How much do extras get paid per day?

Sep 22, 2010
by: joes

     I have always wondered how much extras get paid a day to be on the set of a movie or commercial.  So, after some research I found from multiple web sites that the average extra makes about $100 a day.  But it also depends upon if youare silent, one of many, single, or have dialouge.  I then found out from a friend that goes to my school that they recieved $700 for two days of work.  I am intrested in this subject, because I've always wanted to be an extra, and it is even cooler knowing they make a desent amount.  My next question to follow up on is, "How do you become an extra?"


Dear Joes, I realize that I

Submitted by T D'Urberville on Thu, 2012-05-31 20:07.

Dear Joes,

I realize that I am replying to a two year old post but just in case you are still contemplating becoming an extra I would advise you to stay in school because your spelling is terrible. 

The average non-union extras does not make $100 per day. Union extras do but you cannot just join the union and it is expensive. Extras are always silent uless a director specifically asks for background grumbling, cheering,crying,etc. Day players,bit players,etc. are hired to provide a specific look, talent ,action and are paid accordingly. Stand-ins and Photo Doubles are paid higher rates but the job descriptions are very specific and the opportunities are few. IThe only extras that make hundreds of dollars are those willing to work nude or have a specific talent needed for a project ( a fire-eater, contortionist, a great celebrity look-alike). Your friend may be teasing you.

Extras (union and non-union) must have a working wardrobe depending on what "type" you are.

Upscale, Downscale, Business, Casual, Teenager, Parent, Uniform (police, soldier,guard,etc), Athlete, Formal, etc. You will need to wear one ensemble and bring two other full choices until you are union) You will need a garment bag and a small case for makeup,accessories,hot rollers,etc). If you are not an "average" size ( it fluctuates according to the standard set by each show and film)

Extras do their own hair and makeup ( except in the case of a specific look or era when it will be done for you) , at least one meal and snacks are provided, the  hours are long and often boring ( you cannot bring a walkman, laptop, ipod or camera, gameboys,etc. and cell phones have to be on silent. Bring a book. People watch all you want but DO NOT ask for autographs. Big no no !)

Commercial wyork is rare, does pay more but is very specific. A commercial agent is better able to advise you. I have only been in one commercial and I did not enjoy it.

It can be a fun job, especially if you are young and enthusiastic, flexible, and have relaible transportation (This is a MUST !) and can read a map and a Thomas Guide which you will also need to purchase or borrow.

The top casting agencies for casting are Central Casting (Cenex is the extra section). If you are under eighteen they also have a children's section. There is also Sandi Aleesi Casting. A legitimate agency only charges a registration fee of $25-$35 dollars, takes a digital headshot, puts you in their database and gives you their phone number to call the worklines. Do NOT pay for extra photos, lessons, etc. That would be a scam.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Give it a try but don't have unrealistic expectations. If you are using extra work as a stepping stone to fame, do not. I can count the famous actors who started as extras on one hand - John Wayne, Renee Zelwegger, David Duchovny, and Tony Danza.

Best Wishes.