Our How to Become a Background Actor series takes an in-depth look at everything you need to know to become a Background Actor with Central Casting. Keep an eye on our Articles page for more in this series!
Do you want to be a part of the next Hollywood blockbuster? Do you love TV and just want to see how your favorite shows get made? People become Background Actors for a variety of reasons, but most start out the same, by registering with Central Casting.
A Background Actor (also called extra, background talent, and atmosphere) is someone who performs in a show in a nonspeaking role, usually in the background. Background Actors make movies and TV shows feel more authentic. They're diners in a restaurant, nurses in a hospital, students at a high school, and everything in between.
Background Actors are given direction by Assistant Directors, sometimes even crossing the camera and interacting with principal actors in a scene.
That's easy! The first step to becoming a Background Actor is to register at one of our offices in Los Angeles, New York, Georgia, or Louisiana. During registration you'll fill out forms, listen to an orientation, and take your casting photo for our casting system. For more information on where and when to register, check out our Register page and choose your nearest location.
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. You'd hate to be turned away because you weren't prepared.
Here are some resources to read through on required I-9 documentation:
Central Casting registers minors 15 days old to 17 years old to appear in movies and TV shows. Minors must meet the same I-9 requirements as adults in order to register and become a Background Actor with Central Casting. Our Minors I-9 required documentation packet has more information about minors' identification requirements.
While minors do not need a work permit to register with Central Casting, they will need a work permit in order to be booked for jobs.
You can view your location's work permits below, but be sure to read through the Kids page before coming in for Registration:
Once you've filled out your paperwork, you'll take casting photos for our casting system. The registration team will take two photos, a headshot and a full body shot. Keep in mind that Casting Directors, Assistant Directors, and other members of production will see these photos during the casting process, so dress how you'd like to represent yourself.
Your main file photo is what you look like on a general day-to-day basis. If you want to add additional photos of yourself in different looks, you can come in to our office during Updates to submit or take additional photos. Check your location's calendar for Update times in your office.