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So You Want to be an Extra

Information about becoming an extra.

Albuquerque is experiencing an explosion of film-making in the area, and most films need a good supply of extras.

Here are a few frequently asked questions:


Do I need to be beautiful to be an extra?

No, movie extras come in all ages, sizes, shapes, colors, and looks.

How much does an extra get paid?

Not much. Usually, minimum wage. If you are doing this to earn a living, you need to pick a different career.

How long is a typical day's work?

The movie industry works very long hours, and a 10 to 14 hour work day is not uncommon.

What if I can't be available all day?

Don't be an extra.

Is a cattle call for a western? What if I don't have any livestock?

A cattle call refers to a mass casting call, where hundreds are seen in an afternoon for a very brief amount of time.

How do I find out about when a movie needs extras?

There are several ways to find out about extras casting calls. You may hear about one on the radio, tv, or in the newspaper. A more effective way to get on as an extra is to be represented by an Extras Casting Director.

Does it cost money to be listed with an Extras Casting Director?

No, there should be no cost to be listed. The Casting Director may take a portion (10 percent) of your wages if you are selected.

What is a head shot? Does it cost money?

Do not spend a lot of money on a head shot when you are just getting started. Have a friend take a digital picture of you, and make your own head shot listing your name, cell phone, sizes, previous experience on a set or in theatre, and any special talents you have. Keep it to one page only.

I can juggle chain saws, should I list that?


I can't swim, but they are looking for swimmers. Should I say I can in hopes of getting the part?

No, don't lie.

What is it like on a movie set?

Boring, generally. Bring a book to read, knitting, etc, etc.

Can I talk to the director?


The lead actor, actress, or director is my hero. Can I ask her for an autograph?