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How to become a movie star... actually an extra

Updated on May 15, 2013

Me? A Movie Star?

Maybe we've all wanted to be a movie star. But I never thought I'd get a chance. But in the fall of 2007 I got the chance of a lifetime. I was living in Denver where a casting call was spread far and wide for extras. I applied!

This was a great experience for me. I love movies and just getting to see a movie being filmed up close and personal was a real treat!

Okay, so I wasn't a real movie star but I did get to spend the day on a movie set as an extra. Here's what happened.

Photo of Imagine That DVD courtesy of Amazon. Imagine That

And the movie is...

Imagine That! with Eddie Murphy and Thomas Hayden Church

This movie was originally scheduled to be released in the fall of 2008. According to the Internet Movie Data Base (IMDB), the new release date was June 2009.

Check out the Web site here: Imagine That

I noticed that they forgot to give me credit, but that's okay. I didn't do it for the fame. It was all about the money. More on that later.

Imagine That - with Eddie Murphy, Thomas Hayden Church, and ME!

I got to see Eddie Murphy from a distance. The scenes they shot the day I was an extra included Eddie Murphy "driving" a car and we were pedestrians on the sidewalk.

We watched him get in and out of the SUV that was being pulled by a truck. A camera was mounted to the hood of the SUV to film Eddie Murphy through the windshield. I loved seeing how they did things. Fascinating!

I waited in line, similar to this one.
I waited in line, similar to this one.

How did I get to be a movie extra anyway?

I read about the casting call for extras in The Denver Post and went to the hotel during the open casting call. And waited in line a long time. Three plus hours. But that's how it goes. Fame does not come easily.

After waiting in the long line with hundreds (maybe thousands of others, some with head shots and professional portfolios in hand), a couple hundred of us were escorted into a huge ballroom of the hotel and given the lowdown. We filled out paperwork and after about 45 minutes were escorted out so the next batch of extra wannabes could take our places.

I was called to show up for work a few weeks later. I was going to be a movie star! The details were included in the packet I received in the mail: Where to go. When to show up. What to wear. It was thrilling!

I showed up on the scheduled day at 6:45 a.m. with the clothes on my back and the requested two to three changes of clothes. We were told to dress for Fall weather. The extra clothes would ensure (hopefully) that at least one outfit would fit the bill. As it ended up, the clothes I was wearing were fine (black slacks, green turtleneck, black jacket, black shoes).

I was in a group of extras that included construction workers, cars (yes, some people were asked to park their cars on the street during filming and the cars were considered to be extras also!), and the special group of which I was a member: 50 street pedestrians. I tell you, I think I was selected because of the sheer number of extras needed, but that was okay with me!

A fellow extra was scheduled to work at the next day's shoot as well. Two days in a row! She was hired for the following day because the casting call had requested people bring their well-behaved dogs to the open casting call. She took her standard poodle and was hired for a day of shooting at a park as a dog walker.

The money? We were paid the standard industry rate for a 12-hour day. Something under $100 as I recall. It was okay though. The thrill of just being there amidst the excitement was payment enough. I can say that now; I've already cashed my check.

This photo shows a Lockheed employment line in Los Angeles, California from 1917. The people are holding their places in the waiting line by making out the preliminary applications standing up. Photo is in the public domain.

Photo Credit: Rondal Partridge

Books on Acting, Being a Movie Extra

Have you ever been a movie star? - Leave a message in the comments section with any movie buzz you want to share!

Have you been an actor or extra in a movie?

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When You're a Movie Extra - You Stand All Day. At Least I Did.

At the end of the 12-hour day, I was tired. A lot of it was the excitement of being there, seeing a movie being filmed. And a lot of it was the shoes I was wearing. I wore some dress shoes that are comfortable enough for an evening, when I'm sitting, but they were not comfortable to stand in all day.

We also had to walk from the gathering point several blocks to shoot one scene then several more blocks to shoot another scene. Then we walked back to the gathering place for lunch. After lunch we walked back to the second shooting scene. And in between we did a whole lot of standing around. There really wasn't anywhere to sit. So, I'd recommend you wear comfortable shoes if you are going to be an extra.

ECCO Women's Corse Slip-On Wedge,Black,38 EU/7-7.5 M US
ECCO Women's Corse Slip-On Wedge,Black,38 EU/7-7.5 M US

I own a pair of ECCO shoes and they are the most comfortable shoes I've ever worn.

Wearing these shoes would have been wonderful the day I was a movie star!


More Eddie Murphy Movies

Affiliate Disclosure

This author, Peggy Hazelwood, participates in Amazon, eBay, All Posters, and other affiliate advertising programs. When you click an advertising link on this page and make a purchase, I receive a small percent of the sale. Thank you for reading this far!

The Movie Business

Have you ever been an extra in a movie? What was the movie? - Share your experiences here!

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    • sageinacage lm profile image

      sageinacage lm 5 years ago

      I've never been an extra but some of my friends have and really enjoyed the experience. Maybe I just might give it a go!

    • profile image

      mellowatt 5 years ago

      I'm getting ready to fullfill that dream this summer by participating as an intern for the new comedy golf movie called "Comics Open" with Burt Reynolds, Paul Rodriguez, and Judge Reinhold (just to name a few) It will be directed by Paul Madden. I found it on Kickstarter. Can't wait. There are still openings!!

    • profile image

      Ruthi 6 years ago

      How exciting for you! Imagine That, indeed!

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 6 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      @Pam Irie: I cannot sing anything, Pam! I can't find myself in the movie but it was really so much fun!!

    • Pam Irie profile image

      Pam Irie 6 years ago from Land of Aloha

      Can you sing, "Let Me Entertain You" for us? I loved reading this lens. I had no idea my online friend was famous for anything besides good writing and having cute grandkids. haha j/k ;)

    • Wedding Mom profile image

      Wedding Mom 7 years ago

      I have never been, and I am not sure I would really want too.

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 7 years ago

      Ok, I have GOT to get this movie. It might be the closest I ever get to 'personally' seeing you! What a great story. Very well done.

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 7 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      Thanks for looking at my movie star lens. Haha! The place where I was in the movie moves so fast (Eddie Murphy is driving by in a car and it's gone in a flash). I really need to watch it frame by frame!

    • ZenandChic profile image

      Patricia 7 years ago

      That is cool you were an extra!

    • LaraineRoses profile image

      Laraine Sims 8 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      What a great experience and you tell it so well! I've never had that claim to fame! I love your squidoo name .. scarlett ohairy "Gone with the wind" .. it reminded me of my Maureen O'Hara lens .. Lovely stuff, these actors! 5*s and fav.

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 8 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      @Virginia Allain: You know, I really need to go buy the DVD. I saw the movie at the theater but the street scenes that I was in went by SO fast that I didn't see myself. I will have to pause it and look very carefully. It was toward the end when Eddie Murphy is driving a car. The whole experience was a blast so I am happy to have had my cameo, nonetheless!

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 8 years ago from Central Florida

      What fun. Did your moment in the movie stay in or did it get cut? Tell us where to look for it in the movie. What happens right before your scene? Did you see any of the stars while you were there?


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