Is It Possible to Make a Living by Being a Film Extra?

Have you ever wondered how much are actors getting paid as an extra? Is it possible to make a living by being only a film extra? Isn't this something that is so tempting but at the same time so questionable?

What Is An Extra?

Well, then let's clear this out. First, what precisely is an extra? Extra is a background actor who aims to add reality to the scene. They could be walking through New York, scrolling through the park, acting as an audience at the cinema, or people at the restaurant. 

For sure you have noticed that every scene of the movie is filled with different people: children, men, women, and even animals. This creates enormous amounts of jobs for those background actors. For them becoming an extra is a valuable experience, a start point for their future major roles. 

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Many famous actors started as extras—Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, and Clint Eastwood, just to name a few.

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How to get started as an extra?

Like all other jobs, you need to present your employer with a CV or in the entertainment industry a portfolio. Here's what you need to do:

First, Create up-to-date headshots. At this point, you don’t need a professional photo shoot for this. Just take some photos on your phone making sure the lighting is good and your face is clearly seen.  

Register with casting networks like allcasting. You do need to find casting calls and apply for them. To avoid wasting too much time researching you can use casting networks instead. They post new casting calls on a daily basis and collect all the information for you. 

Next, apply for as many roles as you are suitable for. Make sure you have checked the criteria for casting: location, gender, age, and other requirements. Apply only for those that have matching criteria.

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And finally, connect with industry professionals. Again, this can be done through a casting network where you can meet fellow actors. You can connect to industry professionals during the auditions and later on set. 

How much are extras getting paid?

Okay, now when this is done, let's talk numbers: how much are extras getting paid?

The payment model for extras is straightforward. It's divided into either per-hour payments or the most common per-day rates. To be even more specific, some of our most recent gigs offered around 100 dollars pay per day. This, of course, mainly depends on the scale and length of the project.

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Benefits of being an extra

Being an extra comes with its own benefits:

  • To start with - there's no previous experience needed. This is why it’s great for those who need this ground knowledge of the industry. 
  • You get a chance to get noticed by casting professionals! Did you know that Megan Fox was noticed by the director during her background minute role as a dancer? Well, you know now and this is just one example of many. 
  • Additionally, the more gigs you pick up, the more your screen time is increasing. This is very important for your portfolio and future roles. 
  • Last, but not least - it will also give you a glance at what it's like to be and work on the set. Most of the time, you would be asked to spend the whole day on a set, making sure your scene was filmed right. This would provide you with the opportunity to live the normal day of an actor, being around the team, the director and some celebrities of course. 

Ready to launch your career as an extra? Wait no longer and book your first audition on!    

Good luck, and may you get cast.

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