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Being cast as a background extra is one of those gigs that can sound impressive to your friends and family back home plate, but in truth, it ’ s not necessarily that ’ s glamorous, and doesn ’ thyroxine involve a whole distribute of acting. It does however give you excellent experience on a film set and can be an invaluable beginning step for a new actor to learn the ropes .
How to Be a Background Actor in a Movie & What to Expect as a Movie Extra
Being a background performer, besides known as an “ extra ” is a low-pressure means to gain first hand experience on a real movie or television receiver set. You may not be doing a batch, by and large walking from one rate on-camera to another, but you ’ re literally getting paid to watch more know actors a well as a whole film crew, work. You ’ ll get to know and understand what a first base A.D, , D.P., Grip and Crafty is, and what function each one of those has. You can besides make valuable connections with producers and directors and build relationships with production assistants so that when you do start to look for principal bring, you know how to get in front of the right people .
Becoming a movie extra or background performer involves a few basic steps :
- Take a good quality actor’s headshot
- Research background talent agencies in your area
- Contact the agencies for sign-up info, open calls etc.
- Register with at least one background casting agency
- Submit your work authorization documentation and take any additional photos they require
- Begin working as a non-union extra right away!
- Sign up for an online casting site to find jobs
- Become a SAG-AFTRA member after qualifying
not certain what a first A.D. is ? Check out… .
Let’s go through some FAQ on what an extra is and how to do background work.
What is a Background Actor or Extra?
Simply put, an extra is a nonspeaking function in film or television. Background talent appear much “ in the background ” of movies and television receiver shows. The aim is to fill out the view and make it look more realistic. barely think how weird a street scene would look if there were lone 2 actors talking and no one else was around ! It would abruptly go from being drama to sci-fi 🙂
Extras might besides be fans at a sporting consequence, patrons in a restaurant or barricade, or hearing members at a show .
Is There a Difference Between “Background” and “Extra”?
Nope ! No deviation at all. The truthful industry condition, and the one used by the unions is “ background performer ”. Quite frankly it just sounds a little more respectful than “ supernumerary ”. A setting actor is the claim same thing as an extra and does the like job for the like yield .
How Much Do Extras Get Paid?
Background actors are paid differently depending on their union status. broadly, nonunion endowment will be hired for either a 10 or 12 hour day, with extra pay provided should production run overtime. At the time of this write, a common rate for a single day of background function is about $ 120 USD…. And you get meals .
Union endowment, SAG-AFTRA, ACTRA, Equity-UK, earns a draw more than nonunion endowment. The base pace for setting work in 2021 is about $ 178 per day. Yes, this is one of the perks of being in the coupling, but presently to join SAG-AFTRA it ’ s close to $ 3500 so you have to be doing a set of background exercise to make that worthwhile .
There are besides a number of conditions that affect how much a union excess can make. For example, a union background performer will be paid more if they provide props such as sporting equipment, use their own car, are required to get wet, or body constitution is applied to more than half their body .
There is besides a pay dislodge for “ special skills ” such as juggle, tennis, skating, horseback ride, driving a motorbike or stage battle. This is sometimes referred to as a “ specialization extra ” .
What is a Featured Extra?
A featured extra is a background actor who gets a little more screen time, and is in a common sense, “ featured ”. If the fit takes place in a restaurant, they might be the hostess who seats the independent stars, possibly they pour a glass of wine for the moderate actor, or deliver a package if the scene is at a base. Featured extras are much recognizable, just for a burst second gear ! The term is not officially recognized by the union, but it does mean more pay
*Important to Know: Featured extras placid don ’ metric ton address on television camera. evening if you say merely one news, you ’ rhenium nowadays considered a “ Co-Star. ”
not indisputable what the dispute between a Co-Star and a Guest Star ? Find it here :
What is a Stand-in? And how are they different from a regular extra?
A Stand-In for movies, television shows and commercials is a person who takes the seat of a main actor when the crew is doing things like setting up lighting and television camera angles. This allows the main actor to work on their lines or very importantly go through haircloth and makeup and wardrobe while the gang is setting up. Stand-ins are exchangeable in appearance to the main actor and must have some experience on dress to know precisely what is expected of them. They are paid more than general extras but less than lead talent .
How do I become an extra?
Becoming an extra is a lot easier than becoming a lead actor. Most supernumerary agencies alone require snapshots and not professional headshots ( although they don ’ metric ton hurt ! ) They in truth good need an accurate representation of what you look like. Often they will have particular prerequisite such as full length consistency shots. Be sure to check their web site for details .
To become an extra, you don ’ t need to belong to any union, you can plainly be hired at the cash sidereal day pace. For SAG-AFTRA in finical though, doing background work can count toward qualifying if you do want to join the union at some late point in time.
Background Extra work is a great way to start a career as an actor.
As a new actor you very need to gain some experience on set and make some contacts in the industry. Background exercise can give you a solid begin in an act career .
Unlike principal draw directors who go through agents and managers, background casting directors deal directly with the actors. Agents and managers are generally not involved in this type of cultivate. This kind of personal connection frequently leads to ongoing cultivate for the actor .
Good news, Bad news: They didn’t hire you because you can act.
again, the main reason background endowment is hired is to fill out the scene and make it look more realistic, then appearance, props, wardrobe and extra skills play a huge part in casting background performers. Background actors normally provide their own props and wardrobe, which is a huge bonus for the production .
Some of the most common wardrobe requests : dark colored pants with a dress shirt for men and “ upscale casual ” dresses for women. This can work for restaurant scenes, church scenes, funerals, courthouse etc .
Uniforms are besides very popular, specially for cops and security guards, and dinner jacket and formal wear are not an uncommon request either .
How to Find Movie Extra Jobs
You don ’ t need any have to become a setting actor, but a basic headshot can help and a little solitaire and doggedness to get going .
many background agencies will require you to register in person, so they can take photos, verify your appearance and make sure you are who you say you are, but there are besides a lot of opportunities available on-line .
For on-line opportunities check out the links I ’ ve arrange together here :
These sites are not actually the ones who are doing the lease, they are merely subcontract boards where casting agencies, producers or production companies post their stream needs and openings. They ’ ra kind of like Indeed.com, but entirely for actors .
A couple of USA sites that I haven ’ thyroxine listed are central Casting ( if you are in NYC, LA, Atlanta or New Orleans ) and Extras Access besides for New York and Los Angeles. Both are well known and highly reputable sites and companies, although cardinal Casting can be rigorous and unmanageable to work with .
If you ’ re in London, UK check out : The Casting Collective Ltd, Mad Dog 2020 Casting Ltd, Guys & Dolls Casting Ltd .
You can also try doing a Google Search for:
- Background casting agencies (insert city name)
- Background actors casting calls (insert city name)
- Movie extras job (insert city name)
Doing background talent or extra knead can be an excellent way to start making money as an actor and to gain valuable have. Do the study for a little while until you feel confident on-set and understand the workings of a master movie or television set. After that, you can focus on auditioning for bigger jobs and you ’ ll already understand what is expected of you when you show improving to set rather than trying to figure it out on the fly. I guarantee you ’ ll be grateful for those former experiences .
Being a background performer, besides known as supernumerary work, can mean long hours, late nights, outdoor shoots and sometimes uncomfortable conditions, but it in truth is the best homework work you can do to step into the spotlight for those bigger roles !
Until next time, keep reaching for the stars and following your dreams ! xo Hunter
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* Please Note : I am not an agent, coach, or casting director. I do not procure work for actors. All information, workshop and coach are for educational purposes lone and are not a guarantee or promise of employment. Thank you for being here !
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