The good thing about being a TV / Film Extra, now known as an Background Artist, is that age, colour, creed, size, teeth, no teeth and more don’t matter.
Almost every Production needs those people sitting at a Bar, walking down a Street or standing in a crowd, so the chances of ‘just anyone’ getting work is quite good.
Obviously where you live may be a key factor but even then you have location shots and that said location could be somewhere near you.
Just slipping into a scene
The best way forward is to supply your details to an Agency along with photographs.
Should work come along they will then tell you when, where and if any form of clothing such as modern, casual or whatever is needed.
If it’s a Period Drama or any other form needing special clothes, they will inform you they are supplying clothes.
Most Companies will supply Food and Drinks throughout the day (but make sure the Actors get their’s first or you’ll be in bad books !!).
I’ve done this a couple of times, just sitting in a Pub setting watching a Darts Match taking place and another set in a Hospital. Both these involved me looking natural.
Being somewhat skinny and gaunt, my second one was sitting in a Hospital Bed looking ill !!
As far as pay goes, this varies a lot but you can bench mark a minimum of around £70 per day.
For me the £70 per day was just that. If shooting required extra time into the evening, you still got the same amount.
Other advantages are you may get to meet a few well known Actors, the TV Series ‘Extras’ did ring quite a lot of truth!
Again I would emphasise it doesn’t matter what or who you are, someone out there needs every kind of character from eccentric to just plain ‘ordinary’.
Have a search round, it’s quite good fun, it could be one days work or in the case of a Movie, a few weeks !