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Austin Actors
Katrina Cook

Being an Extra in Film
by Katrina Cook

November 2003

The best way to start out in FILM is to BE AN EXTRA. If you have no on-set experience, don't expect to go out and land a leading role. Granted, sometimes it happens, but that would more than likely be because you LOOKED like what they wanted. It's easier to work with talent who have some sort of on-set experience as you are not spending half your day answering questions of what is this, who is that, what do I do, etc. If you come from THEATER to FILM it is a necessity to BE AN EXTRA as there are many different aspects to FILM than Theater.

Being an extra allows you to see what goes on, learn when to talk, when to be quiet, who you are "allowed" to talk to, where you are "allowed" to go, your responsibilities as an extra, etc.

It's good to ask questions, but be very aware of whom you ask and how many questions you ask. Ask fellow extras or part of the CASTING CREW. Never ask questions to the Camera Man, Director, Producer, Lighting guy, or Craft Services (food) person.

You never know who else is going to be there as an extra. Take the opportunity to meet those around you and make new networking connections. It's all about networking. Once again, do not attempt to talk to any of the Main Crew people. That is not cool, and they are busy working. If they want to talk to you, THEY will make the effort.

Always remain positive, keep a good attitude, enjoy yourself, make new friends, don't eat all the food, be considerate of others, and you will be noticed and invited back to other sets. I have "let go" many new extras because of improper behavior on set. We do not have the time to deal with uncooperative people, and everyone is replaceable. Always do your best and you will go far in this business.

There is no limit to the number of times you should BE AN EXTRA. Never get too "big" to be an extra. I sometimes am an extra myself. It keeps you on track, keeps you working, and makes new connections.
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Katrina Cook is a Casting Director for Extras and Actors at in Dallas, Texas. Check out the KatzKasting website at KatzKasting.com. Her email address is katz@katzkasting.com.
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