Should extra work be put on your C.V.?

  • Beau Rambaut

    Actor

    Where does everyone stand on this??

    • 14th Jan 2008
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  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    I would say no, to be honest. Extra work doesn't really qualify as 'acting' in my mind (although of course it does take a lot of skill and patience).

    I just worry that it would send potential employers the wrong message about me. I want to be considered for speaking roles - if they see a lot of extra work on there they might think I'm not serious about what I do.

    Of course this would be a very silly assumption (we all have to pay the bills) but alas a quick note saying 'I just did it for the money/experience' would probably do more harm than good. It's like selling a house - we can't expect casting directors to use their imaginations - we have to present ourselves as we wish to be seen from the very beginning and hope that that's the person they want to play the part.

    • 14th Jan 2008
    • 1
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    A DEFINITE "NO!", "NO!", "NO!"!!!!!!

    Like it or not, you are either an "EXTRA" or an "ACTOR"!

    ps...I use the words "background artiste" NOT "Extra"

    • 14th Jan 2008
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  • Rebecca Probyn

    Actor

    I would say no but if you are going to clearly state that it is background artist work.. If it appears thatyou are trying to palm it off as "proper" acting work that you are only going to piss people off and harm your career.

    :)

    • 14th Jan 2008
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  • Beau Rambaut

    Actor

    Oh gosh sorry I should have said Background artist. Or supporting artist sounds even better!

    I kind of agree with the general concensus.

    • 14th Jan 2008
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  • Caroline Boulton

    Actor

    no and you can always tell if its extra work being portrayed as more. x

    • 14th Jan 2008
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  • Lee Ravitz

    Actor

    Hmmm. Well as everyone has said it already barely any point in my adding it in but, basically, no.

    I think there are lots of foolish myths that surround the notion that 'if you, the professional actor, become known for your extras work, you will become known to one and all as an extra, and never be taken seriously as a professional actor', which is, frankly, absolute rubbish...most extras are not actors, and I see no reason at all why an actor who has been known, on odd occasions, to do some extras work to help pay the rent should be dismissed by a casting director on that basis, if they are also known to have done plentiful amounts of well - respected mainstream acting work!

    But that does beg the question. Basically, if all you can lay claim on your CV is extras work, then you are an extra, not an actor, and no Casting Director is going to fall for the pretence that you are an actor in a million years. But as we are all actors here, then really the point is just listing extras work is not going to impress anyone - it demands no actual skill at acting (as anyone who has ever done it will know), and even if it was done on the set of a big name film, it is quickly apparent that your contribution to that film would have been pretty negligible. I don't think that saying you were on the same set with Russell Crowe, for instance, cuts any ice with anyone unless they can determine that you actually had a line you spoke to him, or something similar.

    Now, it's true to say that there is a hierarchy of 'background' work, and being 'featured' is slightly more viable acting work (sometimes it's a real performance demanded of you), and having a 'speaking role' (even if you didn't initially audition for one) is tantamount to being in the cast list. So, of course, this type of 'extras' work is certainly worth putting on the CV (but only because it's almost verging on having been cast in a role properly!) - I'd say a good rule of thumb might be - if you would consider that the section of the film you were in would be worth putting on a showreel- then stick it on the CV. So, even your part as a non - speaking ladies's maid who, nonetheless, hovers conspicuously in frame and performs certain tasks vital to the scene may warrant a mention on the CV - at the very least, a Casting Director will recognise that you made some 'performance' contribution to the finished product. If it's a shot of the back of your head, or a blink and I'd miss you panning shot across a crowded ballroom, or a standing gurning in a crowd moment, then frankly, I hope you took the money for it, and you're leaving it off the CV.

    • 14th Jan 2008
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  • Lee Ravitz

    Actor

    I would also repsectfully disagree with the notion that it takes a lot of skill and practice to be an extra. It takes, in my experience, absolutely no practice, and very little skill at all. And this, to me, is the essence of this argument. I'd like to think that there was a strong selection process at work even at getting hold of extras for a project - but this is rubbish. Yes, 'featured' artists will be auditioned (although even then, the 'audition' is likely to consist of little more than filming your face and deciding if the camera likes it). But, for the rest, you can be signed up to an extras agency, bussed in in a job lot of assorted types, and very often not be used at all in the actual filming. There are habitual extras out there who do it strictly for the money, and don't care about whether they even perform a job that day or not, because they get paid the same regardless.

    9 times out of 10, extras are told to stand in the background of a shot in order to 'bulk it out' - there is next to no chance that the camera will take the time to pick up on them or their (supposed) 'contribution' to the shot, and they will be told to just do well either whatever they feel like, or to stay out of the way of the cast and crew. And that's pretty much it.

    Even the smallest acted part (and I mean literally two lines) will have been auditioned, strictly cast according to criteria. The actor involved will have needed to make active decisions about what the character is doing in the scene and why they are motivated to do it (this is what we train to learn how to do) - all for a very good reason, even if you are up there for all of a minute, the director does not want you to be the one element that ruins the rest of the film;) Yes, we as actors demand that we get even a little glory from a job, but it is, in part, payment for the fact that we have taken on (however humble) responsibility in the film. That's why it's so hard to get cast for even the smallest parts - everyone wants to make sure you will 'responsible' enough not to let the project down. Extras have nothing of this responsibility on a set (many of them don't even know how to behave properly on a set - like shutting up during a take), and, consequently, they don't get much of the glory. If it makes them happy to be able to say they stood on the same floor space as Harrison Ford for three minutes while he did something else, then good luck to them. But that isn't what I think we, as professional actors, should be aspiring to.

    • 14th Jan 2008
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