Rage Against Suburban Zombie-ism
Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Pros/Cons of Being An Extra

(As promised, here is a continuation of this previous post on How-To.)

+ no skill/education/experience required
+ nothing really to the job. You just have to be able to follow basic instructions
+ no need for an audition
+ feel meals, although not the healthiest options provided
+ you can see how a film is made & perhaps see celebrities. However, please keep in mind that you are not allowed to take pics/ask them for their autographs due to privacy issues
+ great place for networking/socialising! (This was personally my favourite aspect about the job. :) There is definitely a sense of comradery/Summer Camp amongst other extras!

- at $11/hr for non-union "actors", the wage is just slightly over Ontario's minimum wage ($10.25/hr). Even less if you have an agent and have paid them a registration fee
- number of gigs aren't guaranteed/sporadic, so unless you're ACTRA, you shouldn't really count on it as a stable source of income
- no real motivation to do your best at all times as the hours are long. And everyone, at the end of the day, whether or not they did a good job or just hid in a trailer, never going on set, gets paid the same amount
- start time (a.k.a. "call time" for those in the know) can be as early as 4:30am, so not great news for non-Morning People :(
- transportation can be an issue, especially considering an early call time. You may not be able to take the bus/subway to the set because there simply won't be any running at that time!
- factor in the cost of transportation (bus/subway/taxi/carpool/gas/parking)
- I'm not sure if it's the food, schedule, or other, but you tend to get bloated by the end of the day. I skipped the unhealthy options like white bread, fake peanut butter/jelly, cookies, coffee, etc. and I still felt it!
- depending on the time of year and location of shoot, you may be exposed to various climates: room temp in trailer/on set, cold while gathering outside, waiting for instructions
- like any other job, there are some pretty annoying people on set! People who yap about how their religion is the best, make ignorant comments like, "You're not Black, unless your rap!", show off their ACTRA food, potheads who talk about pothead stuff. The temptation is great, but you just hafta ignore, ignore, ignore.
- there is lotsa dead time, so you hafta bring something to keep your occupied: a book, smartphone, boardgames, etc.
- no set end time, so you can't really make plans
- depending on the nature of the production, your costume/makeup can be uncomfortable, re: a zombie, robot, spandex, Victorian-era, etc.
- despite all the precautions that I took (getting enough sleep, eating healthy, & taking vitamins/supplements), I got sick after only 3 days of work. Currently, I'm still sick, so I may hafta see my dr.

I realise that these lists seem long, but I am trying to cover all the bases!


posted by Stephania at 10:53 pm
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