How Movie and TV Extras Can Break into Acting

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With so many beautiful and talented Movie, Commercial and TV Extras on our books, we’re blessed to enable them every day to show off their talent and skills as they work hard for our clients. No matter how subtle their role, our polished, poised and always enthusiastic extras really amp up the quality of video content. With video by far the most absorbed content on the web, quality AND quantity is now more important to brands than ever.

With the rise of video marketing leveraged by everyone from sole traders to large multinational corporations, comes more opportunity for Movie and TV Extras to land repeat gigs and become known. We’ve seen it happen first hand! Here are our hot tips for Extras wanting to break into acting.

What Roles are There for Extras?

Opportunities as an extra are many and varied, that’s what makes it so fun. Many actors enjoy making a living out of being an extra alone! Quietly achieving great things in the background.

  • Movies and Documentaries
  • TV and Broadcasting
  • Commercials
  • Promotional Brand Videos
  • Music Videos
  • Even Photography and Modelling shoots might require extras to help make the scene come to life in a more authentic way.

Working as an extra is a really great avenue to getting behind the scenes and gaining an understanding of how these processes work. Aspiring actors appreciate the time and effort that goes into marketing and entertainment.

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From Little Things, Big Things Grow

Some of our Extras and promotional models are formally trained actors who work tirelessly at their craft. It can become frustrating to continually be called up for ‘background roles’. This is where patience is a virtue. Some of our clients shoot multiple commercials and social media videos per month, it’s common for them to request the same extras that they know they can rely on. Eventually, this trust becomes a relationship which can quickly blossom into an opportunity.

Remember, a role as an extra is still an acting role on set. While you might barely be able to spot yourself when the finished product airs, the videographers, the client, directors, actors and entire team on set got to know you – and it’s what they think that matters. It’s those people that can open doors.

Famous Actors who started as Movie Extras

Everyone has to start somewhere, particularly in the cutthroat TV, Music and Movie industries. Some of the WORLD’s biggest names had to cut their perfect teeth as extras, despite their obvious talent and good looks. They worked patiently, diligently, impressed their peers and industry leaders – and got noticed.

We’re talking global superstars like George Clooney, Sylvester Stallone, Megan Fox, Matt Damon and Brad Pitt!! 

Check Out Some of Their First Roles as Extras, Naaaw.

Brad Pitt was paid $38 for his brief role as an extra “partygoer” in the 1987 film “Less Than Zero.” This was four years before his career-changing appearance in Thelma & Louise…(Goes to show you’ve gotta stick with it!)

 

Find Your Niche Acting Style as an Extra

Regardless of if you’re on a Movie, Commercial or TV set, there’s a lot you can absorb and take in. Notice the differences and similarities, and decide where you best fit in. You might be made for TV or destined for Hollywood. Polish your portfolio after every appointment. Ideally you would have a digital portfolio where casting can easily view samples of your work.

Are you a special kind of extra?

If you find you are repeatedly hired for similar scenes, or because of a particular physical feature, you may have found your niche. Take note of the genre and lead actors in these movies. Could you see yourself in that role one day? If you find similarities, use it to your advantage. Bundle these gigs on your portfolio with a suitable title: “Beach Scene Specialist” or “Gangster Movie Specialist.” You’ll be surprised how often clients are looking for a certain kind of ‘extra.’

Benefits of booking Professional Actors and Extras

We’ve all seen the dreaded “video-bomb’s” when creating content at the mercy of the general public. This is even more risky if you’re planning a live stream video to promote a ‘real-time’ sale or event. Our customers can rest assured their extras are all pre-screened, talented and professional. Silently creating the atmosphere the client envisages; that’s not a luxury they can rely on with the public. 

Similarly, managers might believe their staff are up to putting on a performance fit for their marketing. But the pressure of a rolling camera is not for everyone – especially those who haven’t been trained! Looking and sounding great on screen is an art-form. In many ways you have to ‘over-act’ to the point of feeling uncomfortable in order to appear energetic, compelling and head-turning on screen. Without this knowledge, many in-house performances can fall disappointingly flat.

By booking professional extra’s through a talent agency such as “yours truly,” you can expect more reliability, experience and a better controlled shoot and atmosphere. This in turn saves you and your photographers/videographers time, stress, and money, and gives you a more polished result! 

AMS Promotions is a team of Account Managers, Marketers and Promotions specialists. Operating nationally with a pool of over 10,000 beautiful and talented promotional staff and models, we’re driven by exceeding your promotional goals and celebrating your success. We go the “Extra” Mile.
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