Saturday, August 11, 2012

Want To Be A Movie Extra?


One man worked as an extra on the Steve Jobs movie starring Ashton Kutcher and he wrote a piece about it on Gizmodo. Not usually your first stop for entertainment and gossip, but it is a really good article, and unlike me the guy can actually write well. When you think of Extras you might think of the Ricky Gervais show and that is not really it. Generally Kate Winslet does not stop by and chat with you about phone sex.

"It turns out that "background casting," as it's called, is a business of—to borrow a fishing term—casting a wide net. The Craigslist ads searching for Jobs extras in the same rudimentary manner one might look for a studio apartment are already the stuff of Gizmodo mockery, particularly because they make it seem like anybody with an internet connection and an Ashton obsession could walk onto the film's set. But it turns out that responding to a Craigslist cattle call is only the first obstacle to getting a part as human scenery on Jobs. The second obstacle is The Woman in Shorts."

People who do background work are really really patient and I think most of the time really high. I don't think there is any way to get through it or stay calm through everything. Anyway, if you want to read the rest of it you can click here. (Thanks libby)

19 comments:

Spring said...

I worked as an extra on the Avengers. It was actually very interesting but also VERY tedious! Thank God for my Kindle! Because you CANNOT have your phone or a camera or anything on set. I was able to stash my Kindle in my prop bag and read during down time. I will say, I have the utmost admiration for Tom Hiddleston as a gentleman and as a professional! He was warm, kind and very gracious! We were working at night in August on the Bier garden scenes. His costume had to weigh a ton but he was so patient and never raised a fuss. I will always support his movies just because of how nice he was to all of us! I can't say the same of some of the others....

RenoBlondee said...

Thanks for sharing @Spring! That is good to know about Tom.

TracySwingKid said...

That article is so true. I did some extra work when I was between jobs and now just for "fun". It is that bad and then some. You get to the set at 5 in the morning, at least. There is always a "woman in shorts" that acts like the Ruler of the Underlings and will treat you as such. You learn to bring as many snacks and water with you as possible because you usually will not get lunch until 2, and then you only have a few minutes to scarf down as much as you can. You are on your own for the rest of the day that usually ends at 7 or 9. If you are ever picked to do extra work, bring a nondescript bag with as much food, drink, and books as you can. Also, avoid all men. Some are nice but most are pervs that are not tolerated at 9-5 jobs. There is nothing at all glamorous about movie making. If you do not mind being treated worse than amoebas on pond scum then it is interesting to see how they are made while earning minimum wage.

CanadianMiss said...

Thank you @Spring for sharing something nice about my new celeb crush.
Saw him in Avengers, and I was done. :-)

djphob said...

"I'm fudding myself stupid and bloody loving it!"

I love Extras. (Somewhat OT!)

Jesse D said...

What a tool! This guy didn't get directions, showed up late, exhausted and hungover, then complained about being tired and hungover. Uhhh - completely self-inflicted, no sympathy. There aren't many jobs that you can show up late to, sit around chatting with your coworkers all day, indoors and get fed. Whiner.

Char said...

My husband has done a lot of extra work for TV shows and movies. It's a huge industry here in "Hollywood North" (Vancouver). He actually really likes it. He's gotten to be SWAT team and army before and storm through scenes with big guns, lol.

Joy said...

I worked as background and twice as featured extra on ten films and it is indeed super tedious but it can be very fun and interesting too.

My favorite anecdotes - seeing Drew Barrymore raise her voice at someone then turn around, apologize and hug them on the set of Whip It. The other was hearing Rob Reiner go off on a crew member on the set of Flipped. (No apology or hug afterward, incidentally.)

Lots of other fun trivia that made all the waiting around worthwhile. :o)

djphob said...

I want more tales from people who have done extra work! Details, people!

Henriette said...

You know what else is pretty bad? Being an audience in TV show taping! That was the worse for me. Got there at 9 am and stayed until midnight. We had this Jimmy Fallon wanna-be trying to make us laugh through the whole thing. I never went back to another one. Free tickets or not.

AuntJess said...

Yes YES! More stories please! @Spring, who were the meanies?

Never done any extra/background work. But about 3 years ago I got to be in the audiance for a live taping of the Maury show (big shock He wasn't the father!). Maury is so tiny! After the show we got free pizza so it was worth standing in line at 5 am ;)

Adventurous Kate said...

I was an extra in a really bad German
Movie called Tourist in Danger, shot in Thailand. What a mess it was. I'll always remember the German director yelling, "LET GO DA BALLOOOOOONS!" as we released lanterns into the air.

Adventurous Kate said...

If you're interested in the full story: http://www.adventurouskate.com/my-life-as-a-German-movie-star

Blaze818 said...

I was a PA on Baywatch and not gonna lie when I say we did our share of partying between takes. Got to mingle with Jenny McCarthy and eat like kings. Great times.

cbdabest4life said...

Years and years ago I worked on a movie featuring SJP and Jane Krakowski.... interesting times..also met Caroline Kennedy..have had meet n greets w many celebs.. most I've met were mellow..

WUWT? said...

A guy I know from Iowa was an "extra" in Field of Dreams; he's background in a cafe or something, and then in one of the cars in the long line of cars at the end, not that you'd ever know. Anyway, he's about the same age as Kevin Costner, and looked a lot like him. So the exciting part for him was not being an extra in a film, but going about his normal life in the Dubuque area and being constantly stopped by "fans" who were convinced he was Kevin Costner. He got a picture with Kevin at the set, a Polaroid if I remember right, and someone wrote, "Who's who?" on the photo but I honestly don't know if he (or the photographer) did or if Costner did (which would of course be cooler).

amanda0825 said...

I was an extra for the movie Eight Legged Freaks. Scarlett Johannson was in the film (about 16yrs old at the time) and was so miserable to all of the crew. When it came time to shoot her scene where she was being attacked by a giant spider, the crew members who were standing out of the shot spraying fake webbing at her kept deliberately aiming for her mouth so she'd choke on it everytime she opened her mouth to scream.

AlexT said...

It sounds like being an extra is like hanging out at the airport all day, and getting paid for it. ( Just not quite enough to make it worth it.)

Mango said...

My cousin does extra work all the time in NYC and he gets called to do work on the L&O franchises (I think there's just one left now) mostly as homeless man, person on street, etc.

He was once working on movie with Jodie Foster and her assistant had disappeared and she was pissed off because she needed money for lunch (I guess the assistant had her purse and the crafts table wasn't good enough or something). My cousin heard her bitching and offered her $30, which she took. The next day he approached her to get his $30 back and she gave him the evil eye and walked off! He never got his money back.