Working as an extra in film, commercials and music videos

You may be starting out in your acting career or are thinking of a change. Paid jobs are hard to come by, and you face lots of competition for film auditions. Becoming a background artist can be a lot of fun, and can earn you high paying rewards, working on big movies, opposite your favourite actors.

How do you get such an opportunity in the film industry and what does it take to get seen? Whether you are in Mumbai, London, Paris or LA, productions taking place in those cities have their own ways of looking for background artists from using advertising space on casting sites to hiring special background artist agencies that have a roster of extras.

To get your foot in the door and make great connections, working as an extra is a great place to meet aspiring actors and people higher up the film ladder. Pay is usually defined by the role that you play. This can be from simply appearing in the background to having a costume designed for you, a walk on role and more.

A good example of an extras agency is the casting collective in the UK. Every year they renew their books and are the go to agency for major productions.

Please note you should never have to pay to get on to a listing service, roster. The agency makes their money through a percentage of your salary that they negotiate before you sign with them.

Do you have a special skill? Perhaps you can add a benefit to your application by being able to do something that a production may need, for example, you can breakdance or sing. Having these kinds of additional skills can help you land a bigger role depending on the production.

To find out more about working as an extra and pursuing an acting career have a look at these useful artices below:

Where to find auditions
10 ways to make money as an actor
How to become an actor: Training (part1)
How to become an actor: Getting roles in student movies (part 2)

film industry network members