These are a few tips from what I’ve learned so far as an Extra:

If you haven’t read Part 1 yet of this article CLICK HERE

Extra Casting– Arrive early. It makes a statement, and it also gets you inside faster (which, if you’re in Los Angeles in the summer and the line is held outside, you’ll definitely be glad you did.)

– Follow directions. Like I said before, attitude is everything, and you’ll get a lot more camera time if you’re bright-eyed, smiling, and obedient (even at 5 in the morning, if that’s your call time)

– BRING YOUR OWN FOOD AND WATER. A lot of the time, you’ll be taping for several hours in a row, with no allowances to get up and go to the restroom, get a drink, etc. This means that you’ll need to bring your own food and water, although you should definitely check with your agency or with security at the actual taping if it’s okay for you to have these items. Trust me, you’re gonna want to stay fed and hydrated, because it can get very hot under those lights and you don’t want to faint. Not a good impression.

– If you’re acting on a union job, make sure to leave with a voucher. If you lose that voucher, you could risk not getting paid, or even worse, not having the job count for your eligibility. So keep close track of it!

– Wear comfortable clothing. I cannot stress this enough. You do not want to be stuck in itchy, too tight, or too warm clothes for 8 hours straight. As long as what you’re wearing still fits the bill of what they’re looking for (business, casual, dressy, etc), you should be fine.

-Make friends. It’s actually quite common for the same background talent to get cast in various shows, so don’t be shy– get to know your fellow actors. You never know what favors they could send your way down the line.

Otherwise, being an extra is mostly about being cheesy, over the top, and usually quite uncomfortable for several hours at a time. There’s typically a lot of waiting and a lot of restless shifting around as everyone gets more and more eager to leave, and not everyone is in a very good mood by the end of the day. Honestly, though, just like every job, there are pros and cons. No, you’re not going to be winning an Oscar for this kind of work, or even really acting at all, but at the very least you’re getting experience in front of a camera with a real live acting crew and real live actors that you can watch and learn from. There can never be a point where an actor is “done” learning, so don’t ever get caught up in that trap where you think you’re the greatest thing since sliced bread and no one’s gonna tell you any differently. Believe me, that thought process won’t get you anywhere.

In short, if you’re looking to get famous overnight, being an extra is probably not for you. It’s a long process and often doesn’t feel very worthwhile; in fact, it can even be a little degrading for an actor who really wants to make something of their career and feels like they’re just doing bullshit work until they can get there. Truthfully, being an extra is a little bit like doing your General Education courses in college– useless in the long run, but a necessary step if you want to make your dreams come true. So try out for an extras agency and get working! I’d recommend continuing to look for different roles on the side, like on craigslist or on another casting site, that way you can build up your resume and make money at the same time. It’s not a perfect solution, and I’m not even sure yet if it’s going to lead me to the goal of getting into the union, but I’m hoping that in time it will, and until then, I’m gonna try to make the best of it!

That’s all for now, I’ll keep you guys posted about everything that’s going on as I work more shows. Tomorrow is feature film Innocence Blood. Should be a fun time, even though I have to get up at 6 in the morning. Bring on the fake smiles!

Brooke –

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