Film Extra/Supporting Artist Work

  • Isabelle Dalais

    Actor

    At risk of sounding a real rookie, yet knowing that it may be frowned upon, is it ok to put film extra/supporting artist work as a credit if you are featured/say a line. Or just in general? (Although I probably wouldn't put the general SA work to be fair).

    • 8th Oct 2020
    • 860
    • 15
  • Olivia Hespe

    Actor

    Hi Isabelle,

    My understanding from speaking to a few Casting Directors is that supporting artist/extra (uncredited) roles shouldn't go on your IMDb page; but personally I would think they would be fine on your Mandy profile, as it demonstrates that you have experience 'on set'. It will be interesting to see what others on this platform say.

    Best wishes,

    Olivia Hespe

    • 18th Sep 2020
    • 1
  • Isabelle Dalais

    Actor

    Hi Olivia,

    Many thanks for your response, it has been really helpful as there are a couple of featured roles that I have really liked, so shall now happily have them on my Mandy page. Thanks for the information about IMDb too!

    Thanks again,

    Isabelle

    • 19th Sep 2020
    • 2
  • Andrew Gruffudd

    Actor

    I'd say definitely!

    Thing is, whilst Mandy is different to a degree than any other jobs site, it is still a site in which you apply for jobs. To look at it from a casting director's point of view, he wants to know that in casting you for a role that you will be able to do the job. Casting anyone is costly - casting the wrong person is a money-pit.

    Therefore, even if you just played Long John Silver's wooden leg, that you tell people you were his wooden leg indicates that you are capable of playing a wooden leg, and thus you can safely be cast as another timber-toe: perhaps (and this has happened to me in the past), the director likes what he sees and upgrades you to another part, with lines and everything and, of course, a fatter brown envelope at the end. Even if he doesn't, he may consider you for future parts or tell his casting director friends what a superb wooden leg you were, how polished with or without beeswax.

    What I'm trying to say is that one part, even a minor, insignificant part, can lead anywhere. Look at Roger Moore: he started out modelling sweaters and ended up with a sainthood and a licence to kill anyone who objected. The world is your lobster, the mollusc of your desire, so get out there and sparkle - and don't forget to show your sparkliness to the right people!

    • 23rd Sep 2020
    • 3
  • Suzanna Hughes

    Actor

    Hi,

    Definitely do not put general extra work on your CV or profile. It doesn't demonstrate that you can act, just that you're an extra, and it isn't acting work, anyone can be an extra. It actually goes against you with a lot of casting directors.

    If you have had a featured part even if uncredited, with dialogue, then yes, I think you can put that, just be truthful, if asked that you were upgraded from an extra. This is especially useful if the clip is on your showreel.

    Hope this helps, and good luck.

    Suzanna

    • 23rd Sep 2020
    • 4
  • Andrew Gruffudd

    Actor

    What's your definition of general extra, Suzanna? I ask because none of the jobs I have done as an extra have been devoid of acting to at least some degree. I still had to follow direction and interpret that direction in light of what the scene was about. Obviously, because it's such a small part, you don't want to go overboard in a protracted analysis of motivation and other things, but neither do you want to check your digital watch in the middle of a mediaeval battle scene, if such is your lot.

    You see, every person on set is supposed to draw the film to one conclusion. If they don't, then they are superfluous and, in a tight budget situation, that which is superfluous shouldn't be there. Thus, if a casting director knows you have experience on set, he will know you have some level of acting experience, taking direction and generally not cocking things up through lack of punctuality on the one hand and clumsiness on the other.

    • 23rd Sep 2020
    • 5
  • Suzanna Hughes

    Actor

    General extra work is when someone has been booked as an extra and does just extra work. It's not acting, it's not seen as acting and shouldn't be passed off as acting. Any agent, director, casting director or actor will tell you that, I'm afraid. It's the industry norm.

    • 23rd Sep 2020
    • 6
  • Lauren Douglin

    Actor

    Unless you have been upgraded to a speaking role I would not put it on any CV/site. I know some say its good to show you have been on set but you want to show quality over quantity. Your CV should reflect what you want to be cast in and what roles future employers could see you in. Seeing maid/maid/police officier/nightclub dancer/maid will limit their view of you.

    SA work is good to gain experience and money but is not equvailent to acting work. Also just not IMDB isn't that much of a focus for CDs in the UK, Spotlight is.

    • 25th Sep 2020
    • 7
  • Wayne Newport

    Actor

    I agree with Andrew - your CV should reflect the range and diversity of the work you do. Its up to a Casting Director to decide whether your experience is relevant or not.

    Take for example this situation... You are cast in a film and have 2 scenes.... One scene where you are stood moodily in the background watching a dramatic scene unfold between some other actors and another scene where you have hundreds of lines. If the scene with all your lines ends up on the cutting room floor, does this mean you should be viewed as just an "extra" with no lines? It can also work the other way around - you can be booked as a non-speaking "extra", yet end up being given lines and thus become a featured artist.

    At the end of the day, you need to do what works for you - maybe experiment and see if you get more opportunities with or without mentioning any "extra" work. Good Luck!

    • 26th Sep 2020
    • 8
  • Andrew Gruffudd

    Actor

    Exactamundo - with extra mozzarella. And at the end of the day, it gets dark, so the more information you can give the CD the better illuminated he's going to be about your range. It's always possible to say that you have the right to remain silent, and anything you do say will be used against you in the court of public opinion, but acknowledging the CD's Vogonity and stirring the imagination of the director might just give you the edge.

    • 26th Sep 2020
    • 9
  • Stu Jackson

    Actor

    Whilst many actors do occassionally do extras work (I am one of them), it is perceived as unprofessional within the industry to pass extras work off as a 'credit'. If it were 'acting', then I'm sure Spotlight would accept it as professional evidence, which they obviously don't. People may not like it, but it's simply how it is.

    • 29th Sep 2020
    • 10
  • Mark Lisseman

    Actor

    Nope - Not. At. All. No extra/SA/background work should ever go on your CV. Divorce it completely from your acting 'persona'. Being an extra takes no skill, no experience, no training, no knowledge of film or tv. So many people list extra roles on their IMDB it's not even a joke. Talk about Walter Mitty syndrome!

    • 2nd Oct 2020
    • 11
  • Andrew Gruffudd

    Actor

    With the greatest respect, Mark - and you're entitled to your opinion - but being an extra does take skill and knowledge of film/TV. For instance, have you ever seen anyone on film who's supposed to be a bystander or whatever staring fascinated into the camera lens? What about being so active in their role that they take attention away from the action? There's one story about Steve McQueen being excoriated by Yul Brynner on the set of The Magnificent Seven where the former kept fidgeting and taking attention away from the latter's scene - and another where, in the Jasper Carrott series The Detectives, where he and Robert Powell investigated a crime on set and they were drafted in as extras in casino, and they kept making jubilant noises because they won a game on the table. Obviously that was exaggeration for comedic effect, but there needs to be something there to be exaggerated in the first place! No - being an extra shows that you know how to behave on set: of course, if your CV is so crowded with featured roles that you can dispense with mentioning extra work, so be it, but never underestimate the attributes necessary to successfully accomplish the director's vision.

    Then again, it's always possible that we're talking at cross purposes as to what constitutes an extra.

    • 5th Oct 2020
    • 12
  • Stu Jackson

    Actor

    There are bad extras out there it’s true. It takes common sense to be a good extra. It takes a whole lot more to be a good actor. That’s why there is training that lasts years to be an even adequate actor, and there are no courses for being an extra.

    The point here is that being a good extra does not involve a fraction of the skills required for acting. Which is why CDs won’t recognise it.

    • 5th Oct 2020
    • 13
  • Mark Lisseman

    Actor

    Andrew - as Stu said, there's far more to being a good actor than there is to being a good extra. If you're a rubbish extra they'll just get rid of you on the spot (and I've seen it done), even though it takes very little common sense to walk from A to B, or simply mime a conversation 150 ft away from the filmed action. It takes far more to actually act. Nothing I've heard in the ten years since I graduated would ever make me put any extra work on a CV, and that's something I've heard repeated many dozens of times over the years. It's absolutely a no no in my eyes (and I've had two extra jobs in the last few weeks with dialogue - they won't be going on my CV). Of course my CV isn't "crowded with featured roles", but that doesn't matter. It's extra work so it doesn't go on a CV full stop.

    • 5th Oct 2020
    • 14
  • Toni Brooks

    Actor

    Ask any CD, any DOP, any AD, any agent and they will all say, without exception, do not put extra work on your CV unless you are an extra and that is your career path. If you want to be taken seriously as an actor, keep the extra work off the CV and, when on set, keep your head down. You will quickly be known as an extra by those that matter and you will always be regarded as an extra. It's the same as understudy work for theatre - once you're known as an understudy, that's how people will view you., Do it a couple of times for experience, but don't make a habit of it. It's fine if you understudied a part but also played another - put the actual role first. AMERICA is totally different. There it's seen more as a positive and it's easier to move from one to the other. It might change here - back in the day, film acting was seen as very low down the ladder and as for commercials - total no-no. It might change but until it does, keep extra work off the acting CV.

    • 8th Oct 2020
    • 15