Monday, April 6, 2009

A day in the life of an extra

Great article in the Times about what it's like to be an extra:


  1. I saw what you said after that article, about people not knowing the half of what it is to be a working actor. But if all one does is background work, can they really call themselves working actors?

  2. I've gotta tell you, I think questioning any actor who's able to get any work period is insulting.

    I personally do not intend to make background work a career, but it is work and it is making money by acting. You do get a paycheck and you do get a W-2.

    Now is it deep, soul-wrenching work? No. But there are people who support themselves doing it and I do think they can proudly call themselves actors. It's a rare actor anyways who ONLY does background work. Most do it to get by, while doing a lot of more interesting (and unpaid) projects on their off days.

    But really, even getting background work is competitve. It's just brutal how many people an actor is up against each and every day, even for roles in unpaid projects, so to question the legitimacy of an actor who's making money in front of a camera is offensive, in my opinion.

  3. i understand that you want to someday be an actress,and thats all well and good. but does $8 an hour put food on the table and pay the rent? i rather doubt it.

    id like to know how you can afford to leave in the heart of manhattan when i have a "real" job and a p/t consulting position when i cant.

  4. Seth, that's why I work as a well-paid nanny when I'm not acting.

  5. hi kate,

    i understand..and hope your bosses dont work for AIG !!! :)

    i lived in manhattan-east 50's from 1989-2004. i should have stayed. oh well.

  6. hi, forgot to mention.
    i have a friend whos an extra. he did enough work that he finally,after years and years of going thru what was described in the article,his SAG card. he had me register at his agency.

    the reporter forgot to mention that when you "dial-in" to try and secure an extra "spot", you are competing against thousands of people,and that you have to be on "standby" until they decide whether or not they need you,which means you lose an entire day.

    plus having to be in some of nyc's "loviest" neighborhoods at 3 am rain or shine?

    youd have to pay me $100 an hour before id even consider doing this. feh