Want to be a TV and film extra? ‘There aren’t many skills required’

If you don't mind waiting around a lot, being an extra on set can be an interesting experience.

As a freelance writer currently working on his first book, Richard Castles needs to somehow make money. So he does lots of other jobs, including being a casual film and television extra. 

I work as an extra in film and television. Sometimes we are called background artists. You might have seen Ricky Gervais’s show Extras. We are unfeatured, non-speaking players who appear in the background of television commercials, shows and movies. Most often we are just sitting or walking in the background to provide atmosphere in a street or café. But sometimes we might be soldiers in an army, or other scenarios that require large crowds. You are usually only required to perform simple actions like clapping, eating or miming a conversation.

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Thuy On is Reviews Editor of ArtsHub and an arts journalist, critic and poet who’s written for a range of publications including The Guardian, The Saturday Paper, Sydney Review of Books, The Australian, The Age/SMH and Australian Book Review. She was the books editor of The Big issue for 8 years. Her first book, a collection of poetry called Turbulence, came out in 2020 and was published by University of Western Australia Press (UWAP). Her next collection, Decadence, was published in July 2022, also by UWAP. Twitter: @thuy_on