How can being extra actor help your acting career?

When I first started my acting career in Thailand I took on extra actor work twice. The first time on Luc Besson’s “The Lady” – You can actually see me walking behind the main male character as he steps off his plane in ‘Burma’. The second time was for a TVC.

I learned two valuable lessons from doing those two extra actor parts:

1. I saw and experienced how it felt to be on set. Who is doing what and the do’s and don’ts on set.

2. I realized that this was something that I don’t want to do again.

As extra actor you are the lowest part of the chain. You are being moved around and ‘used’ as they wish. This was a feeling that I didn’t want to experience again. The hierarchy on set is very clear. Being a ‘featured’, ‘support’ or ‘main’ character has many more benefits and comes with a much better treatment on set.

People on set are also very quick to form opinions about you. Once an extra actor, it is very hard to get rid of that. I know an actor in his 50s who used to be a professional extra actor. He gets some bigger parts now, but in the community he is still know as the ‘extra’.

What did I do to become more than just an extra actor?

1. I went to castings.

A lot of them. Several castings per week. For a year. I didn’t get a single part. I still went. For the experience. I started to become more and more free. In the end I didn’t care anymore whether I would get the job or not. I started to take the castings as a chance to improvise and have fun with it. That’s when I got my first ‘featured’ part. Five days of shooting. It was an amazing experience.

I have had many many parts ever since. But I have never taken on any extra parts.

2. I got training.

In this year I joined a theatre group. I took acting classes. I joined acting workshops. I invested in myself – and I still do. Every time I made some money, I invested it back into myself. The more you invest in yourself, the more it will pay-off in the end.

I encourage you, to do a few extra jobs. Get some experience on set. Get a hang of it. Learn the ropes, the do’s and dont’s, but don’t get stuck in the ‘extra-hole’.

Go to castings and get training. Invest in yourself. There are so many things you can do as an actor. Acquire new skills to stand out from the crowd.

If you start your journey, you may be surprised where it will take you!

Good luck and enjoy your journey!

Until next time!

Robin Schroeter from MasterClass Studio

Videography: Pandit Teerachetthongplung
Editing: Pandit Teerachetthongplung


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