Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be able to be seen by the eyes of millions of people you’ve never met, but didn’t know where to start? To have the ability to captivate an audience and leave them wanting more?
While it may not always seem as glamorous to some at first, a great place to start is by becoming an extra in the film industry! There is no such thing as a small part of any production; and what people may not realize, is that extras play a big role in creating the masterpieces we see everyday on our screens!
These incredible cinematic moments couldn’t be achieved without having those of us who help to add the finishing touches of a scene’s story. Whether that means you’re one of the popular girls in school enjoying her frappuccino, someone who’s just been murdered by a villian, or a monster that’s been covered head to toe in 20 pounds of latex and slime (and yes, all of these are real characters I have actually played.) there is no such thing as a boring day on set! :)
Extras (or background characters), are people like you and I who help bring together the ‘world of wonder' which is trying to be achieved in every production. Some tasks they will request of you are simple ones, such as walking from one end of a room to another, whereas other things can be more complex; such as participating in a marathon. I have been working in the film industry for almost ¼ of my life now, and I’m still learning things as I go along too! Don’t worry. The more you work on a production, the more comfortable you become with the atmosphere! :)
Automatically assume you are going to be there for around 12 hours (and then be pleasantly surprised if you get to go home early!) Not all days will be this long, it’s just helpful to be prepared. Sometimes a scene can be quick (around 4 hours or so) And sometimes they can even change their minds about a scene, and decide they don’t need extras 10 minutes after you’ve arrived! (Yes, this has happened a few times!) But the opposite is also possible, sometimes production will think a scene is supposed to be quick, but then they decide they need to change something, and you could be there the entire day. (Personally, I have worked more 14 hour shifts than I could count!)
There are 100s, sometimes even 1000s of people working on a production a day at any given time, so it’s important to be respectful of one another. Talking can be distracting to the other people working, and unless you get the ‘okay’ from a PA on set that talking is allowed, try not to talk. If you have something to say to someone, please be sure not to be loud or shouting, and use an indoor voice/whisper when possible, even when outside (unless specifically requested by a PA or director to do otherwise.) I know being on set can be super exciting, but in order for things to go smoothly, sometimes it's best to wait until lunch time, or even the end of the day when everyone is ‘wrapped’ (finished filming for the day) to talk to your friends.
Make sure your hair is washed and styled, your makeup is done but not too over the top (unless instructed by the hair and makeup team) and clean shaven if requested! Showing up camera ready is helpful for both you, and the hair and makeup team, because they don’t always have time to get to everyone, and sometimes extras are rushed to set incredibly early. Doing this ensures that both you and the team can feel comfortable about having you being seen on camera that day!
Being a girl scout for a few years myself as a kid, I’ve been told I can get easily carried away when it comes to being overly prepared. But luckily for me, this is a super helpful trait when working on set! Something that will totally help you any time you go to be on set, is having a backpack or bag with items that you know you will need in the span of 12 hours. It may seem like a bit much, but I can’t even tell you how many times that has saved me! (More on what items to bring below.)
I know from experience life happens, and I kid you not, if I didn’t plan to be arriving at least 30 minutes early, there are definitely some days I would have been late. Traffic alone can change someone’s entire day!
If you are unsure about your instructions, or are confused about something, just reach out to one of your friendly neighborhood PAs! PAs, (or Production Assistants) are the super helpful staff who are there to help you know where to go, what to do, and when to do it!
Especially if you have allergies like me!
If it's cold.
If it's cold.
Always keep extra tanks, shorts/spanx, leggings, or anything like that to keep you warm in your bag. Sometimes scenes are filmed in a different season then what is portrayed on screen!
If you have allergies or need them.
LIST of any allergies you may have, or medication you may take
(I.e. Rings, earrings, necklaces, etc.)
Or whatever you use for headaches Usually there’s a nurse or someone nearby, but just in case.
to switch into inbetween scenes
If you get pulled to stand-in so you can match the actor's height.
UNO, Drawing-Pad, Handheld games, crosswords, books, etc...
Bring your Passport, License, OR Whichever form of IDs are required to be able to fill out payroll.
I cannot emphasize this one enough. Like 4 Pairs!!!!!!! You can layer them for support, change them if they are sweaty. etc...
This typically refers to the main cast of a scene.
Second team, or ‘stand-ins’ are the people who switch places with the main actors when they need to step away from the set.
Any members of the production of which are there for the majority of the day. Cameramen/women, Boom Operators, Prop people, etc.
Assistant Director, someone who oversees a scene and helps tell people where to go/ what to do. (Usually directs the Extras)
Main overseer of a scene; is in charge of main placement of the cast.
Though you may or may not be by set when this term is used, it refers to when the stand-ins practice a scene before the actors come back to take their place. If you hear this term, that means rolling will most likely commence soon
This refers to when the cast is doing a rehearsal without extras, stand-ins, or other people in the room. It helps with practicing for the real scenes.
The actions of which you are to take when filming that scene; can often be a que for when the actors are supposed to do something.
The beginning and commencement of a scene.
This refers to when the camera angles are focusing more on a ‘zoomed in’ version of a scene. When this happens, sometimes some of the extras are sent back to holding to relax for a bit if where they were standing is no longer visible on camera.
This is the place where you will be spending a lot of your down time, so get comfy! But not tooooo comfortable; still be sure to be aware of your surroundings!
Usually the camera angle that everyone is needed for, this is the shot where most of the scenery and props are used. The angle shot from furthest away.
FILMING IN PROGRESS! PLEASE BE RESPECTFUL AND FOLLOW DIRECTIONS, DO NOT TALK UNLESS INSTRUCTED TO DO SO! :)
Usually the last shot before wrapping for the day! If you hear this word, then you will most likely be getting wrapped shortly after the take.
Attempt at filming a scene.
CONGRATULATIONS!! YOU ARE DONE FOR THE DAY!!! :)
This means that the previous scene you have been working on has been successfully done in a way that production approves of, and everyone will be moving on to the next scene.
A company move is when the entire production leaves the current filming site to go to another one. Whether that is from ‘stages on set’ to somewhere down town, it is important to follow the PAs and AD’s instructions and directions; this could be getting on a bus, van, or even hopping back into your own car, turning on your hazards, and playing ‘follow the leader’ down the interstate.
The legendary filming sites of which most things you see on screen are actually filmed!! **These usually don’t have a ceiling and often take place inside of what looks like a large warehouse**
Or ‘head to set’ refers to the actual location of which a scene is being filmed; often the spot where the cameras and people behind them reside.
Refers to the time of which is spent on set additionally after.
Precisely 12 minutes of which are allotted to finishing filming a set up before lunch.
Ha! I bet you weren’t expecting to see this one on here, where ya?? So in the film industry, Lunch just refers to the meal period that takes place 6 hours from when Crew arrives on set. This could be 12 in the afternoon, or even midnight! It really just depends on when the crew arrived.
Crafty or ‘Craft-Services’ Refers to the snacks of which are provided on set throughout the day for people if they are hungry. This can often be something small like cookies, candy, chips, or fruit. As well as water and things like that.
In short, No. Unless you get the clear from someone who works on the production. While every set is different, it is typically best to automatically assume not to have your phone out to avoid getting in trouble. Sometimes sets aren’t as strict, but I would play it safe just in case!
Well that’s a loaded question! There is no set amount of time of which filming takes, it really just depends on the scene. Though I will say be prepared for a 12 hour day. Sometimes a singular, smaller-scale scene can be done in about 4 hours on average. But multiple scenes are filmed a day, and anything can happen.
While every set is different, please don’t take pictures of ANYTHING unless you get the okay in advance. Many sets will request that you don’t take pictures at all, and phones can be confiscated if rules aren’t obeyed. :( We don’t want to spoil things before they air!!! If you get an ‘okay’ from someone on production that’s a different story, but please please PLEASE be careful and respectful!
DO NOT POST ANYTHING ON SOCIAL MEDIA UNTIL AFTER AIRING. And if you are unsure ask permission before doing so. You can get into big trouble, and that would make us so sad! :(
It can vary depending on whether you have worked with this payroll company in the past or not; However, it can take somewhere around 21 business days for new employees to receive their first check. After that, it's usually 1-2 weeks!
It can vary per production! But typically you get paid X$/XHours. Examples would look something like $88/8 or $138/12 Something like that. Meaning, that as long as you show up to set and sign in for work that day, you get paid for the entire day’s worth of work, even if you aren’t required to stay the full 8 or 12 hours.
Overtime is the pay rate compensation given to you by production for any additional time that goes over your hourly wage. For example, say you worked on a production that was 88/8, any time you work afterwards is broken down to 1.5x’s the hourly wage. So for example; if you worked a 12 hour shift, for the first 8 hours, you would make the initial $88 ($11 an hour x 8 ) then for the remaining 4, you would make 1.5 x $11 per hour. Equaling to $66 for the remainder time; totalling $154.00 before taxes are deducted.
Bumps are basically little bonuses that a production gives you on your paycheck for doing something out of the ordinary in addition to your daily rate. This could be if they give you $30 dollars for using your car as a prop in a scene because they like the look, or giving you an extra $100 for covering you head to toe in slime and latex. It really just depends on the scene!
That’s an easy one! Go to our website at https://castingalltalent.com and follow the instructions there! We look forward to working with you soon!!!!! :) :) :)