Casting calls for hired goons?
May 15, 2009 9:13 AM   Subscribe

Casting calls for hired goons? Counter-intuitively, I may have a 'look' for movies/TV. Do I? If so, what do I do with it?

So a random discussion with a friend who's minorly in the film industry (done stuff for film festival movies, a few commercials for local TV) a few states away led him to mention offhand "(they) never find people with your look. You'd get lots of work if you were an actor." I didn't think I had a 'look' so I ask you guys:

1) Is big guy a 'look' people want? (6'4, 280lbs, former football lineman, still carded buying beer)

2) If so, then what? would I contact some agent person locally (DC area) to let them know I exist?

Google returns nothing I can make sense of. I'm not trying to start a career in hollywood or pay for pro headshots so a lot of the advice I saw online seemed not to apply.

So what's the next move?
posted by anti social order to Media & Arts (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Do you actually live in L.A. (or New York)?
posted by scody at 9:17 AM on May 15, 2009

Go to Manhattan and talk to an agent. He will tell you what you need to know.

If he gets you some extra (n.) work, you can build a reel and an IMDB. Expect to make many trips up to Manhattan.
posted by Zambrano at 9:19 AM on May 15, 2009

You'll need to be wherever the filming is taking place. Extras generally aren't hired very far from the shooting, because that means getting all those extra bodies to the shoot. So if you're thinking of maximizing your look as a basic movie extra, your best bet would be to live near LA or New York, or other movie-making hubs.

But if you're looking to be a type-cast micro-bit player, you might have more flexibility, but that requires you 1) know of upcoming movies needing hired goons, and 2) have some way of getting seen and known by those in charge of hiring said goons. Both points would probably be best handled by agents, unless your friend wants to act as your industry in-point.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:26 AM on May 15, 2009

(oh, sorry! I see that you said DC-area! This is what I get for reading Metafilter without coffee.)

Yep, contact an agent in NY.
posted by scody at 9:27 AM on May 15, 2009

There are agencies that specialize in non-traditional looking people. Dragon Talent in L.A. closed last year, but Ugly NY Talent is still going.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:27 AM on May 15, 2009

I'm pretty sure you're going to need headshots, even for extra work. I don't know of any agent in New York or anywhere else who will just agree to talk to you, sight unseen. Look on Craig's List, and you might be able to find a student or amateur photographer who is trying to build a portfolio and will charge you little or nothing.

Once you've got headshots, you should check out Actors Access. It's a good resource for extra work. I got an audition for a Julie Taymor movie through them.
posted by Evangeline at 9:41 AM on May 15, 2009

Best answer: There really is no need for casual players in the film industry, even in the budget/independent/B-movie film industry. Occasionally, you will find open casting calls for major upcoming events, but the days of needing 500 nameless extras are rapidly coming to an end, and as was said upthread, they always hire locally. If you want to play, you will want to invest in professional head shots with an experienced photographer who is knowledgeable about casting.

You will also need a "resume" of your various physical skills, experience, talents, etc. Very often, that nameless goon you see on TV or in a movie has a black belt in Jujitsu, 5 years of dance training, or can fight with a broadsword. It's not just the look, but what you can do. You have an infinitely better chance of finding work if you have specialized skills or experiences, such as a martial arts background, dance, gymnastics, equestrian, etc. Together your picture and resume (typically front and back) are your "pic & res".

I can't imagine any agent or manager (another option) meeting you without these unless you have serious name recognition already or are in exactly the right place, at the right time, when they need someone right then.
posted by mrmojoflying at 10:18 AM on May 15, 2009

There really is no need for casual players in the film industry, even in the budget/independent/B-movie film industry. Occasionally, you will find open casting calls for major upcoming events, but the days of needing 500 nameless extras are rapidly coming to an end


I'm not going to play the "i'm in the industry" card, but I do watch movies, and there are indeed still people in the background.

"pic & res".

Umm.... Ok. It's called a headshot. It's a big picture, usually with a resume on the back.
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:32 AM on May 15, 2009

I know an guy with a great craggy face in Boston who became an extra in his 60s. He now has prominent non-speaking roles in every film made in Boston. He hooked up with a casting agent in Boston. I would recommend trying to find a DC casting agent who handles finding local extras for all those political thrillers. These guys apparently do open calls.
(Just don't expect to make a living.)
posted by CunningLinguist at 10:46 AM on May 15, 2009

Back when Prison Break was filming at a prison outside Chicago I know they needed locals with a certain look to be prisoners. Usually casting calls are sent out for extras for that sort of thing. At the very least check in on websites that list casting calls. Sometimes these are done on Crag's List as well. I've been an extra in a few films shot in Chicago just for fun and they always want a photo of some sort and your height, weight etc.

See if there's a casting agency in your area you can register with so they have your photo and details on hand in case the need arises. Obviously you would get more work in LA, NYC, Vancouver etc. if you're serious about this.
posted by Bunglegirl at 12:43 PM on May 15, 2009

« Older What do I need to know about getting into OS X...   |   Layover Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.