10 Things You Should Know Being on Set As an Extra
1) Don’t Stick Out:
Many people believe that if they are an extra it will be the place they will get noticed and discovered. Unless, they are extremely lucky, they could not be more wrong, the point of being background is to be background. Consider yourself as moveable furniture. So, a good rule of thumb is just not be noticed. Be quiet and unobtrusive; Besides, if you stick out in one scene as an extra, it will most likely hurt your chances for auditioning for a role in that project in the future. So, simply DON’T STICK OUT!
2) Eat when you can:
There will always be food on set but that food may or may not be for the extras and most likely it will not be that filling. So, it is best to get as much food as you can when catering comes around. Even if you are not hungry, grab a snack between scenes. Because, you may never know how long the next scene may take to finish.
3) Pee when you can:
Your bathroom breaks are short and probably non-existent. So pee as much as you can when you have breaks. Keep in mind, that every minute that a production spends waiting is money wasted; something that any producer and network hates. It would help the production and prevent you from looking so bad if you use the bathroom between scenes and not in between takes.
4) Don’t talk to anyone who isn’t directly extra related:
Most actors are extremely focused and by asking an actor a question you may throw their concentration off. More importantly, everyone has a job to do. When it comes to the crew do not strike up conversations unless you have an important question and a Production Assistant is not around to help you. Sometimes crew will be bored and talk to you but assume they are doing something important at all times.
Cast should not be talked to unless they talk to you first. Never approach an actor on or off set, you are not there as a fan you are a working professional. No autographs, photos, etc and assume they are always busy even if they don’t look it.
5) Pay attention:
There is nothing worse than a production being held up because an extra did something wrong, nobody on set has the time or patience to deal with it. So keep your eyes and ears open and make sure you are always in the spot you are supposed to be.
6) Be positive:
You will face long hours, not very good food at times, and even extreme weather conditions but sometimes its better to be positive and keep an upbeat mood in the room. Never talk bad about anything either on or off set, you never know who may be listening and you don’t want to get caught bad mouthing someone important. it could hurt your chances in the long run.
7) Don’t make a mess:
Everyone hates a messy person. Clothing, food and garbage are your responsibilities make sure they are cleaned up and out of the way don’t be that person.
8) Don’t be pushy for screen time:
As an extra you are not there to be the center of attention, don’t make yourself look like a joke by throwing yourself towards the camera or stars at every opportunity. Pay attention to what is happening and work hard. Essentially, the best way to make the most of your experience is to connect with other actors and producers on set.
9) Be gracious if you do get a lucky break on set:
If you are lucky enough to get a bump on set or snag a line be good about it and don’t act like you’re better than your fellow extras, you may have to come back down off your mountain sometimes and people remember the jerks. Use this line to boost your career, get an agent and or manager to take your career to the next level. You just landed what thousands of people hope for every day.
10) Help people out
If you see another extra is cold or lost or confused or whatever make an effort to help them out. Extras are treated badly enough on set the least we can do is make an effort to help each other.