Working as a Film Extra

extra1For the past five years I’ve been moonlighting as a film extra in Paris. The first time I responded to an ad I saw somewhere, perhaps the American Church, specifically looking for American extras for a vernissage scene of the film L’Un Reste, L’Autre Part (the logic being that Americans buy art, they wanted our voices in the background). We stood around for two days in a gallery on the Quai Malaquai drinking Canada Dry (they don’t give extras real Champagne, of course) for a five second scene. After that, the same casting director calls whenever he needs someone who fits my “profile” which they keep on file. Being a freelancer, I tend to be available when most other people have to be at work. extra2The pay is low (usually €100 for a full day), the job mostly requires standing around waiting to be called on set, and the food at the table for “figuration” (extras) usually consists of cookies, Pringles, soda and coffee. But you meet some really interesting people and get to see the behind-the-scenes of the film industry. And it gives me an excuse to go watch French films.

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5 Responses to “Working as a Film Extra”

  1. Comment by Katherine | 03/30/10 at 6:15 pm

    Sounds like lots of fun! Where do I go about finding ads for extras? Thanks.

  2. Comment by erng | 04/19/10 at 6:20 pm

    I’m interested also. i live in Paris but i dont know how to start working as a flim Extra

  3. Comment by sara | 05/21/10 at 4:29 am

    Hi !

    I have been working as an extra & stand-in here in California. I am moving to Paris in August & would love to get into the biz out there. Who should I contact?? Please help! : )

    Thank you!!

    Sara

  4. Comment by Heather Stimmler-Hall | 05/21/10 at 3:25 pm

    To respond to your questions, the best place to find listings for extras is at http://www.casting.fr/
    Do keep in mind that you MUST be able to legally work in France, have at least one avis d’imposition to show that you pay taxes, and be registered at your local Caisse se Sécutiyé Sociale.

  5. Comment by Anthony PERRIN | 01/25/12 at 2:11 pm

    I have done some work in France as a film extra, but this kind of work does tend to be rather “hit-and-miss”: it is difficult to find non-paying sites on the Internet (though they do exist).
    If you have any suggestions for finding useful introductions, I should be most grateful to hear from you…

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