The First Step To Hollywood: Be An Extra!

Twenty years ago, aspiring actors and actresses had to move to L.A. or New York to get their careers off the ground. Now, future thespians can be part of the action without packing a suitcase. Production companies are choosing more cities for their projects-- which increases the chances of a major film or TV show being shot in your town.

I have been an extra on a few TV shows filmed in Chicago. Some experiences are better than others-- but the key is to have fun! Whether they feature you in the final cut or edit out the scene together, you will be paid and get another item to add on your acting resume. 

If you are ready for your chance at fame, here are a few tips:

- Subscribe to nationwide casting call alerts. 

Project Casting is a great way to find opportunities in multiple cities. If you have a full-time job or live more than 3 hours away, you can still search for weekend opportunities.

- Keep A Few "Amateur Headshots" On You
When you submit registration for the casting pool, you will be asked to send a few recent pics of yourself. They don't have to be done in a studio but don't submit bathroom selfies either.
Get someone to take a picture of you in your living room or near a light background. Wear a casual outfit and make sure your physical appearance is on point.

- Be Willing To "Hurry Up & Wait"
When you show up on time, you will be 2 to 3 hours early for the scene. During that time, you will check in for the scene. You will be given paper work to fill out at either the beginning or the end of your day. (It varies depending upon the company.) Use your time wisely and make new friends if you can.

- Don't Overact; Follow Instructions
Being over-the-top will most likely get you cut from the scene. Directors want natural performers-- not extras who want to be the star. Don't do anything you wouldn't normally do in your daily routine.

- Invest Your Income..If Possible
Save some of your wages to invest towards professional head shots. Then, start looking for a talent agency!

Good luck!

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