How to be an Extra
An extra (also called background) is someone who performs in a non-speaking role on a production. The best way to become involved is to get in touch with background casting companies. Listed below are some background casting agencies in the Albuquerque area. Here are some tips to become an extra on a production:
- Gather Important Items:
You will need to gather some important information that casting companies use on a Daily Basis. First be sure to take some new photos of yourself. Grab a Friend, Family Member, or Neighbor and have them take some photos of you against a Blank Wall in a Neutral Color. You should have one full body photo (Head to Toes in frame, and without a large gap on top/bottom of photo), a second photo that is from chest up (Bottom should be at mid chest and the top of the photo should be a little over the top of your head). These photos need to accurately depict what you look like NOW (Hair Color, Glasses/No Glasses, Men with long hair need to show that in the photo). The next thing you will need is accurate sizes. We suggest going to Mens Warehouse for Men, Victoria Secrets for Ladies and ask them to get your full sizes. SAMPLE: Height, Weight, Coat X Neck/Sleeve, Waist, Inseam, Shoes, Hat (Ladies will need Dress, Bust, Hips, Waist, Shoes). Updated Mailing Address, Contact Cell, and Working Email Address that you will monitor frequently.
- Get Listed With Casting Companies:
Now that you should have all the required information together be sure to follow the individual casting companies on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter! Some casting companies have a database you should sign up in as well as monitor their Social Media Feeds. When you see something that fits your Type be sure to submit with the information you gathered above!
- Be aware of scams!
Even Craigslist sometimes lists casting calls; however, BE CERTAIN THAT THEY ARE LEGITIMATE. Never, ever pay to be listed with an extras casting company or talent agency. Find helpful information in avoiding acting and modeling scams here: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0071-look-out-modeling-scams
- Check casting calls frequently.
Background Talent FAQs
Albuquerque is experiencing a large increase in film production, and most films need a good supply of background talent / extras. Here are a few frequently asked questions:
What is an extra?
An extra (also called background actor, background talent) is someone who performs in a production in a nonspeaking role, usually in the background. Extras help make scenes look and feel more authentic.
What are casting companies looking for when they need extras?
Casting companies looks for all kinds of people to work as extras. Depending on the movie/ TV scene, they will call for specific personalities, looks and characteristics.
Will I be paid for the day?
Yes, usually background is a paid job. The pay may vary with each production.
How long is a typical day's work?
The movie industry works very long hours. A 10 to 14 hour work day is not uncommon.
What if I can't be available all day?
Casting companies usually ask that you are available all day. If you are unable to do so, or have to cancel, be sure to contact the casting company immediately.
What is a Cattle Call?
A cattle call refers to a mass casting call, where hundreds are seen in an afternoon for a very brief amount of time.
How do I find out about when a movie needs extras?
There are several casting companies around town where you can register.
Does it cost money to be listed with an Extras Casting Director?
No, there should be no cost to be listed. The Casting Director may take a portion of your wages if you are selected.
What is a head shot?
A headshot is a photo of your head and neck, typically from your shoulders up. You can either have your head shot taken professionally, or you can do it yourself.
What is it like on a movie set?
It can be exciting, but it is a lot of waiting around until they need their background. It would be a good idea to bring a book to help pass the time.