Movie extras play an important role in films, TV shows, and commercials. They fill in the background when the camera starts rolling to make a scene appear realistic. It would be weird if two actors are having a conversation on an empty sidewalk, so to make the scenes appear natural, casting directors hire movie extras.
These movie extras are rarely assigned speaking lines. Or if they are given one, it would probably be just a few lines. And how about that opportunity to be in the same with some big names in the industry? That is surely pretty exciting. However, even if their work is not that challenging, landing a role as an extra is not that easy. In this article are just few of the things one has to be familiarized with to get started.
Signing Up with a Movie Extra Casting Company
The easiest way to land a role as an extra is to register with a movie extra casting company. This means that you have to set an appointment with anyone from the company. Expect that you will be asked to hand over a small amount of money. Technically, this is how they work. Do not assume that this is some sort of a scam. This is only a registration fee, and this is inevitable. But if they ask you fees that exceed $25, you better step back and look for another one.
The amount that you will be paying would be used for their services such as posting your picture in a directory or searching for possible job opportunities for you. Before you register with one, it would be wise to do some research first to save time and effort.
Behaving On Set
Whenever the cameras start to roll, you have to keep quiet. Keeping quiet simply means no senseless talking and antic walking. You will know when shooting is about to start because they will give out indications such as red flashing lights or a crew member yelling out loud.
There are designated waiting areas for movie extras that are quite far from where the actual shoot is done. Even if this is the case, you will not be tolerated when they overhear your voice. If you are asked to keep quiet, then do so without asking any further questions.
Remembering Common Terms
Blocking refers to the position or placement of actors and movie extras in a scene. Whenever the directors will tell you to go over the blocking, you have to go where you are assigned to stand.
Basically, marks are just signs that would give you an idea where to stand in a certain scene. Usually, marks are indicated using tapes or sandbags. In case you fail to stand on your mark, you might ruin the scene.
- Assistant Director
The assistant director is your boss. He will be in charge of all the movie extras. In most cases, assistant directors could help you. If you want to keep your job, listen as you are told and do them properly.
Keeping Your Job
If you want to keep your job, you have to be careful with your actions. Do not speak unless you are told to do so. You are not allowed to speak to actors unless the actor himself initiates the conversation. In movie sets, this rule is strictly implemented. If you don’t want to be fired, you have to discipline yourself.
Never ask for autographs from actors. Even if you are starstruck, do not give out compliments. Aside from that, you should not bring any friends to the set.
Even if you are just an extra, do not take your role for granted. You are still important in every scene. Without you, it would be difficult for the entire casting team to bring a certain scene to life. Hence, as movie extras, you have to do your job and make sure you don’t mess things up.The Basics a Movie Extra Wannabe Should Know by Marie Skillern