Monday, September 3, 2012

Becoming an Extra in the Movies

Working in the film and television industry can be very exciting, and every year, thousands of hopefuls will move from their hometowns to Los Angeles or New York in order to pursue their dreams. Once they arrive, they may be confused about where to start. The reality is, it isn't always like the movies where new and upcoming stars are discovered walking down the street. It can take some hard work and determination in order to land those big leading roles, and there are ways to start out on the right path that can help to open doors in the future.

One way to break into the industry is by working as an extra. How to be an extra in the television and film industry is a question that many newcomers have, but it is actually easier than one may think. It just takes a little patience and perseverance in order to get good jobs on movie and television show sets. There are various extras agencies that take new people every day. Actors can register online by submitting a photo, or they can make an appointment with an extras agent that will take their photos and advise them on what type of work they will most likely be called in for.

Once an actor is registered in the extras database, they will be notified when jobs are available. They will either have to submit their own photos, or their booking agent will submit on their behalf. Once an actor is hired for an extra job, they are given a specific call time and wardrobe instructions, and what happens next is a fun and exciting day on set. One of the best data bases for extras and  casting agents is Casting Central who was recently the focus of a news story about casting agencies on CBS Sunday Morning Show.  
There are two types of extras in the entertainment business. Non-union, and Union. Union extras receive better pay, and they also have a great chance of being bumped up to a speaking role. Non-union extras receive slightly less pay and they may be subject to working conditions that are not as comfortable as a Union extra. The problem is, is that people can't just join the Union. In order to join the Screen Actors Guild, also known as SAG through extra work a person must obtain three SAG vouchers. These vouchers are often given to Non-union extras after they work on a set for three or more consecutive days. Once an actor receives the vouchers, they are what is known as SAG-eligible, and once they have paid their SAG dues, they are allowed to work under the Union guidelines. Extra work is a great way to break into the business, make new friends, and possibly receive that big break!

However to make that first step, Central Casting and every other casting agency will agree, your need an Awesome Headshot to get your foot in the door.