How to know if it's worth doing extras roles for no pay
No, background work is not useful for actor, especially if it is unpaid.
The reason being is this:
1. Your literally just going to be used in the background, and you may be seen for 5 seconds or less, if your lucky.
2. Your not actively doing a acting role, so therefore there isn't going to be any footage from this production that you can use for an actors showreel.
3. You are not going to be credited on the production if your an extra! In some cases you might be credited for small featured roles, but not always.
If extra work was something you would be interested in doing and you want to be paid, there are many background agencies which will take people on. Usually September and October is the time when you should submit to a Supporting Artist Agency.
Here are a List of some of the agencies which you can join for extra work.
.Guys & Dolls
I would only advise extra work, for those that are in the start of there acting career and want to earn some on set film expereince in order to become more familiarized with the structure and work flow of film and TV.
Actors who want to work on more featured roles and have credits attached to place on there CV and IMDB page, then I work look into joining agencies which only exclusively deal with actors.
The Ideal agencies to join are those which work directly with Spotlight and have good representation.
These agencies Include
. MCLean- Williams Agency
. west central management (West - End Theatre Agency).
There are so many agencies in london and across Briton.
My Advise to anyone, before choosing an agency do your research and find out what sort of actors they are representing and if they have anyone as unique as you. Although before approaching an acting agency you need four important things to deliver to there table, these are:
. A covering letter or an email expressing why you have approached them and explain to them that you would be good asset to the agency because your USP Unique selling point) is this and that they do not have an other talent like yourself.
. An amazing up to date Industry standard - Professional headshot.
. A CV expressing past experience, training and skills.
(The better the training you've had, productions you've been on and names attached I.e - I've worked with this director/ producer, then they would be more likely to call you.
. An Showreel is a must - because seeing is believing.
I hope this all helps.