What would you suggest be my first plan of action to get myself acting here locally as an extra, to begin with, whether it's for free or not.
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I would say the best thing you can do locally is keep your eyes fixed on the newspapers and local bulletin boards for auditions. Check out the bulletin boards at local theaters. Ask friends and family to let you know if they hear of any auditions. Also get hold of your states film commission. pretty every state has one. They often post about film opportunities on their web sites.
Ron, not sure what state you live in, but you should visit the film commission web site for your state and see if they have any projects shooting there. You want to get in touch with the extras casting director.You could also do a search for local casting directors and visit their web site. If they are casting the extras, then they typically will have information about how to sign up for extra work.
Ron, there are agencies that book people for extra work. Sometimes they are looking for people of a certain look or age, sometimes just a maximum of bodies. And, most of them pay. But, again, as Aaron said, I'm not sure where you live? Many independent filmmakers also need extras on sets, so it is a great way to learn. You can also subscribe to the breakdowns on Actor's Access. In addition, if you are serious about acting, you should get enrolled in a class somewhere. Break Legs! And, Stay Fresh! ;)
Extra work can be the easiest way to stick your toes in the water to temp check. But no matter where you come from there are probably acting classes, improv groups, open mics, community theatres and independent filmmakers as well as student filmmakers going to the local film school. And of course you can make your own projects even if only on your iPhone. Tons of different ways to give this acting thing a try. I started in a small town in Indiana and was able to build a resume before bouncing to the bigger acting hubs. Go at your own rate, of course, but just know you have tons of options to give yourself experience as a performer.
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