Making Money As a Movie Extra in Pittsburgh, PA
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Making Money As a Movie Extra in Pittsburgh, PA

This is an article discussing how you can make money as a movie extra in Pittsburgh, PA. In addition, this article explains a day in the life of a movie extra. It talks about how much and how frequently you can make money as an extra. It also highlights the benefits beyond the paycheck.

With Pittsburgh becoming a popular city to film big movies in the past several years, there are also a few opportunities every year for local residents to become movie extras.  The good news is the extras typically get paid to be in a big screen movie.  When the filming announcement is released in the newspaper, it will say if the extras are paid or not.  The bad news is the pay is low, typically minimum wage, plus time and a half after working more than eight hours in a day.  So, do not expect to get rich or make a decent living by being a movie extra.

All is not doom and gloom.  In fact, it can be a wonderful experience.  In addition to possibly having your face seen by the world, you get paid to have fun.  The time goes by quickly on set.  It is a good supplement of income if you have another job or if you are on the job hunt.  You definitely cannot quit your job on this income, especially with how infrequently there are movies being filmed in Pittsburgh.  On average, there are one to three big movies being filmed per year.  If Los Angeles had Pittsburgh’s relatively low cost of living, and continued to have huge volume of films churned out every year that it already does, then it would be possible to survive without being homeless by working as an extra alone. 

Be prepared to work around 12 hours a day, which is why you are almost guaranteed to get time and half.  The extras do get fed three meals a day.  From experience, the meals were very good.  It was not cheap food being served.  There are options for any kind of appetite during every meal from somebody who wants to pig out to somebody who is very health conscious. 

You may also get to meet some of the actors and actresses.  Typically, an extra cannot strike a conversation with a star, but if the star engages in conversation, then the extras are allowed to talk.  While working on the set of Love and Other Drugs, Jake Gyllenhaal spoke to several of the extras, including myself. 

In addition to making money, it is a great networking opportunity if you want to be in the entertainment business.  There is a misconception generally bound to only a few of the extras during each movie, that they will become discovered on the set.  That is rarely the occasion, and is not to be expected.  It is best to be professional to everybody, because if you do strive to be an actor or actress, you do not want to burn a bridge with anybody, since you never know when you might see that person again down the line.  It is also a great look into the business and a glimpse at how movies are made, hopefully helping to decide if you want to work long hours everyday as an actor or actress while getting very little sleep. 

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Comments (2)

Fun article.  I think doing something like this would be great experience.

Sandy, it's a lot of fun!  It's a great experience.  Love and Other Drugs was interesting!  I dressed up 90's style.  I also did a couple weekends on the set of "Warrior" too.