My High School Stories · Uncategorized

What it’s like to be a Background Actor

Hi guys! As you may or may not know I work as a background actor when I can. I started doing it last summer and have been doing it since then.

Here is a picture of me on the set of Canal Street. I am the one right in front in the red hoodie.

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At the end of this post there are links to sites where you can find movies and shows who are casting extras.

(Note: Castings for extras, for the most part, go up only a few days before the shoot. Which means you must have an open schedule and be willing to work for at least 8hrs. That is usually the minimum.)

I think at some point everyone dreams of being an extra in a movie because of course everyone wants to get close to their favorite celebrities. Except when you’re an extra is actually forbidden to talk to the actors because that isn’t professional. And also because they are under a lot of pressure and stress already trying to get into character and memorize their lines. Unless they talk to you then it’s allowed!

But anyways now I will go into the average working day of a background actor and everything I know about being one.

Call Time

When you’re an extra you have this thing called a ‘call time’ which is basically just the time they want you to be there. Call times can be at any time. I think my earliest call time so far has been 7am. But there are also really late call times like at 10pm and in that case you could be filming until 5am. If you want to be professional and make a good impression it’s important that you are there on time.

Call Time (1)

They will always for the most part tell you what they want you to wear. Whether it be a costume they have for you or just casual clothes they want you to bring. The rule usually is no logos on anything. You can’t wear a shirt that has the Nike logo on it or anything like that because I’m not sure really. I think it’s copy right. I just know because every time they always say no logos on clothes.

Call Time (2)

So when you arrive wherever they ask you to be you check in with someone and then you are put in a holding room where they have all the extras wait. Sometimes there are lots of extras, sometimes there isn’t. It all depends on what kind of scene(s) they are filming. You might think that waiting sounds boring but it’s actually not hat bad if you start talking to people which is usually what I do.

At some point they will call you to set. When you get to set they will tell you what they want you to do for that scene. And if you don’t understand what they mean then ask them or someone. Because if they start rolling or rehearsing the scene and you don’t know what you’re doing it’s going to suck and they might get annoyed.

Sometimes they have lunch for you or they might ask you to bring your own. Sometimes they have whole tables full of snacks!!

Note that ‘lunch’ means whenever they decide to take a break from filming to eat. It threw me off the first time cause it was 5pm and they were like “Let’s take lunch”.

But yeah I can’t say too much about the day because it’s not the same every time.

I can tell you that it is always for the most part lots of fun. I’ve made so many great friends and have met awesome people.

These are two websites that I check regularly for extra work if you are interested. Remember if you really want to be an extra then I recomend checking these sites for work in your city at least once a day. Because gosh forbid there is no work so I stop checking for maybe a week. I go check a week later and there was freaking work for me. So you just never know.

backstage.com

projectcasting.com

both reliable websites. You have to watch out when you’re looking for work just because there are scams and dumb people in the world who will try to screw you over.

I hoped this helped you in some way and made you interested in being an extra. If you have a dream of being an actor or just want to get close to your favorite celebrities then you should definitely go for it.

Especially if you want to be an actor because you get to actually see what happens on set and see if this is something you can see yourself doing because let me tell you it is a lot of just doing the same thing over and over again until they get the perfect take. And then after that they have to move the camera to a different angle and you do it again. So it really made think about if I want to be an actress. Maybe…

I still love being an extra though because it’s just really fun for me.

I will hopefully post again tomorrow. My schedule has been crazy lately but I will try!

 

Jess

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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