Last summer I was an extra in one upcoming Finnish kids’ movie. From the expereince I gathered these 5 things you need to remember and be aware while working or volunteering as an extra. If you are interested in being an extra, search for Facebook groups that are casting for films and commercials. There are also many websites dedicated to casting, where you can register and leave your photo and contact information.
Listen carefully and be present when you get your instructions. Usually the extra in the set will get easy acting, like standing and talking to each other at the background, or simply sitting down. At times they can even have short lines to give to the brave ones. Remember your guidelines and be natural. Also, do not look at the camera unless you are told to do so.
Give the actors and staff members a rest. Do not ask for a photo or someone to sign an autograph. Give them space and respect because it is their occupation, and they are only doing their job. When getting casted, you will be told the rules, yet everyone doesn’t obey them. It is very important to be polite and follow common courtesy.
Filming is a long process and requires a lot of time and work. It is obvious that while getting involved in a movie set, you will have waiting time or spare time in between the takes. Be prepared and take a book with you to make the time go by faster.
Everyone interested in filmmaking will enjoy being on an actual set. You get to see first hand how the crew works together. Every set is different and the director’s work is always unique, which makes it interesting to observe. Although you are not allowed to take any photos, it is still an experience that you will remember for a long time. Maybe you can even see yourself in a scene in the actual movie. Even though it can be tiring to wait for many hours, remember that it is a memorable and cool moment that you will look back to later.
Usually you will be given a small reward, a gift card to S-market or to other convenience store. However, it is also possible that you will only be offered snacks and beverages. Bigger filming agencies have better resources, so they can offer lunch and drinks on a long set together with little money. Nevertheless, I do it for the fun experience and not for the money.