Become an EXTRA in the Film & TV industry

Background Artists are on camera to give a sense of realism to the scene. They ‘act’ and do ‘pieces of business’ that are more than simply crossing back and forth within the frame.

If they perform correctly, the audience should NOT even notice them … that’s part of the magic of movies!

Learning to make the fake appear real – it’s more than the principle actors that bring this beautiful art medium to ‘life’.

It can be … YOU!



In this manual and live seminar, we look at how YOU can get started as a background performer in the film and television industry. The perk of this job is that you’ll work closely with members of the Assistant Directing team, Background Casting, Make-Up, Costume, Hair, Props, Stunts and Special Effects departments!

We’ll review how you can begin working in the business, define key elements you must know (from ‘BG holding’, ‘skins’, vouchers, union(s), ‘processing’, choreography, wrapping) and offer suggestions on how to make yourself unforgettable and re-hirable!

In this in-depth manual, we cover the following (and more!):

Getting Started: The Extras Casting Department      

  • Casting Calls

  • What BG Casting Agents are Looking for

  • Resumes and Headshots

  • What to Expect

  • Types of Background Performers

If You Are Booked: What You Need to Know

  • Contact from the Extras Casting department
  • Guests
  • Transportation and Parking
  • Check In – Payment Paperwork
  • Getting Into the Union
  • Payment

Going Through the Works: the ‘Process’                                           

  • Order of Processing
  • Extra’s Holding:

Working On the Set: Stay Cool!                                                        

  • Working with the A.D. department on set
  • Choreography – human and vehicles
  • Recalling
  • Etiquette and protocol

Wrap: Let’s Go Home!                                                            

  • Process: Changing, and returning Costume & Props
  • Signing Out with the AD staff




Kenny Chaplin has been working in the movie industry for 20+ years primarily within the Assistant Directing department. He began in 1997 as a Background Performer in Terrence Malick’s “The Thin Red Line” starring Sean Penn, Woody Harrelson, and Nick Nolte. He further honed skills as an Extras Casting Director on shows such as “Prairie Giant: The Tommy Douglas Story“, “The Englishman’s Boy” and “Super Hybrid

    David Mamet and Kenny Chaplin on the set of “Spartan

Photo’s from working as an BG artist and Extras Casting Director ….