I find NY doesn’t seem to have a shortage of extra work and it can be wonderful when you are starting out. The best advice I can give you is to sign up with Central Casting. You can get extra work in Massachusetts, but it comes and goes. As long as you are signed up with Boston Casting, and others like them, you will be notified when things come up. In NY though, there is a much greater need.
To sign up with Central Casting, go under Background Actors, then New York for more information. You need to show up at their office in person to apply, they don’t accept anything by mail, email, etc. Not only will they interview you and your child, but they will take photographs in the office and have you fill out paperwork on your child’s behalf to register. Make sure you come with all paperwork required by checking their website first about what is needed for your appointment. If you are even missing one item, you will be turned away. Which means another trip back to NY on another day if you are not local. You need your NY work permit for this like we talked about yesterday.
If you are a match after you have been added to their database, you will be contacted by phone. Most notice comes the day before. It’s rare you receive more notice than that, but it does happen. At one time, the boys were put on a hold a few weeks ahead of time. If you are available for the project when you get the call, you still won’t have all the information then. The process usually involves calling back after 9pm that night (I know) and calling 2 different numbers to get the call information and the wardrobe information. There are also times where the information isn’t ready at 9pm due to the day’s filming ending late … so you will have to call again (and again) even later until the information is available.
Be packed and ready to go, knowing that you might not get that information you need until 11pm but still have a 6am call time – and you will need to factor in travel time to that as well. Know that it can mean having to leave your house just a few hours after you get the information.
Be early. Early is always good. You don’t want to be the one they are waiting on, and I have seen it happen countless times.
Have all of your paperwork that will be required ready to go. I recommend having it all in a binder. When we started out, I kept everything in an accordion folder until someone showed me an even easier way. A binder filled with clear pockets for everything is so much easier to find what you need immediately. Have originals and copies ready. They will need to see your originals and collect your copies when you check in.
Sit where they tell you after check in (often parts of the room will be designated for crew, etc) and have the required wardrobe packed neatly. We typically cart everything in a small suitcase and an extra bag. Have it ready for when wardrobe asks to see you. They will want to see each piece you have brought. Have more than you need. If you have a pet, make sure you bring lint rollers. All clothing should be clean and as wrinkle free as you can get it. While sometimes there are steamers on set, they don’t always have them available for those doing extra work.
This is getting so much longer than I meant for it to be. I think I could write a book – or two. Tomorrow we will talk more about what you need to know and do as an extra. Really, it doubles for any set you ever work on!