744 The Extra


Matt talks about working in Hollywood as an extra in movies and TV shows.

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Todd: OK, Matt, we're talking about acting and you were an extra. Can you talk a little about what an extra is and your experience?

Matt: Sure. Extra work is basically background in any scene for whatever reason.

Obviously, movies and television, they need to be authentic looking so they obviously, in restaurants or in places of public business, they need extras to walk behind the main actors or be set behind the main actors to set the scene, so there is tons of work in Los Angeles and New York for those types of jobs and obviously they are paid a lot less but people do survive doing that and use it as a way to springboard their career and meet people and network and make contacts while they are on the set because extra work is mainly about waiting and you are on the set for long periods of time, from twelve to sixteen hours doing virtually nothing but waiting for the set to be ready for you to go out do your twenty second saying and then go off the set and wait until they reposition the cameras, so it's a very... it's quite boring and so you need to have something else to do while you are waiting and a lot of people in Los Angeles use that to meet people.

Todd: Well, so how did you get started? How did you get onto a movie set?

Matt: I was in San Diego living at the time and I had just quit my job in real estate and was taking acting classes in San Diego, and actually the guy who taught my classes also was a pseudo-agent or knew people who did a lot of film work in San Diego and so I was able to get work in San Diego for a couple of months and then from there found out about the extra work and was intrigued and obviously, naturally I was looking towards Los Angeles just because that is where you need to go to get work if want to do that for a career.

Todd: OK. Thanks Matt.


Learn Vocabulary from the Lesson

authentic looking

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Obviously, movies and television, they need to be authentic looking.

When something is 'authentic looking,' it means that it looks as if it were real. Notice the following:

  1. The costumes that they wore were very authentic looking.
  2. The replica antiques were very authentic looking.

springboard their career

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People do survive doing that and use it as a way to springboard their career.

When people 'springboard their career' it means that they use a thing or a person to help them to advance in their job. Notice the following:

  1. I will do an extra evening course in the hope that it will help to springboard my career.
  2. I have made good friends with my boss, as I am hoping that it will springboard my career by knowing the right people.

network

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To meet people and network and make contacts while they are on the set.

When you 'network,' it means that you spend time socializing with people who could be useful to you in your job.

Notice the following:

  1. I find that networking can be a great advantage when you are trying to set up your own business.
  2. I think they hold regular networking events.

virtually nothing

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You are on the set for long periods of time, from twelve to sixteen hours doing virtually nothing.

'Virtually nothing' means that something is almost at zero.

Notice the following:

  1. Look at her. She is very thin. she must weigh virtually nothing.
  2. I have done virtually nothing today, and the house is a complete mess.

pseudo-agent

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The guy who taught my classes also was a pseudo-agent or knew people who did a lot of film work in San Diego.

A 'pseudo-agent' is someone who has a lot of contacts in the entertainment industry.

Notice the following:

  1. It is not his full time job; he is a pseudo-agent.
  2. He always uses his contacts, so I guess that makes him a pseudo-agent.
Answer the following questions about the interview.

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744 The Extra
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Keren shares what she eats or takes when she is felling sick.

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Vocabulary Challenge

Complete the sentences with the words below.
authentic • springboard • networking
virtually • pseudo-agent
  1. He works all the time and gets paid nothing.
  2. The best way to find a job that you want is by .
  3. The souvenirs in the tourist shops are never very looking.
  4. She's a good family friend, but she's acting as my to help me land an acting job.
  5. She hates her current job, but she is hoping to her career by working there.