Have you ever wondered about the people in the crowds or on the streets in a film production?
It might be a scene where the lead actors are at a baseball game or talking on the streets of New York. Those people who make the scene look real are the film extras-people hired for non-speaking roles in a film.
Whether you want to break into the film industry or to fulfill a childhood dream, working as a movie extra can be a fun way to spend a day or a week. Film extras are needed as long as the director is filming a scene that needs more people. Getting a film job as an extra depends on one factor in particular – location.
Movies are made in many corners of the world, but that doesn’t mean that that includes your hometown. A potential film extra needs to go where the films are being made. New York and California are obvious choices, but filming takes place all over the United States. The television show Dawson’s Creek was filmed in North Carolina.
It probably isn’t a good idea to move to another city just to be a film extra, but if a career in films is worth pursuing, choose a place with an excellent film school. Not only would you be getting a shot at an education, but experience on a film set. The combination of both looks good on a resume.
Becoming a film extra is going to take some research. Before you can pick your face out of the crowd at the movie screening, you will have to find the openings for film extras. The person in charge of hiring extras will also tell you when and how you are to be paid and if they need you for more than one day. Extras aren’t paid much but they are paid. If you are lucky, you will be needed to work for several days or weeks depending on the film.
Start with magazines. The filming world has trade magazines and entertainment magazines. In the back are ads that advertise for school programs, internships, and other film-related opportunities. These ads extend to trade newspapers. You may not live in a city where they film movies, but you may be within driving distance.
Become a member of the Screen Actor’s Guild. Even if you aren’t a major motion picture star, it helps to be a member when looking for work. This professional association looks good on a resume. News of opportunities may come your way through the guild.
When production companies come to a location to shoot, they advertise if they need extras. Check your local newspapers for ads if you’ve heard that there is movie scheduled to be filmed. Flyers may be posted at a local film school or theater.
The ad will state the particulars of the movie industry job. Whether you get hired or not is first-come, first-served. Arrive early for the open call to be chosen. Depending on the film, extras where makeup, period garb, and may participate in some of the action.
The work of a film extra could be easy such as sitting in a seat in a stadium and cheering on cue. The job could be more rigorous like that of the creature army in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. It is anything but boring for those who love the art of films.
A student in film school can make extra money as a film extra. It’s hard to work while in school and answering calls for extras can give you some money in your pocket. Of course this works better in an area where there are a lot of film productions going on. The next time you hear of a film coming to the area, think about becoming an extra.
Of all the jobs in film the easiest to get is that of a movie extra. Movie extra jobs don’t pay much but there are many opportunities in lots of locations around the U.S. and world. Learn about all kinds of film jobs as well as music careers on JobMonkey. Lisa Jenkins is an expert on unique careers and running effective job searches. Her insights on entertainment careers are free online.