How to Be an Extra
How to Be an Extra in a Commercial Film Production
Being an extra can be an exciting experience. You get the chance to see how a commercial film production is really made, you get your face on TV, in the movies or in advertising, and you have behind-the-scenes access that no bonus footage can ever touch. You might even get paid for it!
But extras opportunities are far and few between. So if your dream is to show up in a crowd scene of the next Robert Rodriguez movie, you need to know a few tricks of the trade first.
- Get casting call alerts. When a local production needs extras, you want to be one of the first to know. So sign up on the email lists for all local casting agencies, film commissions, production companies and advertising agencies. If they don’t have an email list, bookmark their page, and make sure to check their open casting calls weekly.
- Sign up for trade journals. Trade journals have audition sections, which you’ll want to check regularly for opportunities. Some of them may even be for productions in Hollywood, New York City or other big-market areas that could be fun to visit.
- Have an updated photo ready. Most of the time, all you’ll need to be cast is a simple headshot, along with your basic information – name, age, address and maybe even your height/weight. If you’ve got acting experience, you can include that, too, but it’s definitely not necessary.
- Be flexible. Extras gigs aren’t glamorous. You may need to be there at 6 a.m. and stay there all through the night just to get one shot. Because of this, flexibility is crucial. You need to be able to show up and stick around until the job is done – no excuses. The production won’t stop on your behalf!
- Build up your wardrobe. Sometimes, the only stipulation for extras is that they have the right wardrobe. Say, for example, a mystery based in the 1920s was being shot in your area. The production likely doesn’t have the budget to cover an outfit for each and every extra, so if you have clothing that can fit the time period and feel, then you’ll move right to the head of the line.
- Work with a talent agency. If you’re serious about being an extra, sign up for a talent agency, and get someone to represent you. Then, they’ll constantly be on the lookout for opportunities to throw your way. Just remember – they’ll get a cut of your pay for each job you book.
Do you want to become an extra in a commercial film production in your area? Then start taking those steps now. Get your headshot, sign up for casting call alerts and get in touch with local agencies. Stay tuned to our blog, too! Next time we’re in need of extras, we’ll be sure to let you know.