a lovely red headed girl called Grace. I’m in a room that looks like an old dance studio and there is a girl being wrapped up in bandages whilst a few ‘trashy brides’ walk around. She asks me what kind of look I want to go for and I’m flummoxed. As most of the remaining costumes involve some uncomfortable looking leotard contraption, I go for a simple Clockwork Orange inspired look and Grace suggests I top the look off with a panda mask; I like pandas so I am up for this.
After a brief waiting period, me and about twenty other people are taken through to the swimming pool area to shoot a short clip. This clip involves me escaping a guy whose ‘bite me’ underpants are purposely pulled up over his trousers – it’s enough to want anyone to escape. We then shoot a scene where we all run through the locker area, jump over a bar and into the pool – it’s the first time I’ve run since I nearly fell over in my Vagabonds running for the number 55 bus on the way to my club night a week ago. This is all over fairly quickly and it’s time for lunch.
After some lunch a few people have their mug shots taken and after that it’s time for the big one: the gut throwing scene. The style of this scene is similar to La Tomatina in Spain and must be carefully executed as we only get one chance to do it. The first guts are thrown by a girl in a wedding dress and the scene escalates from there. It escalates a little too much in fact as I get hit very hard on the head with a fake brain. OWW. Although it’s sort of fun because it’s all so bizarre, I’m quite glad when the whistle blows and the scene comes to an end. However, it’s then time for the more close up scenes where we are split into groups and asked to fight again. After a bit more gut throwing, the sandwiches come out as well as some fizzy drinks. I enjoy a can of Fanta and half a chicken sandwich. This break however makes me not want to get back in the pool and continue eating instead. Gut throwing in a cold abandoned leisure centre is hungry work!
Reluctantly I get back in the pool for another scene but then when I’m not needed for the next scene I sneak off and find hot vegetable soup, crisps and a banana. By the time I’ve finished gorging, it’s half past seven in the evening – some of the extras have been here for nearly 12 hours. I don’t quite know how they do it. Even as someone who isn’t particularly fond of an office environment, I’d much rather have been in a warm office chain drinking hot drinks than this but some people seem to absolutely love this unconventional job that involves having a camera forced into your face and unflattering outfits. Good on them – someone has to do it! By the time I’ve washed the fake blood off me and got changed whilst the extras continue to battle on through the cold temperatures in the name of advertising, it’s half past eight and I decide that it’s about time I head back to London for my friend’s house party (an environment I’m much more comfortable with). I say goodbye to everyone and shoot off.
After a hard day’s work by everyone involved, the film is looking good (I guess it would be expected from Jonas & Francois). Check out the teaser below:
Words: Katie Wilkinson