What is an “extra?”
As an extra you are a “background actor” for TV shows, movies, and commercials. If you are hired to do background work, you are a non-speaking actor in the scene, primarily in the background. Sometimes we also hire “featured extras” who fill very specific roles. Usually, the director “picture picks” these roles from pictures we submit. Some extras also work as stand-ins or photo doubles. Stand-ins, “stand in” for the main actor when the lighting, cameras, microphones, etc are being set up for the scene. Photo doubles are literally filmed in place of the actor. To be a photo double, you need to look just like the actor . . . same height, weight, skin tone, hair style and color, etc.
How long do I work as an extra?
Usually, extra work is an all day event. The film industry works long hours, and in general, background actors work the same long hours. Often, the start time is early in the morning, and filming goes late in the evening. The work days are typically 12 hours or longer. The scenes film until the director is sure he/she has exactly what is needed. Each day is usually a new scene so you are booked a day at a time.
How often can I work as an extras?
Within the industry, you usually cannot work more than once every 30 days on the same show. This is to keep a fresh look and make sure the same extras do not show up in the back of the wedding scene . . . and then the bar scene . . . and then at the “out of town” hotel. An exception to this would be “core/reoccurring extras.”
How do I get my start time once I’ve been booked by Legacy Casting?
Your start time called your “Call Time” will be emailed to you the night before in a FINAL information email from the email address firstname.lastname@example.org. (You may want to add that email address to your address book, so any emails we send you do not go to your Spam folder.) We know it is difficult to wait until the day before to know your schedule but we NEVER know your call time until filming stops the day before.
What do I need to bring?
Your information packet will give specifics on what to bring for your scene. Typically you will need to bring several changes of clothes for the wardrobe department to choose from. Bring the clothing in your information email. Do not wear any logos or flashy, crazy colors or patterns. Also bring a photo copy of your drivers license and social security card. You will also want to bring something to read or something to occupy your time while you are filming. DO NOT bring any valuables that you would be truly saddened if they were lost or missing at the end of the day. Legacy Casting and the production are NOT responsible for misplaced, stolen, or left behind property. You are welcome to bring snacks and drinks. There is a craft service department that provides snacks but if there is something you specifically like, bring it! Please eat breakfast before you come to set! Lunch is provided, 6 hours after the crew has been on set. DO NOT BRING family to the movie set. It’s a closed set. You have been hired to work on the production. Your sister, cousins, spouse, and friends have not. The only exception is if you are accompanying a minor 17 yrs and younger .
How do I get paid?
You get paid roughly 3-5 weeks after your work date. It’s important to note WE ARE NOT YOUR EMPLOYER. When you are on set, you will fill out a voucher with a payroll company. This payroll company is your employer, NOT LEGACY CASTING! Remember that to be paid quickly, your voucher needs to be filled in neatly and correctly. Keep your voucher receipt! This is proof of your work and contains the phone number to call if your pay check is incorrect or doesn’t arrive. Fill out a voucher each and every time you work!!! New day, new voucher!
What do I do once I get on set?
Once you are checked in and your wardrobe is approved, you will be in extras holding. You are welcome to read, talk, eat, etc in extras holding. From there you will move to set. Do not bring your camera, laptop, ipad on set. Please turn your cell phone OFF whenever you are on set. Once on set, the ADs (Assistant Directors) and PAs (Production Assistants) will let you know what you are supposed to do in a scene. It is very important to be quiet at all times and pay attention to instructions you are given. Everyone on set has a specific job to do. Please ask the PAs if you do not know what to do . . . do not ask wardrobe, cameramen, grips, etc. The ADs need to know where you are at all times. If you need to leave the set for any reason, please check with them first. The ADs and PAs are your point of contact while at work.
Can I talk to the actors, or ask them for an autograph?
NO, Please DO NOT ask the actors for autographs or engage them in conversation. Actors are working hard to be “in the zone.” They are there to do a job, just like you are. It is considered unprofessional to engage them in conversation while they are getting into character, going over their lines, getting into wardrobe, makeup, hair, or talking to a director. Excessive complaints to this effect can result in you not being asked back to this production or possibly any production with Legacy Casting.
What does “Hurry up and Wait” Mean?
In this business, everything is “hurry up and wait.” There may be long periods of time when it seems as though nothing is happening. However, actors may be rehearsing lines, the crew may be lighting the set, etc. Be patient! You are getting paid even when seemingly nothing is happening! The hours can be long and the weather can be trying. When you agree to be an extra, WE NEED YOU ALL DAY LONG! Once you are “established” in a scene, we need you to remain on set until we complete the shooting of that scene. If for any reason you cannot spend twelve or more hours with us, please let us know before the day of shooting.
What do I do when “It’s a Wrap?”
Return your wardrobe and/or props and bring your voucher to the extras holding area to sign out. In order to be paid, you must not leave with your voucher. A member of the production staff will approve your voucher and give you a receipt. Check your voucher and make sure it shows the correct number of hours worked. If you parked your car or drove your car in a scene, there is an additional “bump” on your paycheck for this. Check to make sure you were given the bump, if applicable. Save this receipt until your paycheck arrives.
If I’m hired to be an extra and I have an emergency what do I do?
Emergencies happen. We understand. If you are lost or sick, please call our office at 214-785-4984 no matter what time of the day or night it is. We need time to find someone to replace you! If you do not show up and do not let us know in advance, you will be considered a “no show” and deleted from our database.
Can I take photos and post them on Facebook or Twitter?
We know that working on a set is a ton of fun and you want to share the action with your friends and family BUT productions also want to keep their sets and scenes a secret until it is time for the scene to air! In general, do NOT take pictures and do not post pictures online. Most productions prohibit it. If you’re working on one that prohibits it, then YOU MUST ABIDE BY THE RULES OF THE PRODUCTION REGARDING ALL PHOTOGRAPHY. In our tech savvy world, everything you say and post can be used against you. Choose wisely what to post, if anything! If you post a picture or comment on your day on set, the production could ask that you are not invited back. Be wise!
How do I get a Speaking Role?
Many actors work YEARS of their lives without having a speaking role. It is a very tough and competitive business. The best way to get a speaking role is to do extra work if you have NO experience so that you can gain experience and know what it’s like on set. Take acting classes to determine what your acting skills are and where you can grow. Get professional head shots. Make a resume. Network with other actors. Get an agent. Your agent will submit you for auditions. Stay persistent. It is a very hard field to break in to but it can be done if you stay persistent.
How long do you keep me in your database?
We keep you in our database forever . . . unless you ask to be removed! If you change hair color or hair style or remove or add facial hair or other big changes to your appearance, please submit a new photo so we have your current look on file. This is especially true for minors in our database!
I’ve never been contacted to work as an extra. Why?
Ugh. The question we dread the most! Our goal is to get EVERYONE in our database into multiple scenes. We WANT to put you to work! Don’t give up! We might not be working on a project in your area right now or may be working on a show that doesn’t have scenes that suit your look. We will contact you as soon as we can. You are always welcome to contact us and ask if we have a scene we can book you in. We love hearing from our actors!