Each day we receive so many messages, e-mails and calls from people wondering what life on set as an extra is like and what it involves. We decided to catch up with one of our newest members Dillon to ask him what a day in the life of an extra involves.
I recently joined MovieExtras with the hopes of starting my career in the film industry. I had no experience or knowledge of this industry to date, but boy have I had the time of my life these last few months.
Back at the start of Summer (2019), I was fed up with my job and looking for a new creative outlet that I could work on in my spare time. I had performed in some plays when I was younger but had never considered it a viable career path for me. While scrolling through Facebook bored one day, I came across this post from MovieExtras calling for signups for their monthly photoshoot and I was shocked to see their credit listings. Movies like ‘Brooklyn’ and ‘P.S. I Love You’ as well as series like ‘The Tudors’ and ‘Love Hate’, and I was like “SIGN ME UP!”. Which I did.
So, a few weeks in and no sign of any jobs after signing up. I was starting to lose faith when I received a text from one of the Casting Team asking was I available the following week for a day on the set of a popular Irish TV show (Confidentiality is king with MovieExtras.ie 😉). I clicked through the link in the text and immediately replied “YES!”. I felt I had to do it quickly otherwise I’d miss my shot and as it turned out I’d have to swap shifts and call in many favours to get off work to be there but I got there in the end.
Here I am arriving for my first day on set and my heart is pounding, I can’t figure out whether I’m nervous or excited or both, but I was here now. After getting lost a few times trying to find my way to the extras cabin beside the set I finally found my way. I opened the door for the first time and was met with a group of rag tag people and at first glance I was like, “What am I doing here?”. But to my surprise they all welcomed me with open arms; later some of them would even become close friends of mine off set but that’s another story all together.
The next step was signing in, cause otherwise I’d be a volunteer extra for the day which I hadn’t planned on. Once signed in we were all shown down to the main set we would be on for the day. All the production crew were already set up for the scenes being shot and they all did their best to say “Hello” and “How are you today?”. It was very surreal at first and then the actors from the TV walked in and it got even better.
Everyone had to be quiet while recording was happening which wasn’t hard for me as I was too engrossed in watching the actors and crew at work. Then out of nowhere the extras coordinator came up to me and said, “You’re in the next scene”. I was placed in the background of a pub scene across from another extra who was a lot more experienced than me, which turned out to be a great help as they thought me a few tricks like how to mime correctly and how to ignore the camera so I wouldn’t be tempted to look and ruin the shot.
The day was long but all worth it for this amazing experience. It is only a few weeks later when you’re sitting at home and you flick on the TV to see yourself up there in front of hundreds of thousands of people across the country and you realise this could be the best job of your life.
I’m nearly six months into my MovieExtras.ie journey, have been a part of multiple productions since that first day and to be honest I don’t regret a moment of my time with this amazing company.