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  1. #1
    Rotting Zealot
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    Unhappy Do you think extras agencies are a scam?

    I've registered with a few of these "casting agencies" before, but I never saw much to apply for in the way of jobs. One named StarNow just recycles ads from Facebook anyway. Another popular company called Universal Extras (which is supposedly a reputable website) actually puts up what I presume are premature ads about work to attract new members, then the companies involved with the films just decide to select a different casting firm altogether, but it varies. They then keep the 'casting soon' ads there, and there's never anything to apply for, so unless people look on social media to find out things from others, they're not kept updated. The ads just expire eventually. It's kind of misleading, and potentially a con. This happened recently with Avengers: Infinity War.

    Also, a lot of websites charge you to join. Some ads that promote the filming say being an extra alongside X actor makes you a STAR which is total bullshit. You can just imagine the cheesy sounding headliners. "Be a star alongside Leo" or something. Being a background actor doesn't make you a star at all. Acting as an extra may be cool for some people, but you are kind of like being a mobile prop. Nothing more, nothing less. Sometimes, you're not even visible in a scene if there's too many other "extras" there too, and the days can be really boring.

    Meh. Has anybody worked in films before?

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  2. #2
    The Architect
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    FrighT MasteR's Avatar
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    I figured probably most casting agencies are scams

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  3. #3
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    RustedChainsaw's Avatar
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    I've worked as a casting assistant before, so I've heard things here and there, including the skepticism that goes with it.

    Let's just get this out of the way. If it's a mainstream film, it's very, very rare that they'll just post something on social media about needing extras, much less actors. Unless it's detailed, including an address that's not in the middle of nowhere or in an abandoned warehouse, and is backed up by a really reputable site like Backstage, don't fall for it. Even if you see a number and think there's no harm in calling, most of the time they're eager for your credit card information, and that is a red flag. Hang up immediately.

    It really depends where you live though. Most casting agencies are in the big cities. There are outliers that are totally legitimate, but the work you're likely to book with them, if any, is stuff like commercials or corporate training videos. I live an hour from San Francisco, and a lot of my actor friends who live out there in the city express frustration with how little film work they get, despite having agents. Facebook and Google will occasionally cast for things, but let's be real. When was the last time you saw an ad on TV for either of those?

    Extra work is different from acting work. Extras don't need an agent. They just gotta know who's in town shooting something and find out how they're casting. Most of the time, you get cast as an extra on a whim. If someone tells someone that you have a retro kind of fashion sense, you could suddenly wind up being an extra in a 70's or 80's film. If you don't look that far off from a junkie, they could put you in a gritty drug deal scene. But like, even then you're lucky to have your face shown for three seconds! You're just there as a living prop. You hang out on set, typically for hours, and basically get corralled by PAs and whatnot. But you won't suddenly become a star. Having an actual CREDIT in the project is pure luck. It almost never happens. You have to reeeaally stand out and catch the right person's eye, and THEN maybe some producer will be like, "I like this guy's mannerisms. Let's have him say that other line that we were gonna cut!" Then you'll be credited as "Guy #4" or something. But then, from what I hear, that's really good because they hook you up with SAG eligibility or whatever, IF they're a big production.

    Don't listen to FrighT though! Not everyone is a scammer! It's just that a lot of wannabe actors whine about not booking things when they don't understand the industry! They probably live in a place where there is NONE. Plus, a lot of them think it's just that easy. That because they were the class clown or hot girl in high school, Hollyweird will see their "talent" and snatch 'em up to cast in the next big movie. But then they get to LA and they see the reality. Good-looking people and quirky personalities everywhere.

    Just have some healthy skepticism and do your research. For example, one time, I got a random call from this lady at an agency, who had apparently gotten my information from a sister agency I had applied to. She thought I was trying to be an actor, when really, I wanted to intern for them. She even complimented my voice. WHAT? And she gave me the details on this casting call that was taking place in Vegas, and that it was for a film that Zac Efron was starring in. I was very suspicious and declined, but I found out sometime later that it was legit. The movie was "We Are Your Friends".

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  4. #4
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    Primetimeloser's Avatar
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    Exactly Rusted. Hell our town isn't a hub by any means but I've been offered work as and extra simply because I know/try to help local filmmakers. Didn't take it because I'm a behind the scenes kind of person but it really seems to be based heavily on networking.

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  5. #5
    Rotting Zealot
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    I've never had a line in a professional film before. I've made home movies and been an extra in short films, but while I obviously speak in some of those, I've never had a line in proper movies yet. I'm also in 'Redcon-1' which is taken forever to come out. It's a new British zombie feature film. I'm a zombie in this scene with a mine.

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  6. #6
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    RustedChainsaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Primetimeloser View Post
    Exactly Rusted. Hell our town isn't a hub by any means but I've been offered work as and extra simply because I know/try to help local filmmakers. Didn't take it because I'm a behind the scenes kind of person but it really seems to be based heavily on networking.
    Dude, freakin' go for it! You never know! Even if, officially, you're an extra, you can still learn filmmaking techniques and industry stuff during those long hours on set and put 'em to use in the future. It'd give you an advantage over those who just do it to get famous.

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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by RustedChainsaw View Post
    Dude, freakin' go for it! You never know! Even if, officially, you're an extra, you can still learn filmmaking techniques and industry stuff during those long hours on set and put 'em to use in the future. It'd give you an advantage over those who just do it to get famous.
    Fair, we will be hanging with all our film buddies and Scares That Care! this weekend. Problem now is my health is shit so leaving the house gets....complicated.

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  8. #8
    Rotting Zealot
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    The first short film I did was for a media class in college; I was in a comedy western. Kirk Douglas was in a film called The Villain as a Wylie Coyote type bandit, called Cactus Jack. So I took that name as an homage to him. My mate of nearly 9 years was in the film too. He's the older guy you can see in my "horror" shorts.

    In 2012, when I still stayed in supported accommodation, a former support worker got me a part as an extra in a web series named Judas Goat. I'm credited in all the episodes in re-releases, but they left my name out on the first episode (which I appear in briefly) when it was first put on Vimeo, and so I just added 'credit only' for the other episodes on IMDb and went uncredited for the initial episode. I'm just in the bar scene in the first episode, when Mike (played by Guy Evans) tries to lure the woman to her death.

    Last year, I went to Midlothian and was a zombie in a feature film called Redcon-1, which had a different working title before. It has a former WWE Superstar in it. The woman who was Paul Burchill's pretend sister. Although I did enjoy myself that day, a lot of the associated crew bullied me on Facebook afterwards. The extras were zombies and we were covered in syrup. The movie is not out yet, so I cannot reveal what occurs, but this movie should be out this fall.

    I've been in several short films since. One film I was in this year I helped to fund on Indiegogo. I've also applied to be an extra in some major period movies being shot soon in Scotland. Although I'd have to act without my glasses on. It should be okay, if I'm just standing around.


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