Monday, August 23, 2010

Abduction Extras Needed for 8/26 and 8/27

Abduction has been shooting in the area for about two months.
Their casting crew is looking for extras for late August, especially Thursday, August 26 and Friday, August 27.

To be considered for extra work, E-mail your photo to:,
along with your name, date of birth (need to be 18 to be considered) and your phone number.

Keep an eye on their Facebook page. Go to and search on "Abduction Extras" to find their extra casting calls.

If you've never been an extra before, while there's a lot of "hurry-up and wait," it's a fascinating experience if you want to watch the craft of movie-making. And, you get paid!

Surviving Your Days as an Extra

This is based on being an extra for 14 different films in the Pittsburgh market since 2008.  The bottom line is always pay attention to what the casting agent who contacts you to work and what the production assistants tell you on set, because some extra work requirements vary from place to place.  YMMV.

So you've just gotten a gig as an extra? Congrats! If you've never done it before, here are some things to remember.

  • Be on time.  If your call time is for 9am, get there a little before 9am. Call the casting office if you will be late or if something happened and you can't show up at all.  Follow the signs that say "Extra Parking" and "Extra Check-in" so you'll wind up in the right spot at the right time.  If the casting office tells you to call someone once you reach the extra holding area, don't forget to make that call when you arrive.
  • Bring a pen (or two), photo ID, something with your Social Security number and a government issued photo ID (driver's license/passport).   You will need to fill out paperwork once you get there.  If you have a small clipboard or even a piece of cardboard, that can help you do your paperwork since table space can be at a premium.
  • Part of the paperwork you will complete is a time sheet, which is typically a half-page 3-part form.  You will need to hold onto that form until you sign out at the end of the day, unless you are given a costume, and then the costume folks usually hold it for you.  You will not be paid unless you turn in a completed form at the end of the day, so always know where your time sheet is.
  • Wear comfortable shoes. You may be standing around more than you realize. You may be walking much more than you anticipate.  However, if you have to wear uncomfortable shoes on set, be sure to have comfortable ones to wear once you leave the set.
  • Bring snacks. Yes, they will feed you, but sometimes having some fruit, hard candy and maybe even a sandwich can be very helpful. Also, a small bottle of water is a huge help because you can sneak that in a bag or a pocket and keep it with you.
  • If you may be outside, bring sunglasses, a cap and sunscreen. Sunglasses are a good idea in general as set lights can be murder.  Note that you may be told to remove the sunglasses and cap depending on what the director wants.
  • You will often be asked to bring extra clothes so the costumers can make decisions about what you will wear. Don't bring white or red, and don't bring items with logos.
  • Bring diversionary materials - books, eBooks, gaming devices, iPod, anything small. In most cases, a laptop or an iPad is too big. Another reason for bringing things like eBooks or small crafts - you might be asked to do something on set other than just sit. You might be asked to read or knit or play with a GameBoy, so it's handy if you have something like that on you that you can use.
  • A deck of cards can be a good way to make friends.
  • Listen to your production assistants (PA). Follow their instructions carefully. Don't lose track of them! PAs take a lot of flack, as they're wedged between the higher-level people making the movie and the extras, many of whom have never been on a set before. While some PAs could use a term in charm school, most of them are worth their weight in gold.
  • Don't bring a camera. Seriously. Almost nothing will get you thrown off a set faster than trying to take pictures.
  • Turn off your cell phone when you're called to a set.  Almost nothing is more embarrassing than a cell phone going off in a shot.  That, too, can get you booted off some sets.
  • Don't bring attitude. If you're a diva or a stalker, stay home. Remember, an extra is just a cooperative, mobile prop. Extras are often insurance so a director can use you in a scene when they're unsure whether to use extras or not.  You can wind up coming to set for days and never getting near a camera, but, remember, you're still being paid.  If you take yourself too seriously than that, you're going to have a rotten time. You have to look at extra work as if you're just being paid to read or chat with other people in extra holding, and if you do get to be on set, it's a bonus.
  • If you have screwed up and are told to leave the set, leave immediately.  Don't whine about it.  The more you whine, the more people will remember that you whined.
  • If they let you watch filming when you're not actually filming, stand out of the way and be very quiet.
  • Be polite to everyone.
  • Network - If you know about other extra jobs, share that information with extras who seem interested in other jobs.
Frankly, I could never be a "full-time" extra, but, a few days a year or a month, it's a ball!

Here's a similar survival guide more aimed at actors with lines than extras.