Real extras share their stories from the set! Learn from them and the tips we share!
An extra’s tale!
I was asked by some friends if I wanted to join them in working on a movie in our hometown. They said it only paid $72.50 but that we’d get fed and be able to mingle with some movie stars. All I had to do was be at a party drinking, dining, making small talk, and looking like I was having a good time while wearing a fancy evening gown. What they didn’t tell me was that I would have to bring my OWN evening gown and shoes. Once I got there, the wardrobe people had to fit me with a too low cut, too tight gown and stiletto heels I could barely walk in…I was very uncomfortable and glad to be able to sit at a table and “nibble” fake canapés. My discomfort took a turn for the worse when the director called “action” and we were all supposed to get up and waltz around the room! I took a nasty spill in my heels and ended up twisting my ankle and being unceremoniously carried off the set! It was a decidedly awkward introduction to filmdom, to say the least, but I made a full recovery and now come prepared for anything! – Sandra, M.
First, my very first film, Grand Torino, was awesome! I am seen four, yes, four times in the very first scene! I am seen briefly as the grandkids are walking down the aisle in a church for a funeral scene, then when the camera is panning the guy that played his son in the first roll, I am seen briefly directly over his right shoulder, then when the grandkids are seen sitting in the pew, I am seen briefly, and the best one is when they show the granddaughter texting, you see me for about two seconds! In the original film, in the scene before the very last scene, you will see a dark car driving fairly fast with the silhouette of the driver. That is me driving my car! I like to see the film first so that I can tell my family and friends where to look for me. So when my husband and I saw Grand Torino, as we were leaving, I almost turned to the ones that were still left, almost!, and excitedly pointed to the screen and said, that was me! That was me! I didn’t, but I came very close to doing so! I was so excited to be in Clint Eastwood’s Grand Torino! I didn’t get to talk to him, but at one point I was within a foot of him. He is such a great guy! He is so soft spoken. When I saw the movie, I expected him to say his famous lines, “go ahead, make my day” but he didn’t. He even fed us breakfast and lunch for the extras. We were equal to the cast and crew, and whatever they had to eat, the extras did also. The only standing rule, which is no big deal, is that cast and crew eat first. – Darline B.
This was a commercial for Nike, which was hardly seen at all. One of my friends said they did see it, but I never did. Anyways, we were at the Palace filming the commercial. Well, they had us, the audience, moving all around the stadium sitting in different seats to make it look like there were lots of people there. So when it came time for lunch, all we got was a boxed lunch with a sandwich, bag of chips, and a piece of fruit, and we had to go up three or four ramps to get to the holding area to eat our lunch. In the meantime, SAG actors got to eat a nice hot buffet lunch. We were not treated that well. It was like we were beneath them. I was sitting behind the basket net they were using to film (slightly to right of the net). I have no idea if I am seen or not. –Darline B.
Tips for extras!
Tip #1: Don’t bring valuables to the set; they will need to sit unattended and could get stolen.
Tip #2: When working as an extra, clear your schedule for at least 12 hours from call time, no matter what they tell you (you won’t be able to sneak away for nail appointments, either).
Tip #3: Bring your own water, soda, snacks, and reading material. You will be provided a meal if you are there more than 6 hours, but don’t count on getting craft service (munchies). Water is a must on hot days or under hot lights!
Join the newsletter
Last modified: August 12, 2017