Advice for film & TV extras

Extras may work in the background of a set, but how you conduct yourself is crucial; making a good first impression might guarantee you more work in future. Here are our best pieces of advice from industry experts:

Planning ahead
  • Once you’re cast, keep your schedule flexible – shooting times can vary depending on the weather and the availability of core cast members.
  • Shooting days (and/or nights) can be very long, so plan your transport to and from the location in advance.
  • If you’re asked to bring your own clothes, take along at least three outfits that are suitable for your scenes.
  • Check in advance whether you’ll be paid for a full day on set, or just for the time that you’re being filmed.
When you arrive
  • Show up on time! If you think that you might be late, phone your contact person immediately.
  • As soon as you arrive, report to your contact person and fill in your timesheet. Include your tax details, your bank account details, and your address.
  • You’ll be asked to wait in a particular area until you’re needed on set. Don’t wander off, as you could be needed at any moment!
  • Be patient – there could be a lot of waiting around for your turn on set. Take along something to read.
On the set
  • Turn off your phone, and never take photos or videos on location.
  • Try and repeat the same movements in each take, for continuity.
  • Don’t look at the camera!
  • Don’t stop performing in your scene until the director calls: “Cut.”
  • Don’t talk on set, and listen carefully to any instructions.
At the end of the day
  • Don’t head off for the day until you are told to go.
  • Sign out before leaving – otherwise, you may not get paid.
  • Hand back any props or outfits before you go.

For an explanation of key industry terms, check out our glossary.

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