Being a Movie Extra

After my recent post on my movie scene with Reese Witherspoon I received a couple of questions about being a movie extra and I have received similar questions in the past when I wrote about being an extra. I thought I had written a post about the process of being a movie extra here before, but it turns out the post I was remembering was a short post on Bank Bonuses that I wrote way back in 2006. That post didn’t have a lot of information and I know a little bit more about being an extra now so I’m writing this post to answer people’s questions on this subject.

How to Get a Job as an Extra

The most common question about being an extra is how to get a job as an extra. For my first two extra jobs were when I lived in Austin where they usually have a couple of movies or so shoot there each year. For both jobs there was an article in the local paper about a casting call for the movies. They want you to show up to the casting call with a head shot. You don’t need to get a professional headshot, you can just take one yourself. The casting employees aren’t too worried about the quality of the photo, they just want to have a clear idea of what you look like. After filling out a short application I then waited several months before I was contacted to work on the movie. My most recent job I responded to a post on the extra companies Facebook page stating that they needed extras for the next week. I found this company by doing a Swagbucks search for “extra casting” in Atlanta. Note that when you do an internet search for extra casting a lot of the results will be scams. The scams are mostly obvious, but remember you should never have to pay to work with an extra casting company. Also, I was lucky to get the last job since I didn’t live in the Atlanta area. Most extra companies only want to deal with locals since they might need you to work on the spur of the moment or the job might be canceled at the last minute.

How Long Does an Extra Job Last?

The length of the extra job will vary. My first extra job lasted a couple of weeks with weekends and a couple of random days off. My second extra job was only for one day and my last one was for seven days over a week and a half period. When you’re hired for a job they should tell you about how many days it will be, but you will need to be flexible.

Typical Day of Being an Extra

Being an extra is a pretty easy albeit somewhat boring job. Most of the day is spent in an extra holding area. This is an area away from the set where you wait until a PA comes to take you to the set for the scene. I spent most of my time in the holding area talking to other extras and reading books on my Kindle. The typical day lasts from ten to sixteen hours. These are long days, but since you are mostly just sitting around they aren’t that bad. When you are called to the set you will be given further instructions on what to do. A couple of general rules are to not bring your cell phone to the set and to not bother the actors or crew. Since the days are so long you will be given a meal at some point and they usually have snacks and drinks available throughout the day as well. The quality of the food and beverage varies by the job. The food is usually okay but not great. On one occasion when there were just a few extras working we got to eat with the cast and crew and their food was much better.

How Much Does Being an Extra Pay?

Being an extra does not pay much. My pay on the jobs I’ve done was always just a little bit above minimum wage. On the plus side, you do get overtime when you work over eight hours and you almost always work over eight hours. The overtime and the long days make the paycheck a little better despite the low wage, but being an extra isn’t a lucrative job. I think it is worth it since the work is easy and if you are lucky you might get to see yourself on the big screen with a movie star.

March Income – $3152.88

Here is a breakdown of my income for March.

Online Income




Stock Dividends


Cash Back


Sell Stuff


Mystery Shopping




My income from March was actually quite good despite the Google penalties that happened in March.  That is because the effects of those won’t be reflected in my earnings until this month.  It will probably be a long time before I see a $3000 online income in a month again.  I probably won’t even make $1000 online this month.

I’ve discussed ramping up other areas of income if my online income went down and now we’ll see if I’m actually able to do it. I need to increase income from my alternative income and passive income sources.  It shouldn’t be too difficult to increase my income from selling stuff and mystery shopping.  I’m also looking at a few different independent contractor positions.  If I land one of them it will be a big step towards keeping my income at its current level.

Online Income,Goals and Giveaways

It has been way too long since I’ve written a new post. Despite that I am having another great month of income. Don at Money Reasons and Barb at Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance were both kind enough to link to my latest online income report.

The online income is nice but if I doing more work on my blogs the income is not going to last. I have not been good about getting things done this month. Part of that is because I’ve been spending more time on our real world business. The main reason though is that I just haven’t been making working on my websites a priority. My goals for this month were to run/hike 100 miles and write 100 posts and I didn’t even come close to achieving those. I didn’t even try. Rather than set a monthly goal for November I’m going to get in the habit of doing my work first and making daily goals of what I need to be done.

A goal I’ve had for a long time is to write a book but I keep putting it off. Next month is NaNoWriMo. I have wanted to participate the last couple of years but I put it off. This year needs to be the year that I get it done. I am in a great position to do this because I don’t have to work a full-time job and make enough money to pay my bills in just a few hours a week. I may not always be this lucky so I should take advantage of this opportunity while I have it. Is anybody else participating in National Novel Writing Month? It would be great if we could have a group of bloggers doing it to support each other and keep each other accountable.

I’ve been meaning to post about some giveaways that my fellow Yakezie members are having but I haven’t had a links post for a while so I’m adding them to this post. These giveaways have some nice prizes and your odds of winning are pretty good. My wife and I were lucky enough to win a Kindle wi-fi earlier this month in a local giveaway but I’m still desiring a Kindle Fire.

The Penny Hoarder is hosting a Hallo(Wii)n Giveaway until October 30th.
The Frugal Toad is hosting a $50 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway until October 30th.
Retire by 40 and Buck Inspire are having a big giveaway of a Kindle Fire and lots more until November 7th.

Alternative Income – Focus Groups

It has been a while since I  wrote about a new way to make alternative income.  I made $30 for about an hour of my time yesterday by participating in a focus group.  I just had to give my opinion on new varieties of oatmeal to help the makers determine which product to develop.  There are lots of different types of focus groups.  Last year I participated in one that gauged our reaction to different advertisements by attorneys.  Focus groups are pretty easy money but there aren’t a lot of them available to participate in.  I’m signed up for a local company that has focus groups but you can’t participate in more than one every three months.  The focus group I did last year I found on Craiglist.  The site is supposed to help you find focus groups but I haven’t used it so I can’t vouch for it.  You  could also try the company I just did a focus group with but they only have locations in Dallas, Chicago, and Springfield, MO.  If you know of any other legitimate focus group companies please share them in a comment.

Paid Clinical Studies How To Guide

One of the reasons I haven’t written much this past week is because I was participating in a paid clinical study. This is the first paid medical trial I have done this year although I do participate in a couple of medical studies last year. Whenever I write about doing these paid studies people want to know how they can do paid medical studies as well. It is pretty simple and I’ll break down the process to make it easy for others to find and participate in paid research studies themselves.

The process of doing this medical study started last Wednesday. First, I called a clinical research facility I had done a study with before to find out if they were offering any current studies. To find a clinical research facility in your area look at websites such as pig get paid) or (just another lab rat)which have lists of facilities. If you live near a major metropolitan area there is probably a clinic research facility near you. These facilities use advertise in the local media as well.

Once you find a clinical research study you call them and see what studies are available that you qualify for. The studies qualifications are usually based on age, gender, BMI, or some combination of these. My over 30 BMI disqualifies me from many studies and the fact that I don’t have a gall bladder disqualifies me from many studies too. There are usually still some studies I can qualify for though.

Once you have qualified for a study the recruiter will set up a screening appointment for you. These appointment usually last for 2-3 hours. During the appointment you usually will have blood drawn, give a urine sample, have your vital signs taken, and ECG taken, complete a medical history, have your height and weight recorded, and receive a physical from a doctor. Depending on the study you may have some more medical procedures. If everything is ok the facility will contact you and let you know when to report for the study.

The time frame between screening for a study and starting a study varies but it is usually a week or two. In my case I called last Wednesday, had my screening on Thursday and started on Friday. The process is normally more spread out then that but the facility was having trouble finding enough volunteers for this somewhat large medical trial and I just happened to have the good timing to take advantage of their shortage.

If you don’t qualify for the study then you have wasted some time because you don’t get paid for screening only for participating in the actual study. Depending on what disqualified you it is possible to set up a screening for another study.

Before you report for the study the facility will give you instructions on what you need to do before starting. This is usually stuff like avoiding caffeine, strenuous exercise, and prescription and non-prescription medicine for a certain period of time before entering the study. They should also give you information on the house rules and what you need to bring.

Once you arrive at the study you should get a schedule of what you are going to do. In my most recent study I arrived on a Friday afternoon and there were no procedures that day just a couple of meals. On Saturday I had to get up at 3am to start the medical testing. They took vital signs and a baseline blood draw. A couple of hours later I was dosed with the study drug and had blood drawn every two hours for the next 30 hours. I wasn’t wild about this since it made it difficult to sleep but it wasn’t too bad. Every study is different but generally there will be lots of blood draws.

This study allowed everyone to leave the facility 36 hours after dosing with the drug although I did have to be back for a follow up visit 12 hours after leaving the facility. The duration of your visit will vary but usually the longer you are required to stay the more money you will make.

Upon completing the study you will receive a check to compensate you for participating in the medical study. Depending on the facility the check will either be given to you at the facility or mailed to you at a later date.

The facility I just was at does clinical trials of generic versions of already approved prescription medicines which seems pretty safe to me. I usually don’t feel any effects at all from taking the medication and there has only been one study where I experienced unpleasant side effects.

Doing a paid medical study is pretty easy. Basically all you have to do is call to set up a screening appointment and then show up. I consider it fairly easy money although others would disagree with me. If you are interested in doing a paid medical study all you need to get started is find a facility near you and give them a call. This post is getting long so I’m going to wrap it up. If you want to do a medical study his is enough information to get you started, all you need to do is actually take action.

If you have any questions about participating in a medical trail leave me a comment and I’ll answer as best I can.