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21 Secrets Film Extras Will Never Tell You

What happens on the dining bus, stays on the dining bus.

1. We have no idea what we’re doing next week, or even tomorrow.

FOX / Via

Jobs are confirmed at 5pm the night before a shoot. So we could just as easily be shooting Star Wars as having a duvet day.

2. Everyone thinks our job is exciting, but when our alarms go off at 4am we want to cry.

3. Sometimes we have to double-check our maps, to make sure we've arrived on location and not at a local trailer park.

4. But once we find the dining bus, we know we'll be OK.

5. When an assistant director tells us to go straight to hair and make up at 5.45am, we hear, "Go and get yourself a coffee and some breakfast".

Via Columbia Pictures /

6. We don’t mind being called extras or supporting artists or background…

7. ...but if we get chatting to a lead actor, we’ll casually imply that we’re not extras, and that we've had three castings to get this job.

CW / Via

8. We store iPhones in our tights underneath our period drama costumes.

Via Emerald Jones / BuzzFeed

And lip balm, and sometimes a cereal bar.

9. The beer in the bottle we've been sipping for hours on set? It's fake.

10. We know what's happening in the new Bond movie waaaaay before you. / Via

Not that we can talk about it, obviously.

11. We roll our eyes at the extras who talk nonstop about the time they worked really closely with Johnny Depp at Pinewood, or wherever.


But we constantly find ourselves doing the same thing.

12. We occasionally mistake actual celebrities for runners on work experience.

Productions are so cloaked in secrecy that we have no time to work out who everyone is and what everyone is doing.

13. And sometimes the leading actors get really nervous in front of us.


Especially if they have to do a dance scene in front of 200 extras who are having a jolly-old time.

14. If we end up playing Dakota Johnson's bottom or Cameron Diaz's hair, we won't be able to tell you about it.

Via Focus Features /

Doubling for an A-list actor can be part of our job, but we're contractually forbidden from talking about it afterward.

15. We get paid extra if the production team gives us a haircut.

Although we have no control over what it will look like.

16. We occasionally accept jobs just to meet potential dates.

Via Studio Canal /

You can bond really quickly while you're both dressed up as burlesque dancers for 12 hours.

17. And if we get given depressing clothes, we'll cry in our costume fittings.

Via Twin Peaks /

And sometimes we get changed into something floral and more pleasing as a result.

18. We love it when an argument breaks out over payments when we’re getting our timesheet signed.

Disney / Via

There's always one extra who knows the union rule book better than anyone else on set, and he won't go away without a fight.

19. Sometimes we’re really surprised by the roles we’re given. / Via

We get cast for things we never thought we'd suit, but it's all part of the job.

20. But when it comes down to it, we actually learn loads on set.


Like what it means to be a foreground wipe and exactly how many hours we can go without food before fainting. And it also makes us think about the next stages of our careers.

21. And although we threaten to quit from time to time, we're never really going to give up that feeling you get when you wrap at the end of a 12-hour shoot.

Plus, period drama makes time travel seem possible. And we like that.

Note: This post was written under a pseudonym.

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