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October 21st, 2003

How To Be An Extra

This past weekend I was an extra in a movie. Since I’m quite sure that Hollywood talent scouts will see my role as a background counselor and be knocking down my door with offers for major speaking roles, I figured I would give you all some advice about how to be a good movie extra before I get famous.

  1. Be patient. There will be a lot of waiting. Each day of shooting will likely only garner a few minutes of footage used in the movie, so you’ll be spending a lot of time just sitting. Bring a book to read or get to know some of the other extras, otherwise you’ll be bored out of your skull.
  2. The quality of the food is likely proportional to the movie’s budget. I had read about how good movie set food usually was, but on my first day on set, I had a choice between salad, onion rings, and chicken nuggets.
  3. Be ready to “practice talk.” It’s not as easy to carry on a realistic-looking conversation while just mouthing words as you’d think. Or maybe it’s just that I was working with 15-year-old kids and they kept laughing.
  4. If you’re bringing your own clothes, wear neutral colors without logos or distracting words.
  5. When they say “Quiet!” and “Rolling!” on set, they mean it. Even the smallest sound can be picked up by the mics, so even if you’re not in the scene, if you’re near the set: shut your piehole.
  6. Try not to stare at the actors because you’re excited to see them. It’s creepy.

Now that I’m an established “extra” veteran (hey, I have nearly 10 seconds of screen time under my belt!), I feel I can give out this advice. If you’re looking for more advice when your time comes to be “the man/woman in the background,” you may also find this info helpful.

Posted in Television, Movies, and Music

Ryan October 20, 2008, 1:38 pm

Just to let everyone know, my 10 seconds of fame hits stores on November 4th!:

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