7 FAQs a Lot of Movie Extras Wonder About

Holly Bissonnette| October 28, 2013

Becoming a movie extra requires for you to know all the ins and outs of this particular niche of the entertainment industry. It needs for you to know where and how to start becoming an actor that works in the background. You can do this by searching for information. The best way to go about doing this is to look into frequently-asked-questions or FAQs about the industry.

Below you will find questions that have been frequently asked by individuals who want to get into the entertainment industry as  movie extras and the answers that come with them:

1. What does a movie extra do? 

Films extra are also known as background actors. They are hired to fill in the empty space behind the main cast in every scene of a movie or a show.

2. Do I need any acting skills and acting lessons to become an extra? 

You are neither required to go through acting lessons nor have remarkable acting skills to become a film extra. Why? This is because film extras are not demanded to deliver lines or act with the main cast. Usually, film extras are the ones who do the running, walking, sitting, or just being part of the crowd that happens in the background.  Although you will be ask to talk during some of the scenes, this will only require for your lips to move without producing any sound.  This is called “pantomime”.

3. Is it necessary for me to prepare headshots to become a movie extra?

You are not required to spend a lot of money for your headshots, especially if you are getting started in the entertainment industry as an extra.  It is not necessary to hire a professional photographer to take your headshots.

There are casting agencies that will only require you to submit one headshot that shows your natural beauty and personality. There are other agencies that will only take a photo of you taken in their office.  Do not focus on your poses, focus on your looks. Be playful with your look. You can be lawyer, waiter, or a nurse.

4. Do I need to pay anything to get any film extra job or to be a member of any casting agencies?

You do not have to pay in order to get any movie extra jobs. Be aware of this kind of scam. There are casting agents or agencies that will ask you to pay a lot of money in return for booking you for film extra jobs. However, legitimate casting agencies will require you to pay for a membership fee only once and will only promise to provide you with a listing of casting calls, not get you the jobs themselves.

5. Is there a need for me to be a SAG (Screen Actors Guild) member?

There is no need for you to be a SAG member to be an extra. There are many union productions that hire non-union members if there are no available union members who can fill out the position.

6. How much is the talent fee of a film extra?

The talent fee will depend on the project and the casting agent.  It will also depend on the working hours and the role you are playing as an extra. If you are a stand-in or a double extra, you get a bigger talent fee than the ordinary background actor.

7. Do I have to bring my own wardrobe?

Yes, there is a need for you to bring your own outfits, especially for contemporary projects. While there are productions that will provide you with a ready set of clothes, especially in sci-fi thrillers or period movies, it is always better to keep a bag of clothes with you. This is to be prepared for any unexpected scenarios.

The FAQs above are just among the most basic queries with regards to becoming a background actor. If you want to learn more, there are other more in-depth articles about movie extras that you can find online. Just keep in mind that the most important thing about becoming a movie extra is to always feed yourself with information, so you can be ready for any eventuality.

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