In every movie or show, there are always people in the background. Everyone always notices the actors in a t.v show or movie, nobody ever thinks of the background actors. But imagine, if the film was shot in a coffee shop and there were no customers sitting down. It would look odd and you would notice. You need extra actors in the film to create a real feeling in the show or movie. It's an important job in the film industry.

Extra Actors are usually referred to as background actors because they fill in the background. Most extras will not have speaking lines. Extra work is perfect for new actors looking to gain some experience and make some money. There’s even a few extra actors that make this their full-time career.

Day in the Life of an Extra Actor in Canada

Extra work can be a lot of fun. You can meet great people, be around A-list actors and get paid to do it, but that’s not to say extra acting is easy. A lot of film productions have long hours from early mornings to late nights, but for extras, this can seem like forever. You're not working with the main people on set so you don't always have something to do. A lot of times you spend long hours waiting before you're going to be called to for the next scene. You’re going want to bring something to keep you occupied. Waiting around to be called doesn't have to bore you. You can start looking at your next extra part and doing the research for it. You can also chat with other extra actors waiting around.

Working as an extra has it’s long days, but you’ll have some great experiences. It can be fascinating to be in a big movie or t.v set. It’s not something the average person gets to experience. You may even end up running into your favourite star. Extra actors do get some perks you’ll be able to network with film professionals if you're looking into acting and you can enjoy the free food.

Extra actors are used to fill in the background.
Extra actors are used to fill in the background. Source: Mentatdgt, Pexels

How to Become an Extra Actor in Canada?

You may be asking yourself how to become an extra actor? It can seem like miles away if you're not around the film industry, but with our tips, you’ll be able to start working as a background actor and gain some extra cash. Extra acting is also a perfect way to gain acting experience. It would be great to include on your resume. Extra acting can be an amazing experience and a good way to network into the acting world. If you want to become an extra actor follow our tips.

Qualifications to Extra Acting

Acting is one of those careers that you don’t necessarily need any experience or education in. The same can be said for extra actors. The only skill you need is to be able to follow directions. You're going to be given instructions by the producer and you're going to have to be able to follow these directions to a tee. You don’t want to be the reason production has to reset. Aside from following directions, there are some other skills you should acquire.

Skill 1: Professional Attitude - Being on set can be a fun and exciting experience, but you still have to be professional.

Skill 2: Reliability - You need to be able to be on time. You don't want the film crew waiting for you. You’ll find yourself out of a job quickly.

Skill 3: Understanding of Policies - You need to be able to understand proper set etiquette. There’s going to be rules to follow on set and you want to abide by them.

Skill 4: Mobility - You're going to need to be able to go to each location. You’ll need a car or be okay with taking public transit

Having these skills is the perfect first step in becoming an extra actor. The qualifications aren't necessarily hard but you need these skills to be a good extra actor.

Find out more about becoming an acting coach in Canada.

Extra acting does require some skill.
Extra acting does require some skill. Source: Stephan Muller, Pexels

Finding Extra  Acting Jobs in Canada

Living in Canada you're going to want to be a city that has a lot of film production. Cities like Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto are going to have more opportunities for an extra actor. It’s not impossible to be an extra actor in other Canadian cities, but you definitely won’t have a lot of opportunities to work as an extra. If you're serious about becoming an extra for full-time work or looking to get into acting it would beneficial to consider moving. You could even plan a few months at a time before making that full commitment to moving.

Your first step in looking for an extra acting job is getting hired by an agency. An agency will do all the work for you. It can be hard finding extra jobs on your own, but agencies are constantly looking to get their actor's work. A lot of agencies partner with film productions so they already have the connection. Another option for finding an extra acting job is networking. You can meet people in the film industry and ask around about extra acting. You can also meet other extra actors and speak with them about how to get an extra acting job.

Find out more about where to find work as an actor in Canada.

Can Extra Actors Turn into Actors?

The quick answer is no, extra work will not turn into you being an actor unless you put in the work. Extra actors can certainly end up being actors, but it’s not always common. Working as an extra won't streamline you into being an actor. It’s not like you eventually can be promoted to being an actor your going to still have to put in the work. Extra actors can gain experience in the acting world. You’ll have a better understanding of how the industry works. Working as an extra you can also network with the right people. You can speak with producers or other actors about how to get into acting. It can increase your chances of getting picked for a part having these connections.

Make your way on to the big scree by being an extra actor.
Make your way on to the big screen by being an extra actor. Source: Martin Lopez, Pexels.

How Much Do Extra Actor Get Paid in Canada?

Extra actor's pay can vary. They usually don't get paid on an hourly basis. If they do it's usually minimum wage. Most extra actors will get paid for the whole day. So instead of $14/hr it would $160 for the day. As we mentioned above your days could be from sunrise to sunset. You could be on set for 12- 16 hours a day. Another factor in extra work is working with an agency also means there going to expect a fee. Agencies are not ridiculous but there still cutting your wage at the end of the day. Some extra jobs will pay better you just need to be able to find them.

Start Becoming an Extra Actor in Canada

Extra acting can be an exciting new hobby you pick up. It can be a way to be on a film production set, get paid and meet some great people. Extra acting can also be a way to network and a stepping stone to you becoming an actor. You just need to make that first step and start looking for an agency to take you on. Start working as an extra today!

Looking to increase your acting skills? You can work with a Superprof tutor to increase your acting skills. Superprof has 100s of acting coaches all around Canada that are ready to help you learn acting. They offer lessons in person and online giving you the freedom and flexibility to learn acting when you want to learn.

For more information about finding work as an actor, check out our other articles:

Acting Auditions in Canada


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You can usually find me writing at a cafe sipping on coffee or working out at the gym. I fell in love with writing a few years ago and have never looked back. I love being able to share my words with the world.