Behind the Scenes: How to Earn Money as a Movie Extra

3 minute read

By Help Me Team

Being a movie extra is an opportunity to experience the magic of filmmaking while earning money. This role is essential in bringing the streets, parties, or epic battlefields to life. Start a search today to learn how to make money as a movie extra.

Extras are part of the intricate tapestry that sets the scene, making a significant impact. It’s a chance to be close to the action, witness the creative process, and potentially rub shoulders with stars, all while contributing to the storytelling.

What is a Movie Extra?

A movie extra, or a background actor, plays a crucial yet understated role in filmmaking. They are responsible for adding realism and atmosphere to the scenes being filmed. Unlike speaking roles, extras do not have lines but their presence is crucial to create a realistic setting. From bustling cityscapes to intimate café scenes, extras are pivotal in setting the right tone.

As an extra, you might find yourself in various settings, but it’s just one piece of the larger production puzzle. This means a significant part of your day could involve waiting on set, ready to step into the scene when needed. This downtime also offers a chance to browse casting sites for future opportunities or even to work on quiet side hustles like writing or virtual assisting. Being a movie extra requires a balance of patience, alertness, and adaptability, making it a unique and engaging role in the world of cinema.

Finding Opportunities as a Movie Extra

The journey to becoming a movie extra begins with knowing where to look. Many casting agencies specialize in recruiting extras for various projects. It’s essential to research and register with reputable agencies in your area. Additionally, online platforms and social media groups dedicated to casting calls can be valuable resources. Explore (and check regularly) various casting websites like Central Casting and Advanced Casting — both of these offer a plethora of opportunities for background roles in productions across the country, from Seattle to Fort Lauderdale.

The good news is that signing up with these casting services is usually free of charge. However, some may require you to take headshots and attend an orientation, ideally in a location near you. For those aiming to work regularly and save time, services like Extras Management are invaluable. They automatically search for and submit your profile to suitable jobs based on your availability and profile, although this convenience comes with a monthly fee.

On the Set: What to Expect

The experience of being on a movie set is unique and can vary greatly. Extras should be prepared for long hours, often including waiting times. It’s important to stay attentive, follow directions from the director or assistant director, and be ready to repeat actions multiple times for different takes. Despite the repetitive nature, maintaining enthusiasm and a positive attitude is crucial.

Networking and Building Relationships

Working as a movie extra also provides a fantastic opportunity to network. Engaging with fellow extras and crew members can open doors to future opportunities. It’s important to remain professional and courteous, as the connections made on set can be invaluable. Building a good reputation can lead to recommendations for other projects.

How Much Do Extras Get Paid?

The pay for movie extras can vary, but it’s an interesting way to earn some extra cash. Typically, if you’re not in a union, you can expect to make between $100 and $200 for a 10- or 12-hour day. If the shooting goes longer, you’ll get paid more for the extra time. Now, if you’re part of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), you’re looking at a higher pay rate – about $187 per day as of 2023. But it gets even better!

Extras can earn more for doing special things like getting wet on set, bringing their own props like pets or sports equipment, having body makeup applied, or showing off special skills like tennis or motorcycle driving. To get the full scoop on payments and other cool perks, it’s a good idea to check out the official SAG-AFTRA handbook for background actors.

Start Making Money as a Movie Extra Today!

Dive into the exciting world of film and start earning as a movie extra today! It’s a simple and fun way to get a taste of movie magic. Just grab your computer or phone, and begin exploring the many casting websites out there. You’ll find plenty of opportunities to step onto a film set, be part of amazing stories, and make money at the same time.

So, don’t wait – your adventure in cinema could be just a few clicks away!

Help Me Team