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Old July 15th, 2005, 06:32 AM   #1
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TV / Film Extras - showreel DVD

I have a friend who is setting up a Model Agency and as part of their package are offering their own 10 week course. As some of the people in the agency are for TV extras, I have been asked if I could make show reels for those on the course interested in becoming TV/Film extras. This is not an agency for Actors, as the company directors' experiences are with modelling, so they will receive no in depth or special training on acting skills. So the DVDs will be just for those 'models' wishing to apply as TV/Film extras work.

My questions are for anyone out there in the Industry or anyone with ideas.

What kind of video would be the best for these Extras? Basic background with them giving a verbal presentation for 3 minutes…such as pretending to be newsreaders or reporters?

Is it best to keep it simple and with the main person getting the most visual/audio attention?

Or is it better to just film the person alone doing a monologue in a non distracting location, so all the attention is on the person?

Please give me any of your ideas…I’d love to hear any advice, ideas, experiences, etc.

Last edited by Christopher Hughes; July 15th, 2005 at 07:45 AM.
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Old July 15th, 2005, 02:22 PM   #2
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Aren't "extras" by definition non-speaking roles? Main characters would be just what it says, other speaking roles are supporting cast, and extras are the guys milling around in the background.
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Old July 15th, 2005, 04:27 PM   #3
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I have to admit it seems very odd to make a short film on extras.

From my performing days, all you need (visually) as an extra is:

*Head shot
*Full body shot
*Full side on body shot
*Casual/Past work shot

What I'd do if I was asked to do it would be like the intorductions you get to people on Gladiators. Show the head shot with name, vital statistics and experience coming up in text.

If I'm going to be painfully honest tho, NO casting coordinator will be bothered to look through hundreds of 3 minute videos for extras. The whole idea of extras is to blend naturally into the background.

So if you're friend is still hooked on the video idea, I'd make them no longer than 30 seconds each, and even that may be too long compared to looking at 4 photos and a written profile in a brochure.
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Old July 19th, 2005, 04:38 AM   #4
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Thanks for everyone's advice so far. I'm still a little bemused by their request or idea and I too think it is a bit over the top for just Film/TV extras. I always thought they used Actors and Support Actors, that is why I had no idea what the 'Industry' would be looking for in terms of Film extras.

If they were actors then the Casting crew would be interested in doing their own screen tests if they seemed to fit the bill for what they are looking for. But these are not actors under an actor specific agency, this is just a model agency. If they were really interested in acting then they would go to a Actor's agency or have their own agents.

Owen's comments seem probably more along the lines of what I personally would have done, and even then I think its too much for just applying as an extra, but his idea of flashing Gladiator style stats is a great idea. A small 30 secs could be put onto one of those business card discs so that it would compliment their Photos and stats on paper. Then its a moving 3D shot of them and perhaps a little dialogue of their voice. Then its like a mini 'show' of what they will look like.

I will recommend this idea to the Agency and see what they say. But if they still insist on a mini video, then I will just have to try and come up with something that meets their desires.

Again thanks for you help!!!
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Old July 19th, 2005, 08:27 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Owen Hughes
I have to admit it seems very odd to make a short film on extras.

From my performing days, all you need (visually) as an extra is:

*Head shot
*Full body shot
*Full side on body shot
*Casual/Past work shot
Hello :-)

Basically, all you need to be an extra is a Head, a Body, and to show up. Casting directors won't spend much time to cast extras as a rule, the producers would handle that as it is more clerical than anything.

If I need extras, I place an ad, a few calls and I let people know the type of clothing is appropriate, etc. then I use as many as I need out of the group that show up. If I need anything more than that, I am not casting extras.

IMHO this is more for the agency than to benefit the extras, which it won't. If you sent me a reel on extras, I wouldn't work with your firm unless I was asking for freebies. Why... If an agency was that inexperienced, I couldn't trust them to provide professionals for important positions... or even unimportant ones.

Not trying to be a hard ass, this is just how it is.

So for you, just give your client what they want, that is your only job. I would not give them any advise on this matter, or you may be looked at as condoning/recommending this as a good practice.

Please don't take any of that the wrong way, I am trying to be helpful :-)
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Old July 19th, 2005, 11:23 AM   #6
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You might save a lot of time by doing groups of extras in typical movie and TV situations. Thake an office for example. You could do a whole scene with non-speaking extras just doing office type stuff.

"Man typing", "guy at elevator", "woman at water cooler", "mailperson 1", "boss with coffee cup".

Put them all in one office set, move the camera about so we can see thier "good side" and let the prospective clients choose people out of the scene itself.

Just a thought.

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