Being an extra in a film or television program can be a fun side gig or a springboard toward a career in the entertainment business. While getting started in the movie can be difficult, by taking a few crucial measures, you can improve your chances of earning a role as a movie extra.
In order to add more detail to the scene and make it seem more realistic, extras frequently appear in the background of television or film productions. Common background parts include folks taking in a baseball game, laughing along with the crowd at a comedy club, or just people strolling through Central Park.
What movie extras are, how to become one, and advice On how to locate additional movie extra employment are all covered in this article.
What Is A Movie Extra?
A person without any lines who appears in a movie or television show is called an extra. Movie extras typically stand in the background, although a filmmaker has the freedom to deploy them anywhere is necessary.
To give the audience a sense of reality while watching the scenes, extras from movies or television often appear in certain situations. For instance, if the scene calls for the main characters to be in a crowded restaurant, it stands to reason that there will be other people moving around and conversing all around them as they would in real life.
Movie extra work is difficult, despite the value background actors bring to the entertainment industry. Extras must:
1. Arrive on set promptly; otherwise, other extras will fill your spot.
2. Provide them with an approved wardrobe for specific movies.
3. Understand who they must answer to and when other actors eat.
4. Put in at least eight hours of work per day, but as many as 12 to 16 on any given shoot day.
5. Carry vouchers, which serve as collateral when extras did production-provided clothing. Only their vouchers can be used to pay for extras.
The pay range for movie extras varies greatly, but the average hourly rate for background performers in the country is $28.84. Several factors affect how much movie extras are paid, including:
1. The movie’s spending plan.
2. The extra’s status as a union or non-union employee.
3. The accessibility of background actors in unions.
4. How long must the extra work each day while on set?
5. The kinds of sequences that the extra must appear in.
Background actors who are union members typically earn more money than non-union extras. Non-union extras could be paid less than minimum wage or for free. To launch their acting careers, some people opt for work as extras in movies.
In the end, background actors who want to progress their careers should consider whether or not they are union members.
How To Become An Extra In A Movie Or Tv Show
These are the general procedures you can follow if you want to work as a movie extra and possibly enhance your acting career in this way:
1. Examine different talent agencies online by visiting casting websites:
Make sure the casting record of the agency you hire is outstanding. Ask which movies their clients have appeared in if you have the chance to speak with a representative of the agency.
2. Get a professional headshot:
In order to move forward with this process, you’ll need a headshot. Your appearance will affect how you are originally hired because many producers choose extras based on how well their appearance fits the needs of the movie.
3. Join a casting agency:
Join a casting agency with a stellar client track record. Although this procedure is probably free, you will have to pay your agency to handle the paperwork. If you think signing with more agencies in your area will provide you access to more opportunities, you might be able to do that.
4. Submit your work authority documentation:
To complete the I-9 tax form and be qualified for employment, Americans must submit specific types of documentation. The support you submit must be original.
5. Start working as a non-union extra: When you start working as an extra in a film, your status is automatically non-union. SAG-AFTRA is the only union you may join if you work in this industry.
How Do You Become A Screen Actors Guild-American Federation Of Television And Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) Member?
As a movie extra, there is only one way to join the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists: Apply to the company and provide documentation proving you worked three days on a production covered by the collective bargaining agreement of the company.
You might also discover a chance to receive a SAG-AFTRA coupon on a set even if you are not a union member until you become one. There is a predetermined quota for union background performers on many union-covered projects. A non-union extra may be eligible to get a SAG-AFTRA voucher for the day if one union background actor fails to appear.
What Can I Anticipate Being An Extra On The Set?
Expect lengthy days on set if you’re an extra. You can be among the first to enter and the last to leave. Actress Amy Russ recommends, “You’ll spend most of your time waiting to be called, so bring reading material or something to keep you busy.”
However, as an actor, there is always work to be done. Get a head start on your next audition by studying the sides while you’re waiting for your next scene or watching the principal block. You can also read a novel that will help you create your characters for the upcoming production or do research for your upcoming TV role while catching up on prior episodes. Additionally, you can use this time for self-care. Try knitting, practicing meditation, or simply taking some time to relax.
How Do I Find Work As An Extra?
You must be vigilant and careful if you choose to take this career path. Here are some pointers for maximizing your experience as a movie extra and locating more extra jobs:
1. Peruse the classified sections of newspapers. They can bring up films that require extras.
2. Drop by the tourism bureau in your state: It might contain information on nearby filming for movies.
3. Examine websites for the arts and entertainment industries:
Online resources provide information on recent changes in the entertainment sector, including upcoming movie extra positions, directors, and casting firms.
4. Speak to the directors: Find out which directors are currently casting extras, then get in touch with them.
5. Research casting agencies’ fees to find reliable ones:
The majority of supplementary casting services are free, while some may charge $10 to $20 to process your headshot and paperwork. Avoid firms that try to offer you acting lessons or charge you more to handle your information.
Additionally, take advantage of the chance to network widely with other extras, performers in speaking parts, and significant directorial and production team members. The more movie extra jobs you can find or the further you can go in your acting career, the easier it will be for you if you have these contacts and are signed with an agency.