Background Extras – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Film Production Glossary Terms

I. What are Background Extras?

Background extras, also known as extras or background actors, are individuals who appear in a film, television show, or commercial to create a realistic setting or atmosphere. They are not the main focus of the scene but rather provide context and depth to the background of a shot. Background extras can be seen walking down the street, sitting in a restaurant, or chatting in a crowd scene. They help bring a scene to life and make it feel more authentic.

II. How are Background Extras Cast?

Background extras are typically cast through a casting agency or a casting call. Casting directors will often post notices looking for background extras for specific projects. Interested individuals can then submit their information, such as headshots and resumes, to be considered for a role as a background extra. Casting directors may also reach out to individuals who fit a specific look or demographic needed for a particular scene.

III. What is the Role of Background Extras on Set?

The role of background extras on set is to enhance the overall production by creating a realistic environment for the main actors to interact in. Background extras must be able to take direction from the director or assistant director and follow instructions on how to move and behave in a scene. They must also be able to stay focused and in character, even if they are not directly interacting with the main actors.

IV. What is the Difference Between Background Extras and Featured Extras?

Background extras and featured extras are both types of extras, but there are some key differences between the two. Background extras are typically seen in the background of a scene and do not have any lines or significant interactions with the main actors. Featured extras, on the other hand, may have a small speaking role or a more prominent presence in a scene. Featured extras may be given specific actions or lines to perform, while background extras are more focused on creating a realistic background for the scene.

V. What are Some Tips for Background Extras on Set?

– Arrive on time and be prepared to stay for the entire day. Filming can be a long and tiring process, so it’s important to be patient and flexible.
– Pay attention to the director’s instructions and follow them carefully. This will help ensure that you blend seamlessly into the background of the scene.
– Stay in character and avoid drawing attention to yourself. Remember, the focus should be on the main actors, not the background extras.
– Be respectful of the cast and crew. Remember that everyone is working together to create a successful production.
– Have fun and enjoy the experience! Being a background extra can be a unique and exciting opportunity to be a part of the entertainment industry.

VI. How are Background Extras Compensated?

Background extras are typically paid a daily rate for their work on set. The rate can vary depending on the production budget, the length of the shoot, and the individual’s experience level. In addition to their daily rate, background extras may also receive meals and snacks on set. Some productions may also offer additional perks, such as access to behind-the-scenes footage or the opportunity to meet the main actors. Overall, compensation for background extras can vary, but it is important to ensure that all terms are clearly outlined in a contract before accepting a role.