I’ve been in Atlanta for almost 3 years and in that time I’ve done a lot of work as a background actor aka extra. For my non film/tv peeps background actors or extras are the people literally in the background of scenes. Yup that’s all fake too someone told that lady to walk behind those two actors at that exact moment, sorry. There are several different types of extras and oh boy are they interesting.
- Naturally let’s start with the newby- They have no idea what’s going on and it’s adorable. They ask silly things like:
- “The email said 12-14 hours but you don’t think it will be that long do you?” hahaha of course it will, silly! You got here before the sun and you won’t leave until the sun goes down! Get used to the dark buddy! Your days of seeing daylight are OVER. And if we are outside I hope you like watching the sun rise feeling the temperature go up 50 degrees watching the sun set and then feeling like you’re stuck in a freezer for the rest of the night!
- “do you think *insert famous person* will be here I would love to get a picture with them. ” hahahaha silly person as an extra if you even think about taking a photo on set you will be escorted off the property and black listed forever!
- They have to feed us soon, right? HAHAHAHAHA lunch is 6 hours after crew call and that’s only if they don’t take penalties, don’t even get me started on penalties. On a normal set background arrives 1 to 2 hours before crew call, typically you do get a little something for breakfast they’re not animals sheesh, but between that and lunch you’re lucky if you’re close enough to craft services to grab a snack and not feel like you’re going to die of starvation!
- The player: Can I get an eye roll PLEEEAAAAAAAASE! Thanks Judy 🙂
For some BOYS set is their playground to pick up some ladies.
- “oh yeah I’m a rapper my agent just thinks I should start getting into acting so I’m doing this, you should like my facebook page, let me get your number so I can let you know when I shoot my music video you would be perfect for it.” Boy bye!
- “I know a lot of casting directors! Give me your number and I’ll let you know when they’re casting for stuff.” That’s code for I’m going to blow up your phone and annoy you with everything except work!
- The career extra aka the know it all- Literally they do nothing else but extra work, which is totally fine, but because they’ve been on every set possible they believe they know everything, but they’re always wrong, and insist they know you and MUST figure out exactly what set they met you on and will basically ask you for a detailed history of the work you’ve done until they figure it out. This person is typically older and, “used to want to be an actor but decided it wasn’t for them but they like doing extra work and the extras casting director likes them a lot so they just book work all the time”. I love talking to people on set but you can’t possibly expect me to remember every single set I’ve been on and every detail about it….cant, nope, not gonna happen, sorry not sorry.
- The “I give zero fucks” people- Who knows why they continue to do extra work when they just complain the entire time! They think “rolling” is code for “hey start talking and being obnoxious”. (For my non film/tv people rolling means you should stop talking…NOW!) They literally ALWAYS ruin a take because they’re being an idiot. They’re also the one who literally RUNS when they say it’s time for lunch. Why? Who knows!
- Last and the most important: The chill people who are just doing it because they want to see what it’s like to be on set and the process of filming because they actually WANT to work in the industry. They pay attention, know what’s going on, they probably hate doing extra work because it really does suck sometimes and you aren’t always treated the best but they don’t complain all day.
Doing background really does suck sometimes but anytime you’re on set it should be a learning experience if this is the industry you want to be in. Look around and see what everyone is doing and learn the different jobs by watching. Be aware of EVERYTHING! Don’t complain all day and constantly ask when we’re going to wrap because no one likes that and a PA (production assistant) will not answer the question.
Final thought: If anyone who does extra work or wants to is reading this do me a favor and just don’t be THAT EXTRA!
That is all. kthanksbyeeeeeeeee
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