Happy Sunday. It’s been weird to kind of think that I’ve now been on the east coast for two months. Fingers crossed it will be for the best. I’m currently just trying to sort out my mind and figure out next steps.
I wanted to do background acting in New York City but it seems that it’s not going to work out.
But enough about me, I’m here today to give you the first of many articles about the mysteries of background acting. This post is all about how to become a background actor.
In other words, HOW TO BE IN A MOVIE OR TV SHOW WITHOUT ACTING EXPERIENCE
First things first — what’s the difference between being a background actor and being an extra?
Background Actor: Someone who is pretending to be another character in the scene (e.g.: a college student in a lecture hall or an angry shopper during Black Friday)
Extra: An extra body in a crowd to make the scene look crowded and full.
The huge difference??
Background acting is a job. Extra work is a fun touristy bucket list item to do.
Doing background acting, you basically get paid to hustle and wait. As an extra, you get a story.
Sounds enticing? Want a stab at background acting? So how do you become a background actor?
HOW TO GET STARTED
First be ready to hustle, hustle, hustle.
The best way to get work is to register with Central Casting. They are the best source for you to get gigs because they have around 10 or so casting directors working around the clock.
One caveat, the majority of work is for TV shows. If you want to work on movies or commercials, or even music videos, you’ll have to look somewhere else.
HOW DO YOU REGISTER?
Central Casting does registrations every Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 9:30AM.
They only can admit a number of people each orientation though so you have to be smart about when you go. Mondays tend to have less crowded than Fridays. Since people can easier go into work later on Fridays, this makes sense.
My suggestion would be to get there early. I’m talking like 6 or 6:30AM early. And please for the love of God don’t forget your IDs. Don’t wait 3 hours only to be turned away at the door because you forgot proper identification.
Don’t ask me how I don’t know but it has happened.
You can either use your social security card and license or your passport.
The good thing is once you go through the process you don’t have to do it again.
SO GET IT RIGHT THE FIRST TIME!!
Bring warm layers so you don’t freeze because it gets super cold. And bring a pen. There’ll be a ton of paperwork to fill out and sometimes they won’t provide pens.
Orientation takes around 2 hours. At the end, they take your photo. Casting directors use these photos to book so make sure you come in looking to impress.
After that — CONGRATULATIONS!! You are now officially a background actor and you can now help others become a background actor.
Now comes the hard part — getting work.
I will save that for the next post. Trust me, it deserves its own post. If you enjoyed this post please give it a share or pin!
So tell me, have you done background before? What would be your dream show be to work on and why? What about dream actor?