Being a part of the backgrounds

Background players, or extras, in TV, Film, or any media breathe life into a moving image. With out the everyday action behind principal actors, scenes feel, well... empty. 

Being an extra is a fun and rewarding experience whether you are a seasoned professional or simply curious about the filmmaking process. 

You'll hear the phrase, "Hurry up & wait." or that extra-ing is a lot of just standing around. However, I like to look at being an extra on set from a different perspective. Making a film, TV show, commercial, or any media project requires dozens if not hundreds of people working with many moving pieces over many hours to create one moment in one shot that tells a story, that will illicit a reaction from an audience. So even as someone in the background, you are a vital part of that process. Your energy and enthusiasm is felt throughout the day of filming. You are in a team with the rest of the actors and crew and everyone is working toward the same goal. It's a very rewarding feeling at the end of the day.

If you're an actor looking for your "big break" and get "discovered" by being an extra, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but that's like winning the Powerball. Not to say it can't be done, but remember, being an extra is about being part of a team, not a time for showboating. HOWEVER, if you are an aspiring screen actor, I can't stress enough the educational benefit of being in the background for a while. You will learn what the "vibe" is and the speed of how things work on set. You can learn by observation and see the amazing balance between technical efficiency and creative impulse as they blend together, so when you do book that big role down the line, it is incredibly valuable that you've been on set and had a peek at how it works so you can step into your role calmly and confidently. 

If you're just curious about the filmmaking process and what so see how your favorite movies and shows are made, being an extra is simply a really fun way to spend the day! Watching how it works, dressing up, meeting the crew, conversing with the other extras, and making some money is a wonderful experience you won't forget. And when the project is done, you can watch it air and say, "Hey! That's me on screen!"

Whatever your impulse is to be an extra, one thing is clear, you have a passion about the behind the scenes process of the world of filmmaking, and that's why I'm glad you've visited my website and hopefully registered to be in a project with me sometime. Being one of the Backgrounds is fun, educational, rewarding, and a great way to spend a free day. And you'll be paid for it! Woohoo!!

Portlandia, Season 6

Portlandia, Season 6