Happy Sunday. It’s kind of 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 initially wanted to do background acting in New York City but it looks like it’s not going to work out.

But I had a lot of fun doing it and it’s something being in a well-acclaimed movie or TV show is a lot easier than you may think. You don’t need any prior acting experience and all it takes is a bit of hustling. So I’m here to shed some light on this topic today. I plan to do a series of posts on this topic so watch out for it.

how to start background acting pinterest

What Is Background Acting & How to Get Started Click To Tweet

First things first — what’s the difference between being a background actor and being an extra? Money.

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.

Background acting is a job. Extra work is a fun touristy bucket list item to do. Click To Tweet

on set of code black while background acting


When you’re background acting, you basically get paid to hurry up and wait. When you’re an extra, you get to check something off of your bucket list.    

Sounds enticing? Want a stab at background acting? So how do you become a background actor?





How to Get Started In Background Acting Click To Tweet

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 ten 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 to Register For Background Acting Click To Tweet

Central Casting does registrations every Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 9:30AM.

central casting background actingThey 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 to 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. You can either use your social security card and license or your passport. Don’t wait 3 hours only to be turned away at the door because you forgot proper identification.

facepalm background acting

The good thing is once you go through the process you don’t have to do it again. But don’t ask me how you can mess it up, I don’t know but it has happened.

Make sure you get it right the first time!! Click To Tweet

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.

with friends on set of This is Us during background acting


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!




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Have you done background before? What would be your dream show be to work on and why? What about dream actor? Click To Tweet

become a background actor

Don’t question my love for all things Supernatural and Simple Plan!! I’m proud to be a fangirl. I hope to inspire discovery and passion through these fandoms and to showcase the magical power that comes with being a fangirl.

2 Replies to “LA DIARY: What Is Background Acting & How To Get Started”

  1. I did this once and it was a lot of fun but also exhausting. Still have the video tape stored away in my closet 😉

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