Those offerings are at best weird and useless, but today's New Orleans offer borders exploitive: Groupon wants to you to pay $149 to be an extra in a locally made zombie movie. Instead of getting paid to be in a movie, which used to be how it worked, you can pay for the privilege of smearing fake blood all over your face and standing around for several hours.
Being promoted as a Kickstarter-ish way to "fund indie-horror film," paying $149 gives you the chance to play a zombie in writer-director Spencer Lee's upcoming movie The Dark Tales of El Diablo. But wait, there's more! The voucher also entitles you to ...
• A role as a zombie during one of four all-night shoots taking place on July 20, 21, 22, or 23 from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.
• Transportation to and from the set location in St. Tammany Parish (a $30 value)
• Buffet-style dinner and late-night snacks and drinks (a $35 value)
• Full wardrobe and special-effects makeup from a professional artist in the film industry, including teeth and prosthetics (a $500 value). All items must be returned to the production staff at the end of the shoot.
• Credit as a zombie extra in the film's credits and on IMDB.com
• Two tickets to a private film screening and reception in New Orleans when production has finished (a $50 value)
This experience is "valued" at $615, so you can't pass up this offer, folks. THIS IS YOUR CHANCE TO BE ON IMDB! (Just please don't forget to return that fake arm!)
What's silly about this is that down here in ol' "Hollywood South," there's infinite opportunities to be on screen/ get into the film industry for free — sometimes, they'll even pay you! Take a cursory glance at Craigslist and you'll find plenty of paid extra roles (do you belong at Seth Rogen's party?). There's bound to be some reality show filming here you could be on or, if working isn't your thing, you could befriend/date one of the many celebs in town and live vicariously through their fame. Shit, live here long enough and maybe David Simon will make you a Treme character. It's really not that difficult.
Point is, you shouldn't have to pay to work on a movie. The Treme Fest thing, where they didn't pay extras, was excusable because they needed a big crowd and hey, pretending to be at Jazz Fest is a fun way to spend the day. That Now You See Me extra opportunity was a bit sketchy, but at least you weren't paying to do it. But $149 to put on some zombie makeup and have a buffet dinner? You could probably have a similar experience at Piccadilly on Halloween.
As of press time, more than 50 people have purchased a voucher.