Extras! Extras! Read All About It!
Published: October 5, 2010 - 12:40pm
Does the thought of getting up at 2 or 3 AM to go to work appeal to you? How about a job where the “average” working day is a minimum of 12 hours and frequently goes on for 14-16 hours instead? If so, then let me introduce you to the world of Extras!
So who can be an extra? Anybody! What’s the number one thing extras casting companies look for? “The Look" or "The Type" but what the heck does that mean?
When a movie or TV spot is written, there is a certain ‘look’ or ‘type’ of person they have in mind for the main cast, as well as extras who will be used in the background scenes. Meetings are held with the Director and Executive Producer who explain to the Casting Company what they are looking for overall. The Casting Company contacts an Extras Casting Company (if they don’t do that function themselves) and explains what they need to supply. Then the request goes out to folks like you and I.
For featured roles, they may contact a specific person in their files directly, before putting out any general info. Generally, for “key” spots, a casting company likes to use people whom they’ve worked with in the past and are familiar with the system and what is required of them. These folks tend to ALWAYS be on time and ALWAYS have any required attire with them. They ask few questions and they are GREAT at taking directions! If you truly want to be an Extra in this business, THIS is the position you want to strive for. From here, you will probably receive a lot of exposure.
So how do you get on “the list” with an Extras Casting Company? That varies from place to place. Generally though, all casting companies have a way or place they notify the general public of their needs. It might be through their website on the internet, or a social network like Facebook or Twitter. It could be through ads in the local newspaper, or via news reports on a local TV station. Occasionally, usually when quite a few extras are needed at one time, a full casting audition will be held.
The key is to look up the casting companies in your area and find out what THEY do to notify people and don’t be afraid to contact them personally and ask them how you can apply. What do they need from you so you can be on file?
A professionally done headshot is best, but any “good and clear” picture of your head and shoulders will generally do. Your body measurements, type and clothing sizes is usually required. If you’ve done any acting, of any kind, be sure to list that as well.
After that, it’s pretty much persistence and “luck”. You (or the casting company) have no control over “the look” they are after, but the more professional and more often you present yourself, the better your chances to be chosen! Good Luck…and break a leg!