December 8, 2011

Start Your Acting Career by Becoming a Movie Extra

Earlier this week, I wrote about how you can get a job as a mall Santa, but what if you want to take your acting a bit further? What if you want a real career in show business, not just a temporary role as a holiday character? One of the best ways to get into this industry is to look for opportunities to become a movie extra.

Working as a movie extra allows you to earn a small paycheck while you network with people in the movie industry. Movie extras stand in the background, create a crowds, and otherwise help make public scenes in a movie feel more realistic. Often, you’re only needed for a day or two while they’re filming a specific scene. Unfortunately, pay is usually only about minimum wage (or a flat fee for the day that totals about the same), but there are some added benefits to working as a movie extra:

  • You’ll get to meet some of the top talent in the industry. You won’t always have time to make an impression on directors or stars, but if you’re polite and easy to work with, you’ll catch a few eyes.
  • Working as a movie extra can teach you the ins and outs of how scenes are filmed, which is good experience if you want to go out for other roles.
  • Sometimes, it isn’t just the big names who can help you. Hair and make-up workers, props managers, and even assistants have more time to talk with extras on set, and they could be your ticket to a bigger role.

One of the major benefits of becoming a movie extra is that you don’t necessarily have to live in Hollywood to work in these roles. Make movies are filmed on location, at least part of the time, and while they’re in your city, they’ll need local extras. So, while you can find more roles by moving to California, you might also be able to pick up some work in other locations as well.

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