Would you like to be rich and famous? Most of us would be happy with just one of these, but acting extras usually end up neither! Having said that it can be fun and also a foot in the door of the film and TV world. Here are a few things to bear in mind.
Be Aware Of The Con Tricks.
There are many scams and cons that take advantage of peoples desire to be acting extras. The most cons common usually involve very high fees to sign up to an acting extras agency. These fees can be in $100s and usually entitle you to composites or head shots that are at best pointless and at worst misleading, or the promise a series of acting classes which, if they materialize, are of no real benefit.
To avoid these traps, look for a well established reputable agency. There will be a one off registration fee $20 or $30 to pay for the initial admin. But after that they make money when you do - thats their job! They will work to find you auditions that suit your skills and physical type.If you have a specific skill or physical attribute you may get paid more. Its worth pointing out that if you have an agent and get a job yourself, without their input, you still have to pay them. If you are with an agent and they don’t get you any work at all you can move to another by giving them 30 days notice of the cancelation of the contract in writing.
Behave On Set.
As an acting extra bad on-set behavior can have a massive affect how much work you get.
Some good rules are;
If you are new, watch and learn from your more experienced colleagues,
It’s worth bringing a book because you can be on set with nothing to do for hours, be patient. But when you are asked to do something do it straight away.
Treat the cast and crew with courtesy and respect,
Food is provided, but know your place in the pecking order - the bottom,
Never bother to the stars! If they initiate a conversation then reply, but you are there to do a job, you are not being paid to be a fan or to fill up your autograph book.
On set misbehavior will endanger your chances of being asked back or even sent from set there and then.
Keep Your Eyes And Ears Open.
This not only applies to taking advice from more experienced extras on set as mentioned above, but it also applies to finding work. Adverts, films and TV shows are filmed all over the country and when an outdoor scene is shot then locals can get work as extras. The adverts for these jobs can be found in the local press and though they are at the lower end of the pay-scale, they could be the start of something bigger or just a good experience.
Get A SAG Card.
There are two types of extras, those with a Screen Actors Guild card (SAG) and those without. The Screen Actors Guild was set up to improve the working condition of actors. A SAG card means you get paid more and hopefully your career develops more quickly. Every extra starts without the card then as they do more and more work their chances of getting one improve. The basic rule is the more work you get the more more likely it is you'll get the card, once you get the card the more money you get paid. Easy!
I hope that this brief article has helped. Acting as an extra can be fun, it probably won’t make you rich and famous, but you might make some good friends and have some excellent diner party stories!