There are a few different thoughts about this. Some actors will never do background work. They find it demeaning and believe it will kill their career.
Other actors think it can be helpful to be an extra for film, TV or commercial projects. Here are my thoughts.
photo by Jen Theodore - Unsplash
Extras in a scene
If you are just beginning in the acting and modeling industry and have not had much experience on a set, doing some extra work can be helpful.
Advantages of Working as an Extra on a Film or TV Project
You will get an opportunity to see what takes place on a film or TV set.
Sometimes (not always) you can be close enough to the principal actors to watch and learn from them.
You can spend time networking with other extras. Learn about great agents in the area, head shot photographers, classes and future projects.
Sometimes extras get upgraded and given a line and become a principal in the project. That has happened to me a few times
Disadvantages of Working as an Extra on a Film or TV Project
You don't want to do too much extra work. It will keep you away from auditioning for principal projects.
If you are established in a scene, you won't get the opportunity to audition and work on that project as a principal actor
Doing a lot of extra work can be hard work. Long days, sometimes not the best conditions, and if you aren't in the Union, the pay is not great (in smaller markets.)
If you are interested in doing principal work, you don't want to be seen in the acting community as being an extra only actor.
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Share your thoughts if you accept or turn down extra work and why.