Thousands of Brits are boosting their finances by moonlighting as extras or models. You can earn hundreds of pounds by appearing in a TV show, film or advert – if only for a few seconds.
Since I was scouted on Oxford Street in 2011, I have been paid to kiss an Irish footballer, get ‘engaged’ to a hunk in Battersea Park and enjoy a midnight feast – all while holding down a day job.
Bluey Byrne, an extra based in London, says you’ve got to work flexible hours, as jobs are often offered at a day’s notice. Filming usually takes place on weekdays so it’s best suited to part-time workers and the self-employed. Having a car also helps.
Bluey says: “It’s rare to get more than one day’s booking at a time. During the warmer months, work can come back to back like a full time job. In the dead of winter – nothing for weeks.”
Acting experience is not essential but you must be adaptable. Hours can be long, starting at 6am and continuing well into the night. Bluey says: “The job is really just waiting more than anything, and waiting is tedious!”
You also don’t have to be conventionally attractive or skinny. Many background artists need to look ordinary so they don’t steal the limelight! A natural look – undyed hair, no visible tattoos – is essential for historical dramas. Uni-versal Extras and Mad Dog are two agencies you may want to check out.
If you have a distinctive feature, like my red hair, you may find more prominent roles in adverts. Agencies like Ugly and Broadcasting find such work for weird and wonderful individuals. Having a skill is a bonus – I was photographed busking for a drinks campaign last year.
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