How I Got Paid to Learn From Will Arnet and Alec Baldwin

Many thanks to Aaron Marcus, premier acting and commercial modeling career coach for providing today’s blog entry! He is the author of How To Become a Successful Commercial Model and creator of the Becoming a Successful Actor & Commercial Model Workshop.

I know quite a few actors who refuse to do extra work. If you live in L.A., it can be more difficult to get principal acting jobs – most L.A. agents and managers do not take actors who do extra work seriously.  However, in most other parts of the U.S., there are many actors who work as extras and are booked for principal roles in other projects.

If I am available, I will work as an extra for a number of reasons. For one, on a small set you get a chance to watch some incredible actors perform. On 30 Rock, I was seated behind Will Arnett and watched, heard, and made mental notes of how he read his lines, over and over again, and noticed the subtle adjustments he made. Typically, you want to give the director very similar reads for each take. Major changes to your performance should not be done unless they are specifically requested by the director. Alec Baldwin was also incredible.  Both Mr. Baldwin and Mr. Arnett kept messing up their lines during rehearsals, but once the filming began, they were incredible and did not miss a word.

Another benefit to doing extra work is the potential of getting upgraded. This means the extra was given lines to say.

I find that work brings in more work, whether for extra or principal jobs, or by getting a chance to network and talk with other actors. Observing other non-acting professionals on sets is also a great experience. So if you get the opportunity to do extra work, forget about the money! Just try to enjoy yourself and learn as much as you possibly can during the shoot.

Why You Didn’t Get the Part

Many thanks to Aaron Marcus, premier acting and commercial modeling career coach for providing today’s blog entry! He is the author of How To Become a Successful Commercial Model and creator of the Becoming a Successful Actor & Commercial Model Workshop.

Some actors/models blame their agent when work is slow. I want to share an experience I just had with an agent (about a potential job) that will be helpful to you.

I received a phone call from an agent wanting to know if I could work as an extra on a TV spot. Because it was a Union job, and shooting all night, I could earn about $300. I wanted the job. I called the agent the next day to see if I got the booking, and she told me the client decided to cast someone else.

There are so many factors that go into getting cast, and tons of reasons why you might not get chosen. For instance: you might be too beautiful, and would not look like you would be married to the husband who has already been cast. Maybe you look like the director’s ex-wife, and he doesn’t want to be reminded of a bad experience. Perhaps you do not look like you belong in the family with the mom and dad who have already been cast – you could be too tall or short, and not match up well with other family members. It is possible your look is so strong that you would stand out too much, and people would not focus on the product.

The point is, you can only ask your agent to submit you for projects. Sometimes, there are many other people who have to decide who is going to get cast. The fact of the matter is, your agent has nothing to do with the final decision.