Dozens of Cal U students lined up inside the Performance Center on Nov. 27 to be photographed and submit wardrobe measurements in hopes of landing roles as extras on 'Mindhunter,' the award-winning Netflix web television show.
Cal U theater major Jeromy Mackey poses for a headshot taken by Meredith Rovito, extras casting assistant for the Netflix series 'Mindhunter.'
The first season of Mindhunter, whose production is based in the Pittsburgh area, was set in 1977, the early days of criminal psychology and criminal profiling at the FBI. Filming for season two is underway.
Before registering students, Trevor Neil Williams, extras casting associate, talked to an audience about social deviance and the challenges of casting background actors for the series.
“Meticulous research is the first step, because it’s a tremendous challenge to be as historically accurate as possible with everything from that time period,” he said.
“It’s the good guys versus the bad guys, and in order to make them seem deviant, we have to truly define what normalcy is with as little attention as possible,” Williams said. “The challenge of that is to find the perfect people, the perfect cars and backgrounds that look like 1977.
“They advance the story by becoming moving scenery.”
Extras typically spend 12-14 hours a day on the Mindhunter set, Williams said.
Cal U students were more than eager for a chance at the long days.
Jake Drnach a junior criminal justice major, first heard of the event in Michelle Tanner’s social inequality course.
“I was glad it was during the common hour, because this was something I was not going to miss. The show is so intriguing,” said Drnach.
Jazmyn Neal a junior majoring in communication studies, was enthusiastic while waiting her turn.
“I like to try different things and wanted to learn more about sociology,” she said. “It would be amazing to be an extra because there’s nothing like this.”
Sam Hice a first-year student majoring in business administration and economics, participated during the question-and-answer session with Williams.
“I find talking about human psychology and how the mind works very interesting,” Hice said. “The show is really good. This has been very fun and it’s good to put yourself out there.”
Tori Beveridge, a sophomore pre-K-4 education major, who performed in musicals and dramas in high school, saw an opportunity.
“I have an interest in this, wanted to get involved and figured I’d give it a try,” she said. “It’s a good experience no matter what.”
Event coordinator Dr. Emily Sweitzer, a sociology professor and director of Cal U’s program in social deviance, said the Netflix show addresses many of the same principles and questions that students in her courses study. She was pleased with the diverse turnout and the potential opportunities for students.
“Cal U students of any major saw both a real-world perspective on this type of behavior but also the challenge of realistically portraying it to a national audience,” she said.