Where do I even begin? Our family has been fans of ‘The Chosen,’ the popular tv show about Jesus and His disciples, since the very first season. With over 400 million views, it is the #1 most crowd funded tv show in history. We watched the first episode of season one and then, unashamedly, binged the rest of the season. Haha! We waited patiently for every episode of season two, watching them one by one, as soon as they were available!
I honestly don’t even remember how it came about now…maybe it was an email? A Facebook post? An Instagram add? I’m not sure, but anyways, all I know is that season three was funded, and for the Feeding of the Five Thousand season finale, they needed 5,000 fans as extras! So my husband applied for the four of us – not really thinking anything would come of it honestly. We waited a few weeks and not a word. A couple of months and nothing. We thought for sure they must have reached the number of extras that they needed. And then one day, out of the blue, we received an email saying that we had been chosen to be extras on ‘The Chosen!’
The timing was absolutely crazy because (1) we had just returned from our Summer vacation in Arizona, (2) it was the same week as the youth camp that we always attend with our boys, and (3) Micah, Kaleb, & Mark squeezed in a Royal Rangers weekend trip only 24 hours before leaving for Texas. But we knew that this would be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so of course, we said yes!
The filming took place in Midlothian, Texas, on a 900 acre movie set. We searched high and low for airfare tickets, but the prices were outrageously high! Without enough sky miles saved for another flight, we decided on a road trip! Did you know that Dallas, Texas, is 10 hours, 755 miles to be exact, from Atlanta, Georgia?!? We drove from our hometown in Georgia – through Alabama – through Mississippi – through Louisiana – and finally to Texas! With pits stops for fuel and food, it took more like 12 hours. Whew! It was a long day! I have never been so glad to see our hotel! Haha!
We had the option to sign up for additional days of filming, but we only chose 1 day. We also had time slots to choose for our arrival. By the time we selected ours, all of the other time slots had been filled, so we got what was left – 4:30 am arrival time! If you know me very well, I am not a morning person! 😴 It’s all good though and it ended up paying off! When our alarm clock buzzed at 3:15 in the morning, we got dressed in our costumes, and drove the 20 minutes to meet the bus by 4:30. (yawn!)
Our group of 500 was the first to arrive on set, and we were on the very first bus! Breakfast, coffee, and gifts were waiting for us when we got there, with games for the kids, and Christian artists (including Micah Tyler, Big Daddy Weave, and the Bonner Family) lined up for our own personal concerts. They also had a gift shop on site with exclusive merch for all of the fans. Not only that, they had some cool photo opps, prop displays, and they supplied unlimited sunscreen, bug spray, bottled water, electrolyte packets, soda, and snacks. If that wasn’t enough, they also catered lunch and dinner!
This is Simon Peter’s boat from the great catch of fish and Nicodemus’s carriage from Season 1.
Remember how I said that it paid off for us arrive early? The crew informed us that the first 500 to arrive would be the first group to film, with “intimate screen time” that no other group would have, and we would actually have more screen time than the other groups! Say what?!? They divided the groups by colors based on arrival times, so we were the Green 500s.
This was our schedule for the day:
4:00 – 10:00 am – Extras arrive for covid testing, security check – take bus to camp
5:00 – 8:00 am – Breakfast and Coffee in the holding field
8:00 – 8:15 am – Staging Green 500 Group (This was our group)
8:15-9:00 am – Filming of Green 500 Group
9:00 – 9:30 am – Staging of Green Group (We were also asked to stay and film with this group.)
9:00 – 9:30 am – Performance #1 – The Bonner Family
9:00 – 11:00 am – Green Group Films (Us Again)
11:00 am – 2:30 pm – Lunch served
11:00 – 11:45 am – Staging Pink Group/Green exits (This is when we took a break for lunch.)
11:00 – 11:45 am – Performance #2 – Micah Tyler
11:45 am – 1:15 pm – Pink Group Films
1:15-1:45 pm – Pink Exits
1:30 – 2:30 pm – Crew Members break for lunch
1:30 – 2:30 pm – Big Daddy Weave, Matt & Dan – special performance of “Trouble” from the Chosen soundtrack
2:45 – 3:30 pm – Staging Orange
2:45 – 3:30 pm – The Chosen Segment (Cast Members came to greet all of the fans on stage!)
3:30 – 5:00 pm – Orange Group Films
5:00 – 5:30 pm – Orange Exits of Stays – their choice
5:30 – 7:30 pm – Whole Group Final Shot Filming (Us again)
7:30 – Wrap/Load Buses
7:30 pm – Boxed Dinner upon exit
After Filming: Meet and greet with Dallas & Amanda Jenkins
Pretty long day, huh?! 15 hours to be exact! I’d be lying if I said it didn’t get miserable at times. The heat index was 106° and I felt every degree of it! I thought to myself…”If I ever was interested in the Hollywood industry, that one day of filming definitely cured me of it -seriously! Mr. Jenkins did warn us though, “Filming isn’t fun and it’s a hurry up and wait!” I don’t know how the actors do it on a daily basis – I’ve got to hand it to them for doing a job well done!
I also have to give credit to the crew members who constantly brought bottled water, electrolyte packets, and sunscreen to the fans. They worked so hard to make sure everyone stayed hydrated. They treated us like Chosen family!
It was a surreal experience for my family to see Mr. Dallas Jenkins behind the camera, to hear the crew say “Last Looks!” “Pictures Up!” “Rolling!” “Action!” and to watch the cast perform on set. Whether or not we will make “the cut” into the final edited version, I’m not sure, as there were thousands of extras that day! (I heard that over the course of 4 days that 12,000 fans from 36 countries were present!) It must have made an impression on the community because it made the local, Texas news! You can read the article here. Regardless, if we’re seen in the episode or not, we felt honored and blessed to be a part of it!
Since we were extras, we also had the opportunity to visit Capernum Studios the following day. They opened up tours this week specifically for the fans! Several of the Chosen episodes from Seasons 1, 2, and 3 have been filmed here. It was incredible seeing the set where many of our favorite scenes were filmed, including the one where Jesus called Mary Magdalene by name, the rooftop where Nicodemus met Jesus at night, Matthew’s tax collector booth, Simon Peter’s house, the room where Jesus turned water into wine, and the hole in the ceiling where the lame man was let down.
We even met one of the cast members from Seasons 1 & 2, and we were interviewed on camera about our whole experience. I don’t know who was more nervous – me or the boys!
If you haven’t watched ‘The Chosen‘ yet – you should! It’s really brought the Scriptures and Bible stories alive to my family. Not only that, I appreciate someone having the burden to provide us with quality, wholesome, and family friendly entertainment!
Here’s another memory in the books!