As actors there’s a lot of great reasons why you should take as much extra work as you can, working as an extra is the building blocks to getting the bigger roles. It provides valuable growth and experience for your work up ahead. Some of the blockbuster stars like Brad Pitt, Renee Zellweger and Matt Damon all started from the bottom slowly making their way to the top.
There’s no guarantee that you’ll be scouted straight away, however, being an extra on a professional set gives you the opportunity to develop your skills and observe others while not having as much responsibility so when you get your starring role you won’t make as many mistakes while you’re in the spotlight.
So what’s the benefits?
1. Learn the ropes on set
As an extra you have the chance to observe and watch how things are being run on set. You get all the behind the scenes action of how the directors interact, the camera crew and the steps it takes to go for a take. Sets can be complicated, stressful and overwhelming, everyone is trying to stick to deadlines, shot types, continuity and keeping all the actors happy.
You may think that being on set is glamorous and smooth, well it’s quite the opposite. Welcome to the film industry. Being an extra you learn humility and patience and how to be professional. You’re their to do your role and do the best that you can do, you never know who is watching you so it’s a great opportunity to showcase yourself.
Utilise your time to talk to the other actors on set. People have all sorts of different experiences and levels of training so it’s great to find out more about them, it’s a way to get connected with the acting community because you never know who has worked with who. You could get your foot in the door by just connecting with someone that knows a lot of connections. When it comes to acting, networking is your best friend. Get yourself out there and connect!
3. Valuable experience
Dreamers should not just aim for the highest bar but rather take any opportunity they can, yes, it might suck getting same roles all the time but no matter how many times you’ve been an extra it’s worth every bit. Each time on set you will gain more skill and knowledge and improve where you once started. It looks fantastic on your resume, it builds up your reputation and it opens connections for you to broaden your horizon as actors.
‘Remember: There’s no small parts, only small actors.’ -Konstantin Stanislavski