How to Get Paid As a Movie Extra

Movie extras fill non-speaking roles.
Movie extras fill non-speaking roles. (Image: Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images)

Extras are people who fill non-speaking roles in movies and television shows. There are different types of extras, including background extras and featured extras. Featured extras make more money than background extras, who sometimes may not be paid at all. The movie budget determines how much extras are paid. Directors may not choose featured extras until the day of the shoot in some cases, so it can be difficult to know your exact role and how much money you will make until you are on set.

Register with a casting website if you don’t already have a talent agent. Casting sites will give you access to extras jobs that need to be filled. If you have an agent, she can submit you for projects you may be eligible for. Working as an extra is a good way to get your foot in the door, allowing you to make contact with casting directors and other industry professionals you might not have access to otherwise.

Check your local Craigslist, news sites and newspapers frequently, in case casting notices are posted there. When movies are filmed in smaller towns, community notices may be posted for locals to participate.

Provide your correct address, phone number and full name when you check in for your extra role. Sometimes extras are paid on the spot, but other times they may mail a check. The production company must have your correct contact information in order for you to receive your check.

Follow all of the rules once you are on site for filming. In most cases, cell phones and cameras are restricted. If you break the rules, you may be asked to leave, which would prevent you from getting paid. As tempting as it is to sneak a snapshot of your favorite actor, being thrown off of the set would not only be embarrassing, but also would keep you from getting a paycheck.

Check with your talent agent, if you have one, for payment following the shoot. The production company may pay your agent directly, who will take her cut and then pass your portion on to you. It can sometimes take 30 days or longer to get paid this way.

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