This may be an odd request...
has anyone here worked regularly as an extra? I'm trying to work out if I have enough money to give up work but know I'd like to do something to earn that extra bit of cash for bike and non-bike related stuff...
A guy I used to know was an extra on Four Weddings back in the day (he opened the church door in wedding 1) and I've always fancied giving it a go. Just looking for experiences good and bad, barriers and benefits.
One of my uncles did it regularly for many years and that was his sole income. He's I guess 50-60 now and was doing it from his late 20s for probably a good 10-15 years.
By all accounts it was/is very hard work with a lot of grafting and schmoozing to get on sets, but it was a lifestyle he enjoyed at the time. He was in all sorts of films and had several roles where he was bumped up on the day to a more prominent position - Sliding Doors / Saving Private Ryan etc.
I did a bit of it early in my career as well including, memorably, being bumped up on the day to 'person who grabs Ian McKellans arse'. I like to think he had a word with the director prior, 'do you think one of them should get a bit over familiar?' 'sure' 'that one, please'.
He's always said the agency was crucial - think he was signed to Mad Dog but there are several out there. It's something you have to work at regularly to be the one they think of. Agencies often recommend the same faces again and again so my understanding is you either have more work than you know what to do with or no work at all. I used to do some work as a 2nd AD and, again, it was all the same faces on every shoot.
My only thought is that so much background stuff is composite these days - crowds are all built in a computer, sets are built in a computer (or at least displayed through one and composited: https://madewithvero.co.uk) And with Covid I can't imagine there are huge numbers of productions with big gangs of extras like there used to be.
There'll be some for sure (chatting the other day about a big historical thing shooting in Bristol) but it would be tougher than it was 10 years ago. I would weigh up carefully how much you'd need to earn. Rates also vary hugely depending on production. If you go full tilt and put the time in / look right on camera then you'll be on bigger productions with bigger budgets, higher rates, more days, more perks etc. But if you're applying via StarNow for a music video they'll think they're being generous for giving 50 quid, no travel expenses, for a 12 hour day standing in the rain without an EasyUp.
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