How to Work in Movies
From Extras to Stars, Starting Out is the Same
So you want to be in a movie, do you? Maybe you've spent your high school years acting in plays, or maybe you're just a huge film buff that wants to try their hand at doing rather than watching. Regardless of where you're starting though, you're probably going to have to work from the bottom rung up. Excluding any amazing discoveries that are the stuff of Hollywood legend (just look at Jason Statham's story), you make a living as an actor by working, and working and continuing to work.
Now, your first step as with any creative field is to draw up a resume. If you have any relevant experience to the acting field, whether it was high school plays or local drama productions, write it down. Even if you've just done voice work, make a note of it. Additionally, write down your day job. If you work as a security guard, and the film needs someone to stand around in the background and look official you might get more attention based on that sort of job experience. Also, make sure that you include a good headshot or two.
Once you have everything put together and you're ready to go a job hunting, you need to check with your State Film Commission. When a movie, TV series or whatever is filming, it clears everything with the commission, and it usually posts information for casting calls, actor needs and even cast requirements. You can find a complete list of the state film commissions here.
Of course your friendly state film commission is a good place to start looking for work, but it is far from the only one. If you have a day open and you're willing to travel, you can find gigs on Craigslist.org asking for actors, extras, stand ins and all sorts of things you need to really make a movie work. You should also find any local television studios, or if you're lucky enough production companies, and ask where you can find information on their casting calls and needs. Just remember to be professional, and you'll find that gets you most of the information that you need in order to find out where you have to go to see if you can snag yourself a job in the next, big thing.
Tips and Tricks
What to Watch Out For When Pursuing the Silver Screen
To most people acting is another world. They don't know how you become a movie star, and lots of people just assume it's something that happens by sheer luck. And sometimes it does, but there is a whole industry that's grown up around movies that's going to try and milk your dreams of all the cash you're willing to part with.
So, here's some things to keep you free from scams. First of all, agencies that provide extras to film companies don't require that the extras pay to be listed. The company making the movie will pay the company for every extra provided, but most people don't know this so they'll shell out hundreds of dollars to get work that they could have gotten for free.
Not every job pays. Many extras, especially those that are just hanging out in a crowd of people, will be working for the hopes of seeing themselves on the big screen. However if you're just starting out and you need to build your portfolio then it's best to take any legitimate job you can get. Additionally, it can help you make connections and find out more information about people and the industry. If you like it, then as you get savvier you can start being a little choosier about your jobs.