Fill a background, non-speaking role in a movie or TV show.

What does an Extra do?

An Actor makes a mad dash into the hospital delivery room for the final scene in the chick flick. He makes a spirited plea for his gal to take him back, and she tearfully agrees. All around the tender couple, Nurses react with gestures to each and every line spoken, though they speak no lines themselves.

If you were one of those people, you’d be a Nurse in the movie, but off screen, you’d go by the job title “Extra.” An Extra is an Actor with no speaking role in a television show or movie.

As an Extra, you may work for one specific television show or movie, appearing either as the same character or as different characters. You may work just one day for one project. You arrive at work, dress in your costume, take your place on the set, and behave as outlined in the script.

Sometimes, you perform the same action over and over, such as refilling a cup of coffee. Other times, you walk from one part of the stage to another. You may say, “Apples, peaches, pears” to make it look like you’re having a conversation with another person. Whatever you do, you may have to do it over and over again until the scene is perfected and the Director is happy.

While you may yearn to show off your acting chops, your job is to blend in. Extras who steal the show are soon Extras who don’t have a job. So you keep your gestures small, your expressions neutral, and your voice inaudible. In other words, you think of yourself as part of the scenery.