If you're interested in working in the entertainment industry or just want to see what it's like on set, becoming a Background Actor is a great way to see how your favorite movies and TV shows get made. Central Casting has been the leading background casting agency since we were founded in 1925. If you want to get to set, registering with Central Casting is your first step.
The Central Casting Corporation was founded in 1925 by Will Hays, president of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America (MPPDA) to fix the employment issues and exploitation Background Actors faced in the burgeoning film industry. The creation of Central Casting gave Background Actors a clear path to finding work and gave studios and producers a trusted casting agency to find background.
Background Actors were referred to as extras until the early 1990s when Background Actors pushed for a change in terminology because they felt this term encompassed more of their responsibilities on set than just being the "extra" people who filled out a scene. Background Actor is the predominant term within the industry, but you may also hear them referred to as extras, background talent, background artist, and atmosphere.
At Central Casting, we cast hundreds of Background Actors, Stand-Ins, and doubles every day in movies, TV shows, and other productions.
Becoming a Background Actor with Central Casting is free and easy to get started. First, you'll need to register at one of our offices in Los Angeles, New York, Georgia, or Louisiana. At registration, you'll fill out forms, listen to an orientation, and take your casting photo for our casting system. Registration times and procedures vary from office to office, so be sure to visit our Register page for specific information for your location.
Earlier this year our New York office moved to 5 Penn Plaza. Due to security policies at 5 Penn Plaza, you can only visit Central Casting New York when you have an appointment. You must reserve a spot online in order to register or update. Remember, any time you arrive for an appointment you must bring a photo ID that matches the name you reserved your spot under. This is so security can verify your identity before allowing you up to our office. Reserving a spot for registration and Updates only applies to Central Casting New York. If you work in Los Angeles, Georgia, or Louisiana, you can come to a scheduled registration or Updates session without an appointment.
Everyone who registers with Central Casting must fill out an I-9 form and present the required I-9 form documentation. This is a crucial step in the registration process and you will not be allowed to register if you don't bring the original unexpired documents. Please be sure to read over the Lists of Acceptable Documents before you come to register.
Central Casting registers minors from 15 days old to 17 years old to appear in movies, TV shows, and other projects. Minors must meet the same I-9 requirements as adults in order to register and become a Background Actor with Central Casting. All minors 17 and under must be accompanied to registration by a parent or legal guardian. The Department of Homeland Security permits only the parent or legal guardian to fill out the I-9 form.
Minors do not need a work permit to register with us, but they will need a work permit on file with Central Casting to be cast in our productions. For more on minor work permits, check out our article How to Get Your Child on TV and Movies.
For those who want to register minors in our Georgia office, there is an additional step to take so we can acquire a work permit for your child. Please obtain a certification number by visiting the Georgia DOL website and fill out the short form. Once completed, you will receive an email with your child's certificate number (consists of one letter and four numbers) within one business day. Bring this number when you register your minor at Central Casting. If already registered, please email us your child's name and certificate number at firstname.lastname@example.org and put GDOL Certificate in the subject line. This process only applies to children working in our Georgia office. If your child works in Los Angeles, New York, or Louisiana you can find detailed information on obtaining a work permit in our article How to Get Your Child on TV and Movies.