Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is an "extra" or
A: Actors who populate the background of a scene or can be seen
moving across in a scene are called "the background." They usually have
non-speaking roles in the production.
Q: Why is "networking" important?
A: If you're interested in continuing to work in the filming
industry, networking with others who are more experienced or have
connections will help you learn where the jobs can be found.
Q: What one thing should I take
with me to a filming location?
A: Actually, there are three necessities I advise actors to
carry along, including: A pen, so you don't have to borrow one to complete
essential paperwork; some reading material; and a folding chair, to make
your wait on some of those long production days, when you spend a lot of
time waiting to be called to a scene, a little more comfortable.
Q: How many days a week can I expect to work?
A: Three to five days for non-union (that's you). With a calling
service, you could work every day. Calling services are listed and
explained in my book, The Truth about being an Extra.
Q: Does the production company ever use our
A: Yes, and often, depending upon the type of car. The cars in
demand are usually luxury cars and, for some reason, they don't like red,
white or black. However, they have used my black Cadillac many times, so
go figure. I've included a chapter on "Movie Cars" in my
pointers for registering a car.
Q: How do I join Screen Actors Guild (SAG)?
A: Although the requirements are changing even as I write, here
is the latest from SAG about non-union background actors' eligibility:
A background performer who has worked a minimum of three days consecutive
or non-consecutive as a background performer on any production produced by
a signatory company, has been paid SAG wages and has the three vouchers,
is eligible to join SAG. For more information on how to join SAG, call
Q: Are there special tools I need to take with
me on the set?
A: Yes, although it may sound simple, a pen is imperative. You
must complete your voucher (proof that you worked) and movie extras don't
like to share; pens have a way of disappearing. Also, try to remember to
take a jacket if you are working on a stage. They are huge and windowless
and can be very cold. Ladies, always take a pair of flat shoes, as you
could be on your feet for hours. It's okay to bring your own folding
Q: Are there special casting agencies just for
children, and are they legitimate?
A: Yes, all the legitimate agencies that I am aware of are
listed in my book, The Truth about being an Extra.
must always be aware of the ones that require you to pay an advance fee
and be knowledgeable enough to judge the agency's legitimacy for yourself.
Q: How do I become a performer with speaking
A: Perform in plays and student films to get experience. Read
books about acting. Take acting classes. Develop another career to support
you or supplement your income while you build your acting career.
Q: If I have a question that is not answered
here, may I email you?
A: Sure, you can contact me,
and I will answer as quickly as possible. Be patient, as I may not respond
immediately. The absolute best way to get the answers, however, is to buy
my book, The Truth about being an Extra: How to Become a Good