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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
How to be an extra / speaking role / or crew member in The Hobbit film
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Jan 26 2009, 12:35am

Post #26 of 28 (1813 views)
Answers to Question 2 [In reply to] Can't Post

1) Is filming still slated to begin in early 2010? Or have things shifted earlier or later? I suppose this is something that will become clearer as time goes on, but I'm still curious. I couldn't find any hard information in the articles I read.

I'm not sure, myself on the current schedule as I have not kept up with the details in the last few months, but I'm sure someone on this forum will be able to answer this. I believe early 2010 is still a reasonable time frame.

2) What do you think the chances are of getting a spot as a non-speaking extra? I'd be living in Wellington, have a working visa, be set up with a talent agency as you suggested, and be available at any time. Plus my stature and appearance would probably fit either Men or Elves. :) But I've heard that lots of people are doing the same thing I am, and I'm sure many locals are thinking the same way. Is it likely going to be a situation where those who aggressively pursue positions are the only ones who will get them? Or do they need so many people on these sort of films that someone focused but not obsessed on getting a position would stand a chance?

I think your chances are excellent. Not only has Guillermo expressed an enthusiasm towards the idea of possibly giving fans a chance to be extras, but it sounds like you will meet all the requirements a talent agency could want from you. You have to be available to work pretty much any time and be reliable. I have had call times as early as 3 AM with days that have last 14 hours. I have also had call times from 7 PM that went through the night and did not wrap until 4 AM. You can turn down a day or two or work if you can't make it fit your schedule, but turn down too many and the agency will stop asking you.

If you have a method of transport of your own that would be even better, but it is likely a film of this size will have a pick up point for extras to gather where a bus will collect you. Keep in mind that filming all over the country will unlikely see you being driven all over the place. Say a scene is being filmed down near Queenstown. Well they will draw from locals in that area to be extras, just as they will draw on talent based in whatever location they are filming. So if you are primarily interested in the studio filming then I'd say Wellington is your best bet for the majority of work, but often location shooting requires a lot of extras too.

I'm not sure what the demand will be like for a lot of extras outside of the big battle of five armies etc... but there are plenty of scenes that call for a number of extras especially Esgaroth and the Mirkwood Elves. Aggressively pursuing work as an extra is an excellent policy. Being passive will result in your relying more on the luck of the agency chancing upon your contact card, or file and deciding to give you a call. This is too passive for this type of work, at least if you don't want to miss out on a particular film project. Call every day to ask if any more work has come in. Often they deal with so much talent that the less active people in their lists get overlooked. The more you talk to them and let them know you exist, the more they will not only have your name near the front of their minds but they will be prepared to give you a shot. And if you prove reliable they will reuse you again and again.

Obsessing over getting a part as an extra is not a good idea. If they get the idea you're some sort of freak, they might not be keen on using you. When it comes to extras, usually the judgment of the agency is trusted by the film's casting director so keeping on good terms with your agency is important. Keep the agency on their toes, and make sure they don't forget about you.

Also, remember that talent agency SUCK. They can really jerk you around with getting paid, and often you may have to call them daily to demand to get paid. Nobody wants to have to get short with the agency that gives them work, for fear of them effectively blacklisting you (although I don't mean they will do this literally). But you are entitled to the money you earned and make sure you keep as informed as possible with your fellow cast mates about whether they are getting paid and when you might reasonably expect to be paid too. The agencies like to sit on the money and accumulate interest for as long as they can before giving you the money that you earned. They truly are coniving and duplicitous. Still, if you love Lord of the Rings/Hobbit and want to do this then it's probably worth it regardless. You can always jump to another talent agency if one doesn't work well for you. This is a large film and like LOTR they will have to draw from multiple agencies to get all the extras they need.

Good luck! And sorry for rambling a bit. I have that tendency.

"Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it.
Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many.
Most importantly, do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in the Times Online." - Buddha muses over coverage of the Tolkien lawsuit

Registered User

Feb 1 2009, 10:13pm

Post #27 of 28 (1634 views)
Thanks again! [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks Merklynn! I greatly appreciate it. I did come across this today, however...

Working on The Hobbit: Harsh realities for non-Kiwis

Is this accurate? According to this article, being from out of the country would virtually null a person's chances of getting a spot.

(This post was edited by Maravathar on Feb 1 2009, 10:14pm)


Feb 1 2009, 10:33pm

Post #28 of 28 (1839 views)
Not impossible, just not for the faint hearted [In reply to] Can't Post

I think her article is a good reality check, but she does describe it as being impossible which it surely isn't. As has been said before, you'd need to be in the country with a work visa, most likely Wellington, as you can't hope to get to half of the locations that the local papers may advertise in. But in any case, local papers are not the way I am recommending. Do research into the largest NZ talent agencies. Then pick the biggest couple and read up on how you can get in their books. I assume you'd be in NZ with a work visa and then, as I did (remember I'm a New Zealander so I lived there already) go along for an interview with them. Tell them you are interested in extra and featured extra work. Some may require you to do some sort of 10 night class on basics of modeling and acting and want you to pay for it first, as well as pay for photos and your contact card. The only thing you really should have to do is pay for your contact card, I believe they usually put it together from photos taken of you professionally.

So provided you are legally allowed to work in NZ, and get with the biggest talent agencies in NZ, basing yourself in Wellington, I'd say your chances as an extra are very high. Again, you need to be available to work unusual times and with short notice, so you need a flexible part time job to sustain you.. You will not make enough as an extra to pay your bills alone.

It is certainly extremely tough, but so long as you are aware of the realities and prepared to face them, you could become a small part in a movie history.

"Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it.
Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many.
Most importantly, do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in the Times Online." - Buddha muses over coverage of the Tolkien lawsuit

(This post was edited by merklynn on Feb 1 2009, 10:34pm)

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