Film and Television Extras


Film and Television Extras


Film and television extras, also known as background performers, have the nonspeaking roles in films and TV shows. They work in the background of film scenes, following the orders of directors and crew members. They may work in crowd scenes, or may simply be one of a few people among the principal performers.

Quick Facts


Median Salary



Employment Prospects



Minimum Education Level

High School Diploma



Experience acting in school or local theater productions



Performance, Music, and Acting


Personality Traits



It is rare that someone is able to make a living solely from work as an extra. According to SAG-AFTRA, a majority of its 160,000 members make less than $7,500 a year. SAG-AFTRA sets daily wage minimums for its members. Background actors in television productions earned average daily minimums of $130 to $185 in 2020, according to SAG-AFTRA. Special ability background actors earned higher pay. Da...

Work Environment

The work schedule of a film or TV extra is unpredictable, but many people enjoy the opportunity to see themselves on screen. Though the work is not terribly glamorous, extras do have the chance to see famous actors and filmmakers practice their craft. Extras can work indoors on a set or outdoors at a remote location. They work under heavy lights and may be required to do the same things over an...


The U.S. Department of Labor predicts little or no employment change for actors through 2028. It's extremely difficult to build a full-time career as an actor. It is estimated that hundreds of thousands of people act every year. Because of the fierce competition, jobs in the film industry are hard to come by. Extras who live in Los Angeles or New York City and have an extras agent are likely mo...