Working as a background actor is similar to child daycare…
Yes! I mean it. One of the most common ways actors from all over the world come to places like Los Angeles and New York is to break in to the business of acting, through background. But lets get to the point. Why is background acting is secretly like adult daycare camp.
Background Acting is a tease to acting doing the real thing. Background just like anything other actors is booked for their looks and sometimes talent specialties. But background actors are under full control most of time, leaving little room to express themselves or even go to the restrooms without permission.
“Background actors have to ask to do almost everything on set.” (Even talk or breathe)
I mean this literately. Background actors are treated like second class citizens, which is not good for self-esteem. Its a day camp with rigorous rules, other production cast pretend to play nice, but on the inside its not fun and games. Extras walk around like zombies, waiting to be called for the next segment. Eyes are lost in despair. The duration of set time can be long up to14 hours sometimes more. It takes a long time to turn around close up angles, wide shots, turning around shots, and other needs for the story to come alive,
Sadly, camera operators, directors and PA’s have ego stroking attitudes, some are nice, but most have hierarchy issues. That’s probably why “the old saying,” is that acting is one of the most hardest business to break into.
In day camp children are instructed to play, socialized keeping themselves busy doing and learning something productive all day or week right? B.G acting is daycamp. Filming can be a long day process that can lead to months perhaps years. There is so much free time to catch up on reading, movies or whatever you can get away with during these leisure hours onset. Most actors I am looking at right now mostly literally looking down at their phones, swiping away Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter photos, or talking someones head off about personal problems miserably. Its almost like the walking dead. Ouch, did i just say that!!!
Photo Credit: The Walking Dead
How weird is that! What could someone possibly talk about for 14 hours on set, haha you’d be surprised.
Be Smart! If you’re breaking into this business it is smart to bring work to do on set. Have something to keep that brain occupied. Draw pictures, practice reading your script for an audition, (if you’re even auditioning lol) News flash Most background actors are not serious about being an real actor. Many like the experience of playing a non speaking role in an scenes, nothing close to the real thing. I learned this the hard way. Every person I met was all about talk.
Fourteen hours is a long time to stare at the walls. Think about it!!!!
Things to know!
know your type cast. Type casting is a unique way to place the actors in the rose that fits their personality best. There are a lot of talent with similar looks personalities, and interest. But no one can beat you at being you. Always be authentic and the best version of yourself. Acting is powerful but there are also a lot of competition. Only the most resilient survives.
Audition when it feels like the best time. Don’t wait until its perfect. Just do it!
Its all about personality and being confidence, you never know what casting directors are looking for, just making it happen and do what your good at, otherwise your already dead like the walking dead zombies!!