From the practical to the imperative, here is a list of things to optimise your experience as a supporting artist, whether you’re on set, being put forward for work or simply considering becoming an extra. Days on set can be long and working in the UK, the weather is often less than warm so it is best to prepare yourself for every eventuality.
Thermals – the UK isn’t renowned for its spectacular weather and low temperatures can occur on winter or summer! Often, shoots can be in large warehouse-like sets which have their own cool microclimate of cold, regardless of the weather outside. Of course, in the UK there is a great culture of location based shooting, which adds to authentic film making but can make for quite extreme working conditions so what can you do to try and keep warm? Thermals! Often used for winter sports, these layers can make a real difference to your body temperature and as a result, your on-set experience. So long as it is easy to conceal under costumes, they can be a real life saver! Hand warmers/gloves are also a great help.
Good Book – We recommend books over audio so that you’re able to listen out for any instructions from crew and they don’t run out of battery! Days can be long and there can be a lot of waiting around so it is key to have something to keep yourself entertained. A lot of freelancers and students take work along with them to do whilst they wait so it is even a good opportunity to get productive!
Portable Charger – Being able to access your shoot details i.e. call time, location, parking etc. is really important and at the end of a long day you need to be able to get home and if things run for longer than expected, you may need adjust your plans so having battery on your phone is really important. It may also be that you are waiting on details for other shoots or being sent enquiries and if you can have your phone on you, you can keep in touch with your agency.
Up to date selfie – A variety of pictures on your profile is really beneficial, especially up to date ones. Often productions will ask for a selection if they are looking for a particular look and as much as professional head shots look great, candid (no snap chat filters please!) recent selfies are actually the most useful as it gives an accurate representation of the person who is going to be turning up on set, if booked.
DBS – though a DBS is not an essential, it is a great addition to your artist profile and easy to obtain. You can still get work without one but if a production requests it and you don’t have one, it is unlikely you would be able to get one in time to participate in a shoot that requires them as turnaround times on casting are so quick and turnarounds on DBS checks…aren’t.
Snacks! – Though food and refreshments are usually readily available on set (and pretty good food at that!) we always recommend taking snacks with you to a shoot day. Whether you are hungry after a long day and have some travelling to do to get home or a little peckish in the green room, keeping yourself refreshed and keeping your energy levels up are key to making your day run smoothly.