Tips for Being a Film or TV Extra

Have you ever wanted to be an actor? Loved being in plays? Thought about what working in the industry would be like?

Even if you haven’t, being an extra in a film or a TV series can be an exciting experience, and a good way to earn some extra cash. You don’t need any qualifications or prior experience to become an extra, and that is what makes it so much more suitable. 

The downside is that the hours can be long because a lot goes into preparing for even a shot worth just a few seconds. You’ll also get gigs on very short notices. But, if you manage to get some good ones, you can get some serious money for even a day’s worth of work.


It is rewarding; all you need to do is patient and possess a good work ethic!

Here are some tips to make being an extra smooth sailing:

1. Treat the job professionally – Like any other job, you have to treat the job professionally and be organized with your work. Do not accept more work than you can handle, do not accept two gigs for clashing dates, do not cancel last minute. In short, maintain a professional attitude.

2. Be flexible with your schedule – One of the perks of being an extra is that you don’t exactly have a long term commitment, so you can work as per your schedule. But being flexible and being available withing short notice periods will help you get more work.

3. Be patient – Once you get a gig, you might not get the details immediately. You have to learn to be patient. Many times you will get all the details just the night before the actual shoot. This can be frustrating, but maintaining your cool is crucial. Details like what character you are going to be playing, your costume, and even timing can be held off until later.

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4. Prepare for long hours – Here’s where patience comes into play as well. Most sprints on sets can easily be for 12 hours, and it doesn’t matter if it’s the day or if it’s the night. Bring your tablet or book with you so that you don’t get bored.

5. Be punctual – Like any other job, remember to be on time, and do your part to the best of your abilities. You never know how things might take off for you.

6. No leaking inside information – While working on shows and in movies can be cool, do not rush over to social media to talk about it. Do not leak something that is supposed to be kept under wraps. Do not give away spoilers. Be professional about it.

7. Looks don’t matter – Unless you are in the lead, looks do not matter much. Production companies are usually looking for regular people to fill up the scene. They do not need you to be the center of attention, so it doesn’t matter what shape or size you are, you can easily get a job as an extra, so do not get hung up on your looks.

Final Thoughts

Being a film or TV extra can be really rewarding. It is like having the best of both worlds. You get to act without the pressure it comes from being in the lead. It is also a good job opportunity for students, especially if you are studying drama or theater.

Although remember that you need to keep your papers in order because a lot of big companies need paperwork for you to get the gig, and if you are not a citizen, then you might have to produce proof of your right to work in the country.

About the author

Mark Holland

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