How to ACTUALLY become an Extra
There’s so much fake stuff out there online and on Craigslist that it seemed impossible to figure out how to actually become an extra without getting scammed. Becoming an extra has been something I have always wanted to do, but I could never really figure out a legitimate path to becoming one. Well my friends, I have found the legitimate path, and let me tell you, IT IS EASY. I signed up to officially become an extra, and within 2 weeks I have received multiple phone calls asking me to come work on movies or shows, and I’ve already worked on the set of my first film. The casting agency I’m using requires you to live in 1 of 4 cities, so that might end your quest right there ? but maybe you can find an agency near you.
I am doing it through a company called: Central Casting. Specifically, Central Casting Georgia.
Central Casting has four offices in total; Central Casting Georgia, Central Casting Louisiana, Central Casting Los Angeles, and Central Casting New York.
If you don’t live in one of these cities, it still might be worth it to you to drive there from far away. Me, for example, I fly in from Wisconsin at a moments notice to work on a movie, and I flew in to Atlanta to register with Central Casting Georgia. If you’ve ever read anything about my blog, you might remember that I fly for free through my airline job, so this option certainly won’t work for everyone. ( I fly in the night before the filming, rent a car, sleep in my car, then go to the set in the morning ).
Anyway, here are the steps to becoming an extra:
Step 1: Register with Central Casting.
Step 2: Follow their Facebook page.
Step 3: Email them when you find a description that fits you / return calls.
Step 4: Get booked on a show and receive your information.
Step 5: Arrive to set early before call-time and be prepared.
Step 6: Work all day on set.
Step 7: Finish the work day, submit your Voucher and get paid.
Step 8: Wait for the movie to come out and get your 3 seconds of fame!
Step 1, Figure out what city you live near. If you don’t live near any of these cities, you may be out of luck or have to drive a long way to get there…
Step 2, The way Central Casting is set up is, they release all the information about what type of extras they need (Example: 6 feet tall, dark skin, short hair, 80’s clothes) on their facebook page a couple days before the film shoot. When you find a description they need that you match, proceed to step 3.
Step 3, Email the casting agency, or whoever is taking care of this hiring process for this show/movie (it will be in the facebook description). If they respond to you or call you back, they will then set you up with the calltime/call-time/call time (the time you’re supposed to arrive on set) as well as other directions, addresses and what you should bring to wear.
Step 4, If they think you are correct for the role, they will then book you for a show, and send you an email with all this information. Now you’re on the hook and you must show up on film day.
Step 5, They are going to give you a call time (this is the time you need to show up to the film set to fill out your paperwork and get ready for the film day). It is recommended to show up early/before the call time. Be prepared with a selection of wardrobe options. The wardrobe workers are going to eye you up, and see what style of clothes you have that match the type of film they are doing. (example, I was in a 1980’s era movie, so people brought a bunch of 80’s clothes and the wardrobe department looked through our options and told us what to wear) Everyone was carrying their clothes in one of these: http://amzn.to/2eejWyI But I looked like an amateur when I just had my clothes in my car and had to run out and get them…
Step 6, For me, the work day was 13 hours long, and I think this is pretty typical. We started at 6 am and finished shooting at 7 pm. Only because we lost daylight.
They filmed the same scene over a dozen times from every different angle, so sometimes you will be filming, sometimes you will just be hanging out on set while the crew sets up the different shots, cameras, and lighting scenarios.
Step 7, At the beginning of the day, the person you check in with hands you a ‘Voucher.’ This is a piece of paper that you write your tax info and address on, it’s how you get paid. At the end of the day you hand your voucher to the same person to “sign out,” they approve everything, then a few weeks later you will get a check in the mail.
Step 8, Once you’re done filming your scene, you probably won’t get called back to work on this film or episode again, due to continuity they can’t have the same extras walking around in multiple scenes. Now you just sit back, and wait a year for the rest of the film to be shot and edited, then head to theaters to check out your mug on the big screen!
How much do Extras get paid?
Roughly minimum wage plus time and and a half for overtime. I made $144 for a 13 hour day.
What is a voucher?
A voucher is a slip of papers where you fill out your tax information and your name and address. This is the paper they submit so you can get paid properly. You get a voucher when you start your day, and you hand it back to them when filming is done, and it’s time to check out.
How long to extras work per day?
I worked for a 13 hour day. Everything depends on what and how many scenes they are filming.
How to become an extra for a film / movie / TV show?
Step one, register with Central Casting.
Is it free to sign up / apply to become an extra / background actor?
Yes, it is totally free to become an extra. When you are booked for a job, they are the ones who pay you.
Should I ever have to pay to become an extra / background actor?
No. If some company is asking for money, they are fake, they are a scam.
Once you’re booked for a TV or Movie, what do you need to bring to set at call time?
Photo ID / Driver’s License
Your hair / makeup already ‘did’
A pen to fill out your voucher
Multiple sets of clothes / shoes to portray a type of character
Everyone there carried their clothes in one of these as to not wrinkle them: http://amzn.to/2eejWyI
Wanna learn how I became a ‘stunt driver’?
Read my blog post, HERE.