I’ve done work on The Eye with Jessica Alba, filmed between Albuquerque and Los Lunas; Odd Thomas with Willem Dafoe, filmed in Santa Fe; the TV show “The Night Shift,” filmed at Albuquerque Studios way south down University; and the NBC show “Dig,” set in a gay goth nightclub in Tel Aviv but really filmed in downtown Albuquerque.
Anyone can get work as an extra in New Mexico; you just have to avoid scams and know where to sign up for work. Is there prep work involved? Barely. They’ll tell you what colors or patterns to avoid wearing or what to specifically bring—I’m always asked to bring two or three extra outfits. Also, have an ID and a pen (though if you want to make friends, don’t bring a pen and ask to borrow someone’s). Bring a book and get comfy. Once you get called in, chances are you’ll be doing a lot of sitting around.
Compensation varies, but you will be paid. Unless it’s specified as a nonpaying gig, you can expect to make between $72 and $150 per day, sometimes more. Also, three of the gigs I got were personally recommended to me by people in the industry. Once you start meeting people, it’ll be easier to get jobs because they know you’re down to work.
Step 1: Find a decent, clear picture of your face. You honestly don’t need a professional head shot to work as an extra—just about any unobscured photo of yourself will do. It doesn’t matter how tall, short, thin, fat, bald or hairy you are; they will be happy to have you!
Anyone can get work as an extra in New Mexico; you just have to avoid scams and know where to sign up for work.
Step 2: Go to any of these following active casting websites to sign up for work. Usually, you’re either filling out a simple form or sending someone an email. Once you sign up, casting assistants will have you on file, and you could get a random call three years from now, long after you’ve forgotten you even signed up, asking if you’d like to work on a film. You just never know!
- Whiteturtlecasting.com—they handled “Breaking Bad” and “Better Call Saul,” and are currently still taking extras for the TV show “The Night Shift,” which is filming for the next few months.
- Robert Baxter’s Facebook page—he’s an extras casting director.
You can also find legit postings for extras work on Craigslist.com in the Talent section (under the Gigs tab), but if you’re going to go on Craigslist, see step 3.
Step 3: Avoid scams
On Craigslist there are daily postings of fake ads with the phone number 877-827-6801. They might say there’s a specific job looking for people, or they might tell you to contact them to be on some list for getting work. The two websites associated with this business are Casting360.com and Talent6.com. These are scam websites, and the phone number is too. They want you to sign up for $1.99 a week and then auto-renew for $39 a month. How are they still in business? Well, they’re run out of the landlocked country of Moldova, between Romania and Ukraine.
There’s no reason you should ever pay to get extras work. It’s really easy: You just sign up on a legit site. Remember: A real casting company will never ask you for money.