How to Become an Extra

So you want to be an extra? Here's what you need to know to get started.


  • Do you see yourself in one of these chairs? Learn how to become an extra.

    Do you see yourself in one of these chairs? Learn how to become an extra.

When film or television productions need extras—from one person to thousands for crowd scenes—they usually turn to casting agencies that specialize in finding just the right extras for crowd and background scenes. Busy, reputable agencies do not charge applicants a fee for their service nor do they generally ask for/require the purchase of their photography packages. Most use social media extensively to announce casting calls, and they typically ask applicants to submit a headshot, a full body photograph, clothing and shoe sizes, and body measurements. Casting calls are usually announced with short notice so be sure you have availability during the advertised period.

There is a need for everyone—old, young, heavyset, thin, all ethnicities—so having some photos at the ready is advisable, whether taken by a friend or a professional photographer. Casting companies want to see what you look like, so keep backgrounds simple.

Days are generally 12 hours and the pay is anywhere from $50 to $75 per day. Meals are often but not always provided, so be sure to ask.

As an extra, your job would be to simply take whatever orders are given to you (generally by the assistant director or A.D.) and to be quiet, patient and respectful of everyone’s time and responsibilities. As the day goes on, you will help create a consistent and realistic background of action with which the characters can interact and which will lend authenticity to whatever scene you may be a part of.

To do this, you will most likely be asked to stand around for fairly long periods of time, as the director and actors work together to capture the perfect take. Always remember that it is important to take direction well and to stay quiet when necessary. Sound equipment is very sensitive and unzipping your backpack or talking during a shot could hurt a take. As scenes can sometimes take a long time to prepare properly, be ready to pass some time with a book or music (through headphones).


Additional Resources*

Casting TaylorMade

Central Casting Georgia

CL Casting/Catrett & Associates Casting (Facebook only)

Extras Casting Atlanta

Hylton Casting

Marinella/Hume Casting

New Life Casting (Facebook only)

Rose Locke Casting (Facebook only)

Tammy Smith Casting
(404) 433-7616

Click here for information about minors in film and tv.

*This list is for informational purposes only and does not constitute an endorsement by the Georgia Film, Music and Digital Entertainment office or the State of Georgia.