Wanna be a Spider-Man Extra? Some Tips

The burning question in Levittown and over Long Island is "when?" The answer: 'Nobody knows.'

The Amazing Spider-Man theatrical poster from the latest in the film series. Portions of the sequel will be shot on Long Island at Grumman Studios. Credit: Wikipedia
The Amazing Spider-Man theatrical poster from the latest in the film series. Portions of the sequel will be shot on Long Island at Grumman Studios. Credit: Wikipedia
Story by Joe Dowd.

Lately, it's as if everybody wants to be in the movies.

Patch has been flooded with emails and comments asking for details about when the new "Spider-Man" movie will need extras to play bit roles in the film, which will be shot in part at Grumman Studios in Bethpage.

The answer is: "Nobody knows."

Gov. Andrew Cuomo made the announcement last week that "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" will be shot in New York. The film, to star Emma Stone, Shailene Woodley and Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker, is scheduled to be out in 2014.

A spokesman for Grumman Studios said they have no information on when the shoot will take place. No schedule. No details from Hollywood. "They are merely our tenant," a spokeswoman said. "We lease the space to them."

She stressed the studio has no specific dates for when the shoot will take place. Some shooting is already taking place in New York City, industry sources said. But those roles are going to members of the Screen Actor's Guild, or SAG, who get first crack at these parts.

If you're not a member of SAG, there is no one to contact at this point.

Follow Levittown Patch on Facebook for updates.

Patch reached out to Plainview natives who work in the film industry for their insights on becoming an extra, if and when the studio puts out a general call for them. Generally, such calls are announced well in advance through local media outlets. Patch will be one of those news organizations; we'll keep you posted.

"Being an extra can be a lot of fun," said Dave Morgasen, an accomplished writer-director and producer from Plainview who has worked for decades in Hollywood.

"The producers will like you if you follow a few simple rules," Morgasen said. "The first rule is: Listen. Listening is important because time is money and if they have to film something again because an extra didn't follow directions...that extra will be replaced or moved further in the background."

You'll typically get paid, depending on exactly what you are doing and the working conditions, said Robert Siegal, a Hollywood executive and insider, also from Plainview.

"If you’re among the hordes stumbling out of the burning building with soot all over your face, you will likely get more than if you are sitting in the bleachers for the remake of 'Pride of the Yankees,'" Siegal said. (Click here to read his take on the ins and outs of being an extra.)

Morgasen said an assistant director usually deals with the extras. Sometimes you'll be asked to do nothing more than sit on a chair and read a newspaper; other times, it’s more complicated.

They may ask you to "walk across the street quickly, but not until the Camaro passes and turns the corner" Morgasen said. "And make sure you're on the other side before the police car speeds by. If you can do it right the first time, you’ll make everyone’s life easier, and your work will be appreciated."

Other tips from Morgasen, who like Siegal, is a 1974 graduate of Plainview-Old Bethpage High School:

    •    "Do not overact. If you’re too “big” in the background, you can ruin a scene.
    •    Bring something to read; you may sit around for hours until you are needed.
    •    Don't talk to the actors unless they talk to you. Same with crew, unless you need to ask a question.
    •    Pay attention. If you have a great attitude and are easy to work with, you may be featured more prominently or asked to do some of the complex work.

"If you’d like to familiarize yourself with what not to do, watch the "Seinfeld" episode where Kramer is an extra on a Woody Allen movie (“these pretzels are making me thirsty”)," Morgasen said.

RELATED: New Spider-Man to Be Filmed in Bethpage
Susan Danna March 26, 2013 at 04:59 PM
Do. You think these articles are helpful? They are not it means nothing to the average person?
Kari Sioux Gordon March 28, 2013 at 06:50 PM
I loved this article - thanks! But, then again, I am not the average person. :)


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