9 Steps How to Become A Good and Successful Extra Actor – Complete Guide

How to Become A Good and Successful Extra Actor

Extras are appropriately referred to by their Screen assignment as background actors; they are the scenery actors in movies, TV series, and other creations. A Featured Extra is somebody who is as yet viewed as a background actor, however, it is conceivably conspicuous. They are recorded however they are NOT talking, and NOT included in singular shots.

In other words, featured extra is the term used to portray actors that have explicit roles as opposed to simply blending into the background. However, his/her part is short and for the most part, not repeated more than once during the film. A Featured extra stand is noticeable.

In this article, we would answer your most important question ‘how you can become a good extra‘ in the film industry.

Table of Contents

Before I guide you to the 9 steps to become a successful and good extra actor, probably you have other questions in your mind like:

Do You Need Acting Experience To Be An Extra?

As an extra, you needn’t bother with any acting experience. You simply should have the option to follow directions, have a decent attitude, and appreciate collaborating with fellow Background Actors. Most of the time, you’re just employed on account of your looks.

Most films (movies) require specific kinds of individuals in it, and this could vary from:

  • Age.
  • Nationality.
  • Class.
  • Profession.

An extra in World War Z remarked ‘all they required was somebody who looked, Russian’. Some people do background acting as a hobby, and this could include individuals from all works of life, for example, law enforcement, brokers, banks, and so forth.

Could An Extra Become An Actor?

Eventually yes, an extra actor could become a professional actor over time. Doing extra work is acceptable if you’re an amateur actor attempting to know how a film set functions. Background actors have access to the movie industry; you’ll get an opportunity to see and observe how professional actors, directors, and crew work on a film set, what occurs during a shoot, and learn from everything.

It is also an extraordinary way to make connections to become an actor, director, producer, cinematographer, screenwriter, and more. Like most entry-level roles, being an extra is a decent method just to get your foot in the entryway. Numerous actors began as background actors before they become showbiz royalty. You could watch out below for Sylvester Stallone in Bananas and Brad Pitt in less than Zero.

You can also Brad Pitt acting in the background.

How Much Do Acting Extras Get Paid?

If an extra has a place with an association or union, he/she certainly would be paid higher than a non-union extra. The average fee for a day shooting is $180. Non-association workers could average a base compensation of $80 for eight hours of work.

Background actors for TV could likewise be paid up to about $167 for eight hours and $177 a day, depending on the understanding. In the event, that background actors are approached to wear multiple costumes or have exceptional abilities like dancing, at that point they could get a boost in pay up to about $350.

Do Extras Get A Speaking Role?

Yes, an extra can be picked to talk lines for a film. In any case, when this happens, he/she is not, at this point, an extra. In the event that a featured extra talk or get lines in a film, he moves to become an actor. He is formally given a “role title” (usually something little like café worker or businessman)—for instance, Al Rosen as “Man Who Said Sinatra” in Cheers for years.

Background actors, including the individuals who might be viewed as featured extras, don’t talk. At most, they pantomime, which implies that however their mouths might be seen moving, there is no vocal word originating from their mouth, rather, they are essentially mouthing words while coordinating them with physical movement. They may participate in crowd murmurings or general scenery discussions, called “Omnies”.

How Do You Audition For An Extra?

There’s no audition so you shouldn’t worry. They won’t request that you sing, dance, or even read a script. That is because being an extra doesn’t require a lot of skill, and the individuals in the background are not expected to do a lot. They are expected to simply stand there, pretend to talk, and act naturally.

9 Steps How To Become A Good And Successful Extra Actor

  1. Register with multiple casting agencies.
  2. Maintain a flexible schedule.
  3. Patience.
  4. Ability to follow directions.
  5. Always be professional.
  6. Just Blend!.
  7. Show up prepared.
  8. Make the right connections.
  9. Develop your reputation.

Register with multiple casting agencies

Despite the fact that you could get extra roles personally by simply showing up and extras aren’t completely required to be registered with any agency. Be that as it may, if you desire to be successful in the industry, find and register with genuine casting agencies. Upload your photos; don’t need to be professional headshots, typically only a clear picture and fill out the required forms, which will request details including your contact data, age, height, measurements, and weight.

TIP: Register with as many agencies as possible to expand the chances of your data coming up when casting agents and directors look into individuals who fit the background roles they need. This will significantly increase the possibility of you getting booked.

Some of these casting agencies are:

  • Casting aggregate.
  • Central casting
  • Universal extras
  • Guys and dolls casting
  • Ray knight casting.

Maintain a flexible schedule

You must consistently have a flexible schedule as casting Calls don’t allow for preparing of time. Most casting notices go out between a week to a couple of days before the scene begins filming. Additionally, a call for extras may carry a particular shoot date or times but be that as it may, there may be last-minute changes. If you are booked, you may get a call requesting that you appear on set very early the following day.

Background Extras must check their messages and Project Casting regularly to ensure they react promptly to any casting call for which they are qualified because occasionally, depending on your location, you may need to drive significant distances to the shooting area. Moreover, no one can really tell to what extent a shoot will last. Regardless of whether you’re told you’ll just be shooting for a few hours, consistently keep a flexible schedule.

NOTE: never apply to a casting call except if you are sure you can be there and remain for the span of the shoot as not appearing or leaving before the end would discredit you before the directors.

On the plus side, the industry pays higher rates for shooting dates that go longer than eight hours in a day.


As a background actor, you would regularly wait for extended parts of the day until they need you to shoot a scene. It is basic as an extra you can work extended hours and keep yourself occupied while filming. Carry something to engage yourself. You could peruse a book or take part in friendly but low chatter with co-extras.

Consciously make sure to go to a shoot with your charger.

Ability to follow directions

The most significant aspect regarding being an extra is adhering to instructions. So, ensure you obviously comprehend what a production assistant or assistant director (who is most likely going to instruct you directly) tells you to do in the scene.

NOTE: Pay attention to cues, for example, cut, Background action, action, and quiet on the set, and consistently do as you’re told.

If you are a cool background actor and follow directions well, the organization or production will most likely get back to you for more work, and you may even get better camera-time in a scene in the future.

Always be professional

Being an extra is a real job, and as such, it requires a certain level of seriousness like any other job. If you want to be good and successful being a background actor, you should not sever any ties by acting unprofessional on set, so, be a professional extra actor by:

  • Never show up late to a set.
  • Be respectful to the crew and actors.
  • Keep your cool rather than allowing yourself to become overexcited.
  • You should never leak any detail of what was shot.
  • Abstain from taking pictures as it is inappropriate and cameras will be seized. That implies no selfies, either! They may likewise request that you keep your telephone in your vehicle or a bag consistently.

Keeping up a professional demeanor could ensure that you would get called back if a nearby production needs extras later on.

Just Blend!

As an extra, your principal concern ought to be to mix with the background, so don’t attempt to get attention by pointing out yourself with the expectation that it’ll land you your first enormous break, you would get kicked out of the set. Do precisely as you’re told, don’t ad-lib, and don’t attempt to divert attention away from the principal actors, so, thinks you should not do as an extra actor on set:

  • Don’t attempt to get attention by pointing out yourself with the expectation even if you think it will improve the scene.
  • Never look at the camera directly or talk when the cameras are rolling, except if the executive explicitly inquires.

Directors will be increasingly impressed if you follow directions and do your job effectively.

Show up prepared.

In case you’re shooting a period piece, the crew may be responsible for doing your wardrobe, hair, and cosmetics. But if not, you would probably be informed what to wear, how to style your hair, and how to do your makeup before you show up. For longer shoots, you may need to bring different outfits, ensure to pack them in a neat and organized manner alongside the correct shoes and accomplices to keep them perfect and composed.

Attempt to look cleaned and fit to the role’s description. The better you look, the better your placement in the scene will be.

Make the right connections

While you shouldn’t become irritatingly buggy and desperate, you should utilize the chance to draw near to individuals who could assist you with getting more extra acting or in any event, acting roles.

The absolute best individual to become a close acquaintance with on a set would be a PA, executive, or assistant director since they have connections with different shows, and on the off chance that they become more acquainted with you and like you, they will bring you back for various ventures as an extra.

Develop your reputation

You should be dependable and give great energy throughout the filming to become a go-to background actor. The second they begin bringing you back for additional scenes and different shows you become a piece of the family or the team and are relied upon to be trusted with progressively considerable roles.

NOTE: This is one certain approach from extra to actor.

How Can I Be A Good Extra?

You can become a good extra actor and take it to the next level as a professional is by following the proper process, so, the answer to the most important question ‘how you can become a good extra‘ is to follow the 9 simple steps listed above of How to become a good and successful extra actor, and you are on your way to becoming a successful extra.


Just like every profession, success in background acting or movie extra is not only dependent on the individual’s drive but also on the appropriate and helpful materials available to the individual. This article provides you with 9 sure steps to fulling your dreams to be a successful actor starting with being an extra or background actor.

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Firas Sameer, a movie director with several video productions for cinemas, festivals, TV commercials.. etc with several international awards and recognitions for his work.

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