How to Get Work as a Film Extra

Posted May 28, 2023 by in Career

For many people, it is a dream to see themselves on the big screen. We grow up watching celebrities such as Tom Cruise and Halle Berry in blockbuster films and think how great it must be to be involved in the glamorous movie industry. The good news is, it’s never too late to take steps towards your dream and although few of us will be Hollywood stars, work as a film and TV extra can be a fun career. 

Getting Started

Most TV and film extra opportunities are for crowd scenes, and it is rare for an extra to have a line or close up, which means you don’t need to have a background in drama or performance to pursue this path. 

One of the first decisions to make is whether to go through an agency or not. A reputable agency will never charge you to be placed on their books. Although agencies can help you find work, this is by no means a necessity. Increasingly, adverts for extras are posted online by TV and film companies, sometimes even on social media because of the wide reach it offers. 

A Professional Approach

You can boost your chances of being selected for work by building a portfolio. Most agencies will expect you to include headshots in this, which you can have done by photographers specialising in professional headshots Bristol, such as By using a well-respected photographer for headshot photography Bristol, extras will stand out from the crowd. Posing for a professional shot that you can use when applying for work proves you are serious about being an extra. 

Build Up a CV

When you are starting out, it can be worthwhile gaining experience so that your CV isn’t just a blank space. University and college students are often looking for volunteers to act in projects for their studies and if you are willing to diversify and model, many amateur artists or new photographers will swap ‘time for photos’ (TFP) meaning you could get professional photography Bristol for free. Remember, never meet a stranger alone even if they have a good reputation. Public parks and areas around well-known buildings are excellent locations for photos and are a safer choice than going to a private studio.

Be Persistent

Demand for work as an extra is high and often casting is based on factors beyond your control, such as age, height, ethnicity, or gender. Don’t be disheartened if it takes a while to find your first job – it really could be them not you! Putting yourself forward for more opportunities will increase your chances, as will your ability to be flexible with hours, location, and project. Be resilient and don’t let a knockback bring you down. You never know, your perfect extra role could be advertised at any moment.

Working as an extra is a wonderful way to be involved in the industry and to learn more about what goes on behind the scenes, as well as getting the chance to appear in your favourite shows alongside well-known actors. Break a leg!

Read more: