How would you like to be an extra in a movie or a TV show? There's a lot of misunderstandings about what it takes to do so. Here's a list of these misunderstandings.
It's Difficult Work to Find
It depends on where you live. Some cities and neighborhoods are very inviting to movie studios (e.g., tax incentives). I live in the Atlanta neighborhood and they have great tax incentives for movies studios, and as a result, they have lots of ads for extras.
You Need to Be Good-Looking
It will depend on the movie or show that is being made, but for the most part, directors and producers are looking for "real" people. They want people with varying looks and sizes with commmon everyday features.
You Need to Invest In a Photo Gallery
All you need are a couple of digital photos: a close-up of your face and a full body picture. Also makes sure you supply them with accurate height and weight measurements. You don't need anything fancy as an extra.
You Need to Pay an Agent
Chances are, if you need to pay to find work as an extra, it's likely a scam. Most ads for extras are open to the public and anyone can apply to them completely free of charge.
The Job Is Easy
Just because you are helping to make a movie or TV show doesn't mean you'll be treated like the stars. You are an extra to help fill-up the background. You need to come to work early and stay late. You will be paid minimal money or perhaps just given a pat on the back - it depends on your agreement with the studios. It's a thankless job. Therefore, you have to find the fun in doing so. A lot of people like meeting new people, and also like the possibility of appearing on film. Catching a glimpse of the stars is also fun (make sure you don't ask for autographs). It's generally not easy work, but could be exciting and fun depending on your mindset.
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Excellent list. Sometimes people only see the glamor and don't realize there's more to it. My daughter and her husband were extras in a movie shot in Oklahoma. Not a big name star in the batch, and to my knowledge, it hasn't been released. But they had fun and made a few bucks. I live in Vegas where there are constant casting calls and ads for extras, but none of them seem to be asking for an old lady with emphysema, DRAT! highfive!
My husband was an extra in "What Lies Beneath" with Harrison Ford and Michelle Phiffer. They treated him very well, but it was the most boring day of his life. Most of the day was spent eating and waiting for the few moments he was required to actually do something. But the pay was good. He got $300 for doing nothing all day.
Fun list. I live outside DC so see movie extra ads frequently but have no real interest in appearing in a movie or seeing a star. I see Obama out and about and it's just more hassle than anything to get the heck out of his way.