10 Things They Never Tell You About Being A Hollywood Movie Extra

9. 95% Of Your Time Is Spent Doing Absolutely Nothing

Extras Ricky Gervais

When you try to imagine what it must be like on a film set, the picture you conjour is of a busy place with people rushing about to get their various jobs done as quickly as they possibly can. While this may be the case for members of the crew working with a budget in mind and a schedule to adhere to, for the extras, it is very much a case of hurry up and wait.

The supporting artists spend the vast majority of their day packed into a waiting area, which if you’re lucky will be complete with seats. This wasn’t the case for extras picked to appear in the Spider-Man 2 train scene, whose job it was to crowd onto a platform and react to passing trains as if they were speeding down the track with Spidey fighting Doctor Octopus inside.

While it sounds like one of the more exciting scenes to be involved in, in truth the train wasn’t speeding, nor was there a fight going on inside. The train (rigged with cameras inside and out) crawled past once every hour or so, and when it did the extras would have to react to the imaginary fight in slow motion. After a few seconds of gasping and pointing, they would be asked to wait around until the next train was due.

Of course, this is assuming you even get picked for the scene at all. Being an extra means getting used to that feeling you get when you’re picked last in gym. If you’ve shown up without a variety of outfit options and have a face that is anything more than unremarkable, your chances aren’t particularly good.


Phil still hasn't got round to writing a profile yet, as he has an unhealthy amount of box sets on the go.