Television, film extras feed the growing entertainment industry in Atlanta

By TANYA FREEMAN

Looking for a way to make a few quick dollars? The entertainment industry is growing rapidly in the Atlanta area. Many have began working as extras on television and movie sets.

According to http://www.Georgia.org, the Georgia Entertainment Industry Investment Act was signed in 2005 by Governor Perdue. It gives a 20 percent across-the-board, transferable flat-tax credit with a minimum of $500,000 spent on quality production and postproduction expenditures within Georgia. This type of incentive has brought many entertainment companies to Georgia. With this flock of business, extras are needed for these projects.

Becoming an extra on a television show can be extremely simple because it requires no formal training.

In the past, people stood in long lines to audition to be extras on television shows. Today, many of the people used as extras on shows filmed in Atlanta simply used Google search to find jobs.

According to Cameron Reed, there are agencies that list physical criteria for the extras. Potential extras submit pictures, and if the agency feels like you meet the criteria, you are hired.

“You can find pretty much anything on the Internet,” said Reed. “Since my first gig about three years ago, I’ve been an extra on tons television shows and a few movies. I’ve been on ‘The Walking Dead,’ Disney’s ‘Let it Shine,’ ‘The Vampire Diaries,” and BET’s ‘Let’s Stay Together’ and ‘Reed Between the Lines.’ I was like a regular on ‘Reed Between the Lines.’“

Cameron appeared on four episodes of BET’s “Reed Between the lines.” He is now friends with members of the cast and crew. He has even gained a large following on Twitter. The social network has officially verified his account.

Casting directors even go out to look for extras. Kye Hilson began doing work as an extra when a casting director asked her if she would like to work on BET’s “Let’s Stay Together” while she was at an album release party.

“My sister is singer Keri Hilson. I was out with her and a guy asked me to be on the show,” said Hilson. “I was a bit skeptical at first, but I enjoyed it. I even ended up on the front page on the BET website! My picture was on the banner for the show. It was pretty cool.”

Both Reed and Hilson agree that the money they were paid was not much of an incentive, but they had great experiences and would recommend working as an extra to anyone interested in acting or film.

Extras Casting Atlanta is one of the top casting agencies in Atlanta. Anyone interested inworking as an extra can visit its website at extrascastingatlanta.com.

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