As a film extra, you’ll make some easy money, get a chance to see moviemaking up close, and perhaps become immortalized on screen. Here’s how to get a gig.
Step 1: Get a headshot Get a headshot. It doesn’t have to be a professional photo; you can have a friend to take a picture of your face with a digital camera and blow it up to 8' x 10.'
Step 2: Write a resume Write a resume & attach it to the back of your headshot. Don’t worry if you don’t have any acting credits; list physical characteristics (like height, weight, hair & eye color) and any hobbies, sports ability, or special skills you have, such as dancing, horseback riding, juggling—even standing on your head. You never know what’s going to come up.
TIP: Don’t forget to include your phone number and email address on your resume.
Step 3: Check the trades Check the help-wanted section of trade journals under 'auditions.' There are also websites that list extra opportunities. And if you live in an area where films often are shot, like L.A., New York City, Toronto, and Vancouver, there may be listings in the local papers.
Step 4: Go to a talent agency Consider signing with an agency. Find a list online, or try centralcasting.org, which is the industry’s largest casting agency. Send a headshot and resume and then follow up with a phone call.
TIP: Make sure the fee the agency quotes you is in line with others in the business.
Step 5: Be prepared When you get your first role, ask what you need to bring—some productions require that you bring your own clothes.
TIP: Know your rights: you’ll be eligible for pay increases if the conditions you’re working in are uncomfortable.
Step 6: Behave yourself Behave yourself on the set. Never take photos, bother the crew, or approach the stars. Bring a book, iPod, or playing cards—you’ll be waiting around a lot! But you’ll also have fun, maybe see a celebrity, and have a good story to tell your friends.
FACT: Matt Damon and Ben Affleck were extras in the Fenway Park scenes of Field of Dreams.