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Unlocking Opportunities – How Working as an Extra Can Boost Your TV Career

If you aspire to work in the captivating world of television, gaining experience and breaking into the industry can be a challenging endeavour. However, one avenue that often goes overlooked is the opportunity to work as an extra. While being an extra may seem like a small role, it can offer valuable insights, connections, and a steppingstone towards achieving your television career goals. Here are some reasons why working as an extra can be a significant advantage:

1. On-Set Experience: As an extra, you have the invaluable opportunity to observe and learn from industry professionals. Being on set exposes you to the inner workings of television production, allowing you to witness how directors, actors, and crew members collaborate to bring a production to life. This firsthand experience is invaluable in understanding the dynamics of a set and gaining insights into the industry’s workings.

2. Networking Opportunities: Working as an extra places you in the midst of industry professionals, from directors to actors to production crew. Seize the chance to build relationships and connections. Engage in conversations, show enthusiasm, and demonstrate professionalism. You never know who you might meet and how those connections may open doors for future auditions or opportunities.

3. Understanding Set Etiquette: Being an extra offers a unique opportunity to familiarize yourself with set etiquette and protocol. By observing and following the lead of seasoned professionals, you gain firsthand knowledge of how to conduct yourself on set, including proper behaviour, set etiquette, and the overall flow of production. These skills are crucial for success as you progress in your television career.

4. Building Confidence and Comfort: Working as an extra helps build confidence in front of the camera and within the industry. You become more comfortable with the fast-paced nature of a set, the presence of cameras, and the need to take direction quickly. This confidence is invaluable as you pursue larger roles and auditions, allowing you to showcase your talent with poise and ease.

5. Exposure to Industry Professionals: While working as an extra, you may have the opportunity to interact with directors, casting agents, and other industry professionals. These brief encounters offer a chance to make a positive impression and potentially catch the attention of decision-makers. Even if you’re not directly interacting with them, your dedication, professionalism, and talent could be noticed and remembered for future opportunities.

6. Gaining Industry Insight: By being on set as an extra, you gain insight into the various roles and departments involved in television production. Pay attention to different crew members and their responsibilities. This understanding of the production process provides a holistic view of the industry and can guide you in determining which aspects of television production resonate with you the most.

7. Developing Adaptability and Versatility: Working as an extra often requires you to embody various characters, adapt to different settings, and follow specific directions. This flexibility and versatility become valuable skills in the industry. As you transition to larger roles, your experience as an extra helps you understand the importance of bringing nuance and authenticity to your characters, regardless of the role’s size.

8. Establishing a Work Ethic: The demanding nature of working as an extra helps develop a strong work ethic. Long hours, repetitive scenes, and waiting times require patience, resilience, and a positive attitude. By demonstrating professionalism and dedication, you build a reputation as someone reliable and committed, traits that are highly valued in the industry.

9. Showcasing Commitment: Commitment is a key quality sought after in actors. Consistently working as an extra showcases your dedication and passion for the craft. Casting directors and industry professionals appreciate individuals who are committed to honing their skills, as it demonstrates a willingness to put in the necessary work and grow as an actor.

10. Gaining Insights into the Industry: Perhaps

How do you become an extra?

You can register for free with agencies such as Envisage Casting Agency or We’ve Got Talent. You will get emails with details of extra work you can apply for. This is a great way to dip your toe and see what you think.