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What is it like to work as a supporting artist?

Gain experience, extra skills and some useful cash by working as a supporting artist on film sets.

Extras who can blend into a crowd and provide background support to the leading actors are always in demand. Their role is simple – to make scenes more believable and realistic. The experience can be extremely useful as you can discover how leading actors create their roles and how film sets work.

It is not glamorous, nor is it a way to find stardom. You are there to do a job, be part of the crowd and not stand out. There is a lot of waiting around, and the demand for multiple shots can get very exhausting especially with active scenes such as battles or running along a road. Take a book to read, scripts to learn to fill in quiet times.

Tips for a supporting artists

As a ‘supporting artist’ be professional at all times. Create a good portfolio and keep it updated. Think about all the features that might be useful to a casting director. You might have a police uniform in your wardrobe, have special skills such as flamenco or tap dancing, play an instrument or possess a classic car. If you are taking a holiday or are not available for specific days – make sure that your booking agency is aware of this. There is nothing more irritating to a casting director than choosing an extra and then finding they are not available.

While working on a film set always remember all your directions and tasks. Undertake them promptly and efficiently. If you have signed an NDA, don’t start talking about your involvement on social media. Be polite and prepared for long, potentially tiring days.

A positive, helpful and professional approach will encourage casting directors to use you again, providing extra experience and helping your bank balance.