One of the biggest thrills you will ever have in your life is sitting in a movie theater and voilà – Your face comes up on the big screen in front of you – amazing!!
(Pictured, Amanda Seyfried! Keep scrolling!!!
Let’s talk about this for a minute and ask yourself – To what degree do you hope to be a big screen or TV show actor or actress? Do you want to go all the way and be the lead in the movie or show or are you happy with being seen in the background? Or maybe you want to be somewhere in between? Obviously, it takes a lot of hard work to become the lead or have the principal role in a feature film – let’s talk more about that in a future blog.
For now, let’s stick to how to get cast in a movie as a background extra or featured extra.
First of all, let’s decide what type of role you are hoping to obtain in the production. If you are a beginning actor or intermediate actor, you could possibly obtain a role as a background extra which is a person who is simply in the background of different scenes throughout the show or movie. This makes the movie look realistic and adds an element of really being there in the eye of the viewing public. Most of the time background and extra roles do not require any experience, unless the role is cast specific which means you might have to know how to do something such as swim, surf, drive a car or march in a band etc. These extra roles are usually among the least paying jobs that the production is offering. There may be a time commitment depending on how many scenes you will be involved in. So, make sure you know your limitations before signing up or accepting a role.
If you want more than being seen in the background, a featured extra role might be the place for you. A featured extra role is a person with more airtime and importance than an extra role. This person may have one or two lines or be seen in several different scenes throughout the movie. This role usually does require some acting experience and casting directors will ask to see resumes prior to casting you in a featured extra role. Or you may have to go to an audition before being cast in these roles. These roles usually pay more than extra rolls and sometimes require more time and commitment due to learning scripts, wardrobe contingency, hair & make up, rehearsals, etc.
(Look Actors behind the scenes!! More content below!!)
Both extra and featured extra rolls may require some affiliation with the SAG/AFTRA union; casting directors for the production should have information on this.
Secondly let’s talk about how to find your dream roles. Depending on where you live in the United States or abroad, there maybe local casting agencies that can provide possible leads for you especially if a movie/show is filming near your hometown. Try to get on their emailing list and/or newsletters and watch for announcements of TV shows and movies that are being filmed in your area. A simple visit to the casting agency’s website may provide information on how to join the agency.
Thirdly, there are legitimate casting websites available to view on the Internet. Be aware of websites that seem too good to be true because they probably aren’t. Here is a list of some of the more reputable and dependable casting websites.
• Casting Networks Inc
• Casting Frontiers
• Actors Access
Remember that without an agent, you are on your own when it comes to signing contracts, being paid, safety, etc. so just be careful and good luck!!