Dubai: While watching the latest Mission Impossible movie, thousands of Dubai residents will be scanning the background to see if they can catch a glimpse of themselves working as an extra in the film.
The action-packed scene showing Tom Cruise scaling the height of the world's tallest tower and lounging in the luxury of Zabeel Saray Hotel's ballroom (supposedly a Mumbai palace), has put Dubai on the map as the ideal backdrop for a film.
However, having gone through the extras recruitment process himself, Seran Gheorghe experienced firsthand the haphazard way in which extras were hired. "There was no coordination. I didn't know whom to call and we were told they were going to be filming us at very short notice," said Gheorghe.
Anticipating the influx of production companies that will descend on the UAE to film scenes in the city, Gheorghe has set up an online talent and extras recruitment agency, Fame Boulevard.
As the name suggests, the company is for anyone searching for that little bit of fame.
It's not only for wannabe actors and actresses but for people who can offer their skills in modelling, as hostesses during events or in advertisements.
The online portal allows UAE residents to register with their picture, skills and interests in order to be part of a database that can be tapped by any production company. The various search engines allow directors to refine their searches according to gender, age or skills, offering them a quick and easy way to recruit people. "We are aiming to create a comprehensive database of talent and freelance professionals from the UAE's entertainment industry," said Gheorghe.
"I want Fame Boulevard Entertainment to be seen as a serious company from the beginning, not as an online website which is looking to collect people's private details for different reasons. It will become something big and will redefine the art of film in the region."
Since its launch late last year, the website, after experiencing some initial technological glitches, has been increasing its database. So far, more than 160 people from the ages to 2 to 62, and representing 30 nationalities, have signed up. According to Gheorghe, the database could swell to 1,000 people by the end of the year.
The company will work on a commission basis, taking 20 per cent of the total payroll. "We understand that our talents are the most valuable asset and any talent agency is nothing without their people," said Gheorghe.
So far they've seen interest coming from companies looking for models or hosts at parties, but he's hoping it will also prove a useful tool for production companies looking to film in Dubai.