HOW TO BE A MOVIE EXTRA AND FIND MOVIE EXTRA WORK
Signing up with a casting company is the easiest way to start getting movie extra work. Casting companies like to have everyone’s headshots and resumes on file. We can also post your headshot and resume online so that they can be viewed by casting directors and production companies. Your resume should list your height, weight, eye and hair colors. Also include your talents, skills, training and experience. A headshot and resume are not necessary for most movie extra work, but it will help you get additional movie extra work or acting jobs in the future.
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REASONS WHY MOVIE EXTRA WORK CAN BE REWARDING
- Being a movie extra will help you familiarize yourself with the film industry.
- Being cast as a movie extra might get noticed and get work as an actor (it happens!)
- Movie extra work is quick, fun and easy.
- There is really no acting required in movie extra work. You get paid for being the regular, ordinary person.
- It's kind of really cool to be around famous people.
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RULES FOR A MOVIE EXTRA
- Know what you need to wear and look like. Know the color, style, location, and time period. If they are filming an acting set from the 80’s, get out the leg warmers and plastic bracelets. Bring extra outfits. If you don’t look like you fit in the 80’s background, you will not get the part
- Show up. This is the most important thing to assistant directors. Once you are sent to a movie or TV show set to be a background actor, you better be there. Being a “no-show” will give you and the casting company a bad reputation.
- Be on time. Everyone is required to be on time for any acting job. Once the cameras are rolling, you better be ready.
- Stay quiet while doing movie extra work. Do not speak unless you are spoken to. This means you cannot ask the actors for autographs, give compliments, or make suggestions on how the acting scene can be funnier. Sometimes, there is a waiting area where you can whisper, but movie extra work means one full day of almost no talking, so learn how to keep yourself occupied.
- Be nice. Especially during the course of a long day of filming, actors and assistant directors tend to become tense and moody. You still need to do what you’re told. You don’t want to cause any problems. It will look bad for the casting company who sent you to the set.
- Do not bring your friends to movie extra work. You are not an insider yet. This is not a fancy job that you can just show off to your friends.
- Do not bring a camera on the set. The casting companies are very strict about this. During movie extra work, there is no cameras or recording by anyone else allowed. If you bring or use a camera of any kind onto the set, you’ll probably be asked to go home.
MOVIE PAY FOR EXTRAS
Movie pay for extras is $100-$200/per day. Some movie extras are even paid up to $300. Movie extra work isn't daily, but movie extra pay can be over $36,000 a year. Not bad for no experience necessary - ever.
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MOVIE EXTRAS CASTING TERMS YOU SHOULD KNOW
Blocking means that you have to go and be told where to stand and what to do during the shot of your movie extra work. In short, it's what you actually do when the cameras are filming.
Marks refer to the specific spot where you are to stand during a scene. These are actual marks, usually made with tape or sandbags, where the camera is focused. Movie extras are not usually given marks, but t if someone tells you to "hit your mark" you need to go and stand on the piece of tape you see on the floor.
Assistant Director, or A.D., is your boss. The A.D. is usually in charge of all the movie extras, and can even help you get additional movie extra work or acting jobs on a “union voucher” in the future.
Taft-Hartleyed means to get into the union after finishing movie extra work on three union vouchers or by saying a line. This means you can get paid more money for movie extra work or an actor. You don’t really need to know all the details of the Taft-Hartley labor law. Just try not to look completely confused when you hear the term, unless the casting call is for confused-looking movie extras.
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