Let’s talk about Extras!

Michael Druck of Michael Druck Casting recently contacted me about extras on sets. His casting company specializes in booking extras on various projects. I’d like to thank him for contributing to this column.

When you arrive, be certain you are parked in the designated area for extras. If there is a possibility that your car might be used on camera at some point in the day, make sure your tank is full and that you have checked your gas, oil, tire pressure, etc. You will be paid for the use of the car, so make sure it doesn’t conk out!

Make sure you have brought with you a pen, a Passport or your photo ID and other identifying card. If you are under 14, you must have a parent and/or guardian with you plus your Actors Work Permit. One parent/one minor. Period. Unless you are the parent or legal guardian of a minor, you should also have with you a Temporary Power of Attorney which would give you the right to seek medical attention for the minor if it should become necessary.

Other things to bring would include something to read, puzzles or whatever will entertain you during your down time. Make sure that your entertainment doesn’t make noise! Minors should bring their homework with them so that the set tutor will have something for them to study that is appropriate to their current class work.

You should arrive about 15 minutes before your call time. Report in to whoever is handling the extras that day, i.e. 1st AD, 2nd AD, PA, Extras Wrangler, Extras Casting Director, etc. You will most likely be told to whom to report when you are booked. If you aren’t told, you should ask.

Show up “camera ready” which means make up, accessories and hair are appropriate. Be wearing your favorite wardrobe choice when you arrive on set. Also have a minimum of 2 other wardrobe choices on hand, not in your car. Any delay sets the production back which costs them money.

Be certain to ask about wardrobe when you are booked. Dependent on the production, they can ask that you wear a certain look and certain colors. Always wear appropriate shoes for your outfit, but bring comfortable shoes for between takes.

Usually, hair and make up will give you approval once they have checked every one. Wardrobe will also come by the holding area (or you will be sent to them) to check out the clothing, shoes, accessories.

Once you have been approved by those two departments, do not change anything! Don’t take off the scarf you were wearing; don’t put your hair into a different style. Once you are approved you are expected to look the same throughout the day, unless specifically told by a crew member to change your appearance for another scene.

Fill out your paperwork before you leave set. If you want to get paid for a job it is your responsibility to make sure before you leave all your info is filled out so your check can be sent to either you or your agent.

If your agent wants to make any changes to the talent waiver/release it is up to your agent to contact the production manager or casting director and make any changes BEFORE the shoot and not the day of the shoot or even worse refuse to sign a release holding up production.

Stay in the holding area! If you need to leave for any reason, a production assistant or anyone from production must know where you are headed, whether that is going to the honey wagon, restroom, taking a call, grabbing something from your car, etc. Odds are the moment you step away is when you will be needed.

Do not ask what time you can leave. If you are booked, you are booked for the whole day. Do not make any plans before or after your shoot. That being said, keep track of your hours. After 12 hours you might be eligible for overtime.

Be professional and take direction just like you would if you had a speaking role. Odds are if you are polite, liked by the production team, easy to work with, don’t ask a million questions and you are where you are supposed to be and follow direction during a scene you are more likely to be invited back for additional days.

Be quiet, pay attention and be respectful.

There may be a separate line for extras at meal times and there most likely will be a separate Craft Services table for extras, certainly on larger shoots. This is not a grazing opportunity, nor a time to go grocery shopping by filling up your backpack, purse or brief case. Craft Services crew members are among the hardest working on any set. Be sure and thank them for their hard work!

If there is only one meal line at the catering truck, it is normal for principal players to be invited to get in front of the extras. They need to eat so they can get back to hair, make up and wardrobe for their next scene. It is common courtesy to let them go first.

Thanks to all of you who have been kind enough to write about the monthly column. And, as always, thanks to Dan Eggleston for his approval in doing this and posting it to his various sites.

Let me know if you have any specific questions you’d like answered.

And remember, I am expressing my opinion only, not that of any other CD.

Also, always keep in mind, that your agent has the final word on everything pertaining to your career, so listen to him/her!

Happy Independence Day! Remember, if you don’t have a 5th on the 4th you’ll live to see the 6th!

Donise L. Hardy, CSA
© July 1, 2015

Posted by: Donise Hardy on July 6, 2015 @ 5:32 pm
Filed under: For What It's Worth

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