Should You Quit Background Extra Work to Become an Actor?

Project Casting

Can Background Extra work hurt your chances of becoming an actor?

The film industry is booming in New York, Georgia, Louisiana and California. With so many TV shows and movies filming, it is quite possible for someone to earn enough money working as an extra while becoming a professional actor.

However, many people will tell you that you should never do any background extra work because, it will ruin your chances for landing a speaking role in a TV show or movie. Many actors have not done extra/background work in a while because of the assumed dangers it poses on a lifelong acting career. But, what are the real consequences of doing background extra work?

Related: Background Actors, Here is What You Should Know Before Going on Set

Many people will tell you about getting stuck as an extra but, honestly it rarely ever happens. There are two separate casting offices. There is the speaking roles casting office and the extras casting office and for the majority of the time they do not communicate with one another. Fortunately for anyone doing background extra work, they are too busy to keep tabs on both extras and speaking role actors.

People will also tell you that talent agents and managers will not hire you, if you do a lot of background extra work. But, agencies will not find out unless you tell them. Keep in mind, background extra work should not be on your acting resume nor should it be posted on your IMDb profile.

Related: Here’s What your Acting Resume Should Look Like

You only run of the risk of ruining your acting career as an extra, if you are strongly featured on a show and then getting an audition for that show shortly after. But, the chances of that happening are pretty small. For example, several people have worked as an extra on a show and then worked on the show as a dayplayer two weeks later.

However, it is important to note that nonunion background work is not always glamorous nor does it pay as much as it did several years ago. But, it is an amazing starting point to connect with actors, models, producers, and other industry professionals.

Just look at all of these famous actors that started out as extras.

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