So in April 2015, I started my journey into acting. My first step? Extra work! I won't go into too much detail for what my first real background work role was for (two scenes, one BIG blockbuster movie!).
Extras – or background actors, a politically correct term dictated by SAG-AFTRA – are of course the actors required to fill-out the background of a screen story. Without extras, the world of film and television would look as empty as a movie theater playing a double feature marathon of “Heaven’s Gate” and “Ishtar.” - By Paul Russell
A lot goes into the roles that you don't think about. Extras make a scene. Without extra's, your favorite episode of "Arrow" or "Grey's Anatomy" would look staged all the time. Background's are the people that create crowds, scenes at parties, the busy co-workers in a hospital, the people sitting on trains, etc... basically the fill in's to make it look real. But it's a lot of work. Some might say, "Oh a train monkey could do that!" or "I could totally do that!", but sure that monkey and yourself could, but maybe not. And here is why:
You have to have the patience to stand around a lot, fake talk without making a sound (they call this "Pantomime"), walk quietly and at a normal pace when needed, and also take technical direction VERY well. You also ALWAYS, if you are going to be walking directing or sitting in front of the camera, know what your face is doing when expressing emotions. And if you have to go back to the start of the scene, you have to know EXACTLY everything you did, meaning: you need to remember every step, hand motion, the way you held something, etc... it's like memorizing lines, but with what you physically did.
So that's the break down of what you do on camera... but what goes into the prior stuff before you go on film? Paperwork, getting into costume, coming already with makeup on (majority of film's that have over 100+ extra's require you to come with makeup on! If you don't know how to apply the basics, better start learning NOW!), bring a wardrobe if they are not going in for a fitting (fitting is for pre-choosen costumes for actors/extras), show up an hour early (showing up early looks great and also right place, right time could get you choose for more stuff!), bring book to read when you are in holding for a long period of time (I once sat in holding for up to three hours before going on camera!), bring snacks if they don't supply food, ALWAYS leave your phone with your stuff (you get kicked off set and the photos deleted if you snap any! Which allows them to not pay you for your time working!), and lastly have fun!
* Paparazzi shot this picture, found it on Instagram, made it into a collage and then zoomed in on what is my back on set lol