What Is An Extra?
Extras, also called Background Performers, are who make every scene in the movie seem as realistic as possible. You may not notice them at first, but trust us, after doing one or two days of extra work, you will never watch a movie the same way again.
Anybody that you see in a movie who does not have any lines are considered extras. The people that you see walking, sitting, reading, etc. in the background while the stars are talking are considered extras. Sometimes, we will ask for specific extras that have specific skills such as skateboarding, running, and dancing. This is why it is very important when you fill in your Extras Casting Form, to put all the skills that you have (even if they seem menial).
A good way to understand the industry is to work as an extra. You get a feeling for the pace, you also get a hands-on experience of how it really is to be on set.
How Do I Become An Extra?
There is absolutely no acting or any film related experience required to be an extra. Anybody can be an extra. All you need is are good listening skills and a good work ethics
To get started, you need to take a snapshot of yourself, solo picture (no smaller than 4 x 6 photo), then fill out an Extras Casting Form. We prefer for everyone to mail in their Extras Form and Photo, as the quality of the photo is not the same when it is not the original. You can e-mail it as well, but make certain the photo you are emailing is at least 180 dpi.
Once we receive your photo and form, we keep you on file and will call if there is anything that you are appropriate for.
We suggest for everyone to update their photos every two years. For kids, every year. This way, we know who is interested in working every year.
What Should My Photo Look Like?
You don’t have to have a professional headshot, although it doesn’t hurt to have one. We usually submit all options to the director before hiring anyone, so the better the photo, the greater your chances are for getting hired.
Photos should not be any smaller than a 4 x 6 photo. Either black and white or colour is fine, although, if you are submitting a black and white photo, it would be wise to submit a colour photo as well. It is much easier for us to see Hair/Eye colour that way.
Tips On How To Be An Extra
FAQ About Extra Work
Q: Do I need to have acting experience?
A: There is absolutely no acting or any film related experience required to be an extra. Anybody can be an extra. All you need is a good listening skill, and good work ethics.
Q: I heard an ad on the radio that said you’re looking for extras for a movie. How do I get involved?
A: All you need to do is fill out the Extras Casting Form and send it to us (a hard copy by mail is preferred) along with a good quality picture. We will contact you if we are able to use you for a production.
Q: Why do you ask for so much information on the Extras Casting Form?
A: Sometimes, we will ask for specific extras that have specific skills such as skateboarding, running, and dancing. This is why it is very important when you fill in your Extras Casting Form, to put all the skills that you have (even if they seem menial). We also sometimes need individuals who have a particular look, height, weight, age, so the more information you give us, the more we know and that helps us in choosing extras.
Q: Do I need to get a professional headshot?
A: You don’t have to have a professional headshot, although it doesn’t hurt to have one. We usually submit all options to the director before hiring anyone, so the better the photo, the greater your chances are for getting hired.
Q: Does extra work pay?
A: Extras are paid $13.50/hour plus overtime pay after eight hours. Lunch and snacks are provided if you are working for more than six hours.
PLEASE NOTE: Even though you are contacted by KARI CASTING, you are hired by the individual movie productions that you work on. You are paid by the Production and NOT by Kari Casting. We do not deal with ANY payroll. We are simply hired by the productions to look for the extras. Make sure to keep a copy of all of your paycheque stubs as well as your white vouchers, just in case you have any payroll inquiries.
Q: What about MINORS (15yrs and under)
A: All minors must be accompanied by 1 parent/guardian or a chaperone (age 21yrs and over) can be disgnated to accompany child.
Q: I want to become an actor. How do I get started?
A: A good way to understand the industry is to work as an extra. You get a feeling for the pace, you also get a hands-on experience of how it really is to be on set. Being an extra is a great start, whether you want to be an extra or get involved in another aspect of the motion picture industry.
Q: Do I have to pay to be on file with Kari Casting?
A: Absolutely Not! You do not pay to be in our files. Having said that, submitting a photo and casting form does not guarantee you extra work. You are called to work based on the requirement of each production. The more often you send an application to update your information, the better it is for your chance to get called.
REMEMBER: You never ever have to pay to be an extra in Manitoba. Don’t fall for any false “Open Casting Calls” claiming they can guarantee you work if you pay to be on file with them.
Q: What are Stand-ins?
A: Stand-ins are the people who double for the cast during rehearsals, allowing the camera and lighting crews to finalize their equipment settings and movement. They have the same general build and colouring as their designated actor, and they are required to have similar costume type and colours. Some stand-ins are utility stand-ins, doubling for a variety of actors on a shoot. Most of the main players on a TV show have regular stand-ins, as do the major characters in most films. The biggest movie stars have their own personal stand-ins who come with them on every job.
Q: What are Photo Doubles?
A: Many times in a film there will be situations where one or more of the main cast is in the shot, but they are far away of have almost no action. At times like this it is not necessary to have the actual actor come in for a day to be in the background, so they will use a Photo Double, someone who is similar in appearance, in his or her place instead. A photo double will go through the Makeup and Costume the same as the star, and gets to be in the movie as well!