Advice for film & TV extras
Extras may work in the background of a set, but how you conduct yourself is crucial; making a good first impression might guarantee you more work in future. Here are our best pieces of advice from industry experts:
- Once you’re cast, keep your schedule flexible – shooting times can vary depending on the weather and the availability of core cast members.
- Shooting days (and/or nights) can be very long, so plan your transport to and from the location in advance.
- If you’re asked to bring your own clothes, take along at least three outfits that are suitable for your scenes.
- Check in advance whether you’ll be paid for a full day on set, or just for the time that you’re being filmed.
When you arrive
- Show up on time! If you think that you might be late, phone your contact person immediately.
- As soon as you arrive, report to your contact person and fill in your timesheet. Include your tax details, your bank account details, and your address.
- You’ll be asked to wait in a particular area until you’re needed on set. Don’t wander off, as you could be needed at any moment!
- Be patient – there could be a lot of waiting around for your turn on set. Take along something to read.
On the set
- Turn off your phone, and never take photos or videos on location.
- Try and repeat the same movements in each take, for continuity.
- Don’t look at the camera!
- Don’t stop performing in your scene until the director calls: “Cut.”
- Don’t talk on set, and listen carefully to any instructions.
At the end of the day
- Don’t head off for the day until you are told to go.
- Sign out before leaving – otherwise, you may not get paid.
- Hand back any props or outfits before you go.
For an explanation of key industry terms, check out our glossary.
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