How To Get Extra Work in Movies and TV Shows

If you're a movie lover, why not take your passion a notch higher and appear in movies or TV shows? Okay, so maybe not as the main actor or actress, but why not as a background performer, otherwise known as a movie extra? It is actually quite possible for you to work as a movie extra, even if you're not exactly classically handsome or beautiful - in fact, casting directors are looking for you, exactly, the average person, without acting experience or theatre education, to appear in various movie scenes. Here are some ways to get extra work for movies and TV shows:

1.      Know what it takes to be an extra. First of all, it's not easy to work as an extra. An extra could expect very long hours filming the same scenes over and over again. Extras should also act be very professional, as they can be fired for being late to the set once, gaping at an actor, not following directions precisely, and for so much more. Depending on the budget of the film, actors could earn about $13 an hour; however, some extras work for free, and would be rewarded only with the thrill of appearing on the big or small screen - that is, if their footage survives until the final cut.

You should know exactly what terms you are working under, such as exactly how much you'd get paid for your time. Know also that you might spend a lot of your time waiting while the production assistants set up the scene. That's why it might be helpful if you bring along a book to read. Or, you can use the time to establish contacts with other extras that might help you sign up with a good agency.

2.      Establish a resume. Once you've started gaining experience, you would be more desirable as an extra if you can put together a comprehensive resume of your previous work. You might even get a speaking part in your next stint, which could qualify you to be a member of the SAG (Screen Actors' Guild). This will more likely score you better rates.

3.      Sign up with a temp agency. Many casting directors look for extras through temp agencies. Give all pertinent information, including your photo, and express your preference for getting jobs as an extra.

You could also sign up with an agent, who has established contacts with casting directors for different film productions. This would help you at the very least be aware of schedules for casting calls. The key here is to be in the know with regards to film shoots and their demands for extras.

4.      As much as possible, stay in major cities. Los Angeles, New York City, Toronto: these are some of the major places where big-budget films are shot. If you're really bent on pursuing a career as an extra (and then as an actor), it might pay to move to such major cities where extras are commonly sought. But because standards of living are usually costly at such places, you may want to keep a flexible day job while you haven't quite established yourself yet.

There you have it! These are some of the important guidelines to remember if you want to get extra work for movies and TV shows. Good luck, and hope this helped you out!


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