The knack: How to be an extra, by Tony Murphy
Saturday 27 March 1999
Don't become an extra if what you really want is to be a main character. Once you get classed as an extra, you're an extra for ever, basically. There have been quite a few extras who've got small speaking parts, but once you've said a few lines you won't be used for about five or six months, because you've been seen and might be recognised. You don't have to have any acting skills at all. It's simple: chat to the other extras in the dressing room, then when you're called on to the set just carry on those conversations. That way it looks natural when you talk.
You can approach main characters, but if they don't want to talk, leave them alone. Don't go pestering for autographs, and don't take your camera: they won't like you taking photographs that you could leak to the press. It's great seeing yourself on TV and knowing what's going to happen before anyone else, but don't be tempted to give away storylines - if someone found out you'd be struck off."
Tony Murphy is a drag queen and entertainer and has been a professional extra for 10 years in shows such as `Mr Wroe's Virgins', `Coronation Street', `Brookside' and `Band of Gold'
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