So you’ve done the hard work. You’ve joined the agencies, worked out your best head shot and have been waiting for that chance of an acting job. Perhaps all you were looking for was a job as an extra in a movie or in a TV show. But look at this, you’re now headed to your first casting call….! How you got there doesn’t matter now, but you did and now the butterflies kick in, it’s time to prepare for your first casting call.
So what is the casting director looking for? Well only he or she knows that, but there are a few things you can do to prepare and give yourself a good chance.
Don’t be late – sounds obvious but this is like any other job interview. You won’t impress anyone by being late!
Read the material – frequently you will have been given some readings before you go into the casting call. Do yourself a favour and read it!
Bring your resume/photos – take along a couple of copies of your head shot and your resume. It’s much easier to just be able to hand a copy over rather than make excuses and say you’ll email it to them later! Remember, if you are as good as the next person at the casting call, the simple fact that they were a bit more prepared than you may be what gets them the job and not you. It’s sometimes the small things that count!
Don’t be a Prima Dona – acting and the fame that goes with ‘big’ acting is always associated with big bucks, big stars and big egos! However, let’s face it – this is work and people are looking for a cast who are going work well together. You are unlikely to come out of a casting call with a job if you’ve played the Prima Dona (unless that’s what the role was for!!). So, don’t overdo it – remember, they want the right chemistry but also the right attitude.
Don’t beg – hey look, we know ‘you deserve this’ and ‘you need the break’, but most casting directors don’t want to hear this….again! Keep calm.
Show respect – let’s get back to the obvious. No matter who you come across at the casting call, show everyone respect. Be polite, don’t give anyone a reason to be negative about you, even if it’s just the guy calling you through!
Be flexible – be mindful of the aims of the casting call but where possible show the casting director that you are a flexible actor and can adapt. This isn’t the easiest thing to master as quite often you’ve only got a couple of minutes to do your stuff, but it will pay dividends if you can do this.
So, a few key points here, but often it’s these simple things that people forget.
Keep calm, good luck, show respect and get that acting job!
Why be an extra on TV or in a movie? What drives people to do that? Well, what you can’t ignore is that celebrity is all around us. From the building tall pin up posters, to the TV screen, in the magazines we read and of course on the Internet. There is a certain allure to money and fame, a time honoured clamouring for the dream that is celebrity. Not many of us will even get close to that gold status of being a household name, or that guy or girl off the TV, and yet, if you harbour a desire to reach out and get close to that lifestyle, if you have an ounce of talent and/or a big enough will to try, then look into how to be an extra on TV show or movie….
Some think that this is a crass and ridiculous way of just getting up close to a star, but it can be great fun, can make you some extra money (always a bonus!) and who knows, if you stand out and make an impression as an extra then you might get your chance to get bigger and better roles. Being an extra can open doors or simply be a cool hobby and great story for you to talk to your pals about!
So how to be an extra? Well, here’s a few ideas for nothing!
Do I need to be a certain ‘type’ of person/look?
In short, no. Movies and TV shows need a wide range of extra’s, tall, fat, thin, small….you don’t need to be a Brad Pitt or Julia Roberts to get in!
There’s no getting away from it, most movies and TV shows are shot in big cities, so the best chances of getting work as an extra can be found in those kind of locations.
You don’t strictly need any training, but it helps. Having an awareness of some basic acting principles helps. Maybe grab a couple of books online to get the basics straight.
This is probably the trickiest bit! The key is finding a good agent as most extras are booked through agencies. Sometimes, like finding any job, the best thing to do is join as many agencies as possible. Agencies may charge you a small admin fee for processing your application, look out for any trying to charge you more than say $100 – it should never cost more than that. In fact most good agencies shouldn’t charge you at all just to put you on their books. Ask some sensible questions, what movies/TV shows they have placed extras for, what they are working on right now, etc.
Will I need to audition?
In most circumstances, no. If you meet ‘the look’ that the movie or TV show is after then that is normally enough. This is based predominantly on the photo/head shot that you have registered with your agencies. This is therefore something to pay particular attention to – get a good qualoty picture of yourself, in fact it probably pays to pay a professional to do take your photos, again, don’t go over the top on this, $100 should see you to some good shots.
So, becomong an extra in a movie or TV show involves taking these first few simple but important steps. To recap, the 2 most important things to take away here are join a number of agencies and get a good head shot!
Some more useful links: