Know your lingo! – Extra, Extra

Written by | B-Roll, Peer-to-Peer

Extras share their stories from the set and more! What can you learn?

I was working on a set once when we did the first take, and the AD, as usual, said “Back to one” (which means: go back to your original location). An extra walked off—I guess we all thought that she was going to the restroom. She wasn’t—she came back at one! Know the difference between “Back TO one” and “Back AT one.” – Kathy L., Santa Monica, CA

My agent sent me to be an extra on a Western movie packed with big time celebrities.  He told me I needed to ride a horse, and with my vast trail riding experience I figured I was good to go. Several spills later, my bruised butt and ego were being dragged off the set, my cowboy hat dragging. Next time, I’ll know better than to say I’m a pro when I’m actually an amateur! – Anthony C., Atlanta, GA

My agent sent me to be an extra named “Thomas” on an eighteenth-century period film.  I’m a forty-year-old, healthy Caucasian male and I figured I’d fit any part as long as I didn’t have to memorize any lines. Imagine my chagrin when I arrived and found out “Thomas” was a slave working cotton fields on a Southern plantation. No faking that, I’d made a long drive only to be sent home. My agent and I had quite a talk after that one! – Mark P., SLC, UT

Tip #1: Don’t take pictures on the set!  

Tip #2:   Always bring at least three different clothing, jewelry, and shoe options. Never mind if your agent says, “Don’t worry, the wardrobe people will take care of it.” Trust me, in dealing with wardrobe people, you’re better off adhering to the motto, “Be prepared.” It can save you a lot of time and frustration while getting ready to even appear on set. If this is a period piece, you can probably get away with not bringing your own clothing, in this case, make sure you wear some sort of underwear and are happy with it.

Tip #3:  Don’t lose your voucher for your wardrobe. Have it in a safe place so that at the end of a long day you can turn it in and go home.

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Last modified: August 12, 2017

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