A Star is Born: How to Become a Movie Extra

Curious about how to become a movie extra? I recently did exactly that and today’s post will tell you all you need to know!

Last summer a Facebook friend of mine and her daughter worked on the LeBron James movie Shooting Stars being filmed in Akron. It sounded fun and like it would make for a good blog post topic so I registered with the casting agency that she used.

While none of the casting calls last summer worked with my schedule, I did see a call for extras in January and quickly jumped on the opportunity!

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The casting call I responded to sounded perfect! A one-day shoot, close to home, during a week that I didn’t have much going on.

Shortly after applying, I received an email saying that I was booked. A day or two before the shoot, we needed to confirm again and received the shoot location, call time, and guidelines on how to dress.

The Movie: Lost & Found in Cleveland

The movie I was cast for is called Lost & Found in Cleveland. It’s an ensemble comedy that follows 5 unique individuals over a 24-hour period as their lives collide when a televised antiques appraisal show comes to town.

The film is being produced by Cleveland native Keith Gerchak and his partner Marisa Guterman. Some of the headlining stars include:

  • Stacy Keach (best known as Mike Hammer, Private Eye)
  • Martin Sheen
  • Dennis Haysbert (Pedro Cerrano in Major League, Cleveland fans)
  • Jon Lovitz
  • June Squibb (known for roles in numerous TV series as well as feature films)

To my knowledge, a release date has not yet been announced but you can be sure I’m keeping my eyes open. Can’t wait to find out if I got in or ended up on the cutting room floor!

On Being a Movie Extra

The morning of the shoot, we met at the West Side Market where a minivan came picked us up, and drove us to the filming location for our scene. We went to the holding area and hung out there for quite a while.

Holding

While in holding, I had the good fortune to meet a group of extras that were also local investors in the film! The very nice group of (mostly) women welcomed me and I loved learning more about how they got involved with the production.

The holding room was cold as they were continually bringing in equipment and setting it up in the main filming area. Several food areas were set up, one for cast and crew and one for extras. Some people brought work or things to do but most of us just sat around and got to know each other.

Lots of waiting!

After some time, they gathered us in small groups to photograph us and assess our outfits. A woman came around and passed out accessories, etc., and had a big apron filled with safety pins, lint brushes, and more so that she could help us all look our best. As it got closer to placement time, they informed us of all the set rules and let us know what we could expect during filming.

Being assessed by production staff.

Placement & Filming

After about 2.5 hours, they called us in for placement. We were filming a restaurant scene with three of the leads, Stacy Keach, June Squibb, and Dennis Haysbert.

Luck was with me again, or perhaps it’s because I was with the group of investors! I got placed in a booth immediately next to the one where the leads were seated. Our table assessed our surroundings. We each had a plate of food (which looked horrible/half-eaten) and fake cocktails. Grape juice for white wine, iced tea for a Manhattan.

Next, rehearsals began. We all found it a bit difficult to appear as though we were conversing without actually making any noise. And all the fake eating started making us hungry. But what was really fun was hearing them say “rolling, sound rolling, action” and then listening to the leads go through their lines.

We did numerous takes and were impressed with the attention to detail/consistency. For instance, at one point staff came around and emptied out water glasses that seemed too full. The assistants were very solicitous! They often asked if we were tired or wanted water. They also had a full medical team on standby.

A highlight was when Dennis Haysbert stopped by our table and chatted with us between takes. He mentioned that he’d really love to throw out the first pitch at a Guardians game sometime!

We were dismissed after about 3.5 hours when they had all the shots they needed. By evening they had emailed us to sign off on our time sheets and our memorable movie experience was complete!

How to Become a Movie Extra

While not something I’d do regularly, working as an extra was a fun and unique experience. If you want to give it a try, you can register with Angela Boehm Casting (the agency I used) HERE. You can find a list of more local casting agencies at this link.

Once registered, they’ll email whenever they are looking for extras. Easy-peasy.

Outside of Northeast Ohio, try Googling “your city, film commission” or “your city, casting agencies” to find opportunities. You just may hook up with a local commercial, PSA, or feature film!


Would you enjoy being in a movie? Let me know in the comments below! Until next time,

Curious about how to become a movie extra? I recently did exactly that and today's post will tell you all you need to know!

Author: Betsy Ramsey

Betsy Ramsey is the author of Natty Gal. Born and raised in Northeast Ohio, she now lives there with her husband and Bichon-Frise, Dolce. A mindful fashion & capsule wardrobe enthusiast, she travels extensively, visiting 56 countries to date. Betsy is committed to helping others live their most fulfilling life!

4 thoughts on “A Star is Born: How to Become a Movie Extra”

  1. This sounds like so much fun, Betsy. I’m glad you had this opportunity. I wonder if I’d have the nerve to do this. I tend to get nervous having to perform in front of people, but I did do some acting in high school, so maybe I’d give it a go. xx

    1. Surprisingly, it wasn’t too nerve-wracking! It’s pretty clear that the cameras are on the stars and that you are just there for background. But pretend eating/talking is much more difficult than it looks and you’ll feel ridiculous doing it. Ha! Thanks for commenting and have a good week.

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