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Old February 23rd, 2009, 06:50 PM   #1
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Casting Extras

Does anyone have any strategy or advice on casting a large number of extras for a high school movie? I want to work with people who are serious about the project (not necessarily real high school students though that's not out of the question) but I can only offer decent/low pay and provide them with food in return for their services. Does anyone know how much it will cost to ensure they show up on time and don't abandon the project? Has anyone had experience with the online extras casting websites such as Extras Access, Casting Networks, Cast Extras, MovieEx, Explore Talent, or Hollywood OS? Has anyone worked with an extras casting agency? How much were their services? I'd really appreciate any advice on this topic since it's a real make it or break it kind of thing for a high school movie. Thanks in advance! Ryan
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Old February 24th, 2009, 02:20 PM   #2
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First off, extras make minimum wage. They usually are not fed the same food as the rest of the cast and crew as well, because of their numbers. Working with the extras casting agencies will turn up the numbers of extras you need every day reliably.

Now, outside of LA or Manhattan, you can usually get lots of people to show up on time just for the fun of working on a movie. Unpaid extras are usually much easier to get when you have a populace that doesn't really have an option, otherwise, of seeing a film get made. And most people are conscientious left to their own devices.

One of the things I have done, in lieu of payment, is give extras character names and an IMDb page. That's one thing when you have a few classroom scenes and a funeral but something else entirely if you're filling hallways.

How many extras do you think you need and for how many days? I'm assuming you're going to limit the big numbers to one or two days max. What's your basic strategy here?
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Old February 25th, 2009, 12:15 PM   #3
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Ryan,

visit Hutson Talent Agency

My wife owns the business. She has experience with this and if you call or email her(see contact page), she will give you some advice/insight with her experiences.

She is currently working on a project now that has about 100 extras.

Just tell her that her husband, Michael, referred you to her. Let me know if she doesn't get back with you....I'll break out the cattle prod. ;)

I don't check this area of the forums often, so feel free to email me.

Hope this helps.
Michael
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Old February 25th, 2009, 07:19 PM   #4
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Thank you Michael, I really appreciate the reference! Ryan
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Old February 25th, 2009, 08:04 PM   #5
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Hi Lori,

We are shooting in LA and right now I'm leaning strongly toward hiring an extras casting agency because I need to know the extras will show up. There are 7 days that require 20+ extras and of those there are 2 days that require approximately 50 extras. If you happen to have any ballpark figures for how much it would cost to hire an extras casting agency that would help me determine if this idea is even a possibility. That being said I still haven't heard from anyone regarding their experience with online extras casting websites so if you happen to have any info I'd love to get your opinion? If you have any additional thoughts or recommendations I would really appreciate them.

Thanks, Ryan
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Old February 26th, 2009, 12:23 PM   #6
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Ryan,

I only have experience with Central Casting in Burbank. They have, of course, been around forever. They'll run you around $90 per 8 day per extra. But just call them - they'll give you the fees over the phone. I do not recall what it is for a twelve hour day. Everyone is going to be pretty much in the same ball park.

I've never used any of the online background services, but I would expect them to be as professional as most other companies in this industry.

Do you have an IMDb page? Because you can definitely use it to save yourself money if you do.
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Old February 26th, 2009, 04:37 PM   #7
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Ryan,

Sylvia said that you have been in touch and she gave you some contacts. She forwarded your info to her ppl as well.

Let us know if we can help you out. We will do our best.

Regards,
Michael
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Old March 1st, 2009, 01:48 AM   #8
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Thank you both for all the advice! I have been in touch with some of Sylvia's clients, one of which offered to help recruit some extras. I think the perfect situation would be finding an extras casting agency willing to work on the project for a reduced price based on the material. I imagine this could be difficult, maybe not impossible, but it could provide us with the quality and reassurance we're looking for. I think I'm going to contact some agencies and see if they'll look at the script. I've looked at most of the LA extra casting agencies' websites and if either of you can recommend someone I should contact I'm all ears. In the meantime I'll plan on posting notices on extras casting websites and contacting colleges. Michael & Lori, this has been one of the most productive posts I've ever had, thanks to you! Ryan
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Old March 1st, 2009, 08:14 PM   #9
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Ryan,

You are welcome. I recommend you contacting Robin(Sylvia gave you her info) I would guess she would be the one to talk to about the agencies....if not she could point you to someone who does....Tell her that is the least she can do for her cousin since she missed the family reunion. ;)

Wish you the very best with your project. I will pass onto Sylvia your kind words. Just "pay it forward" when you get the chance.

Michael
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