Laura Haley-McNeil

3/29/20, Background Actors

Casting Call

Lights! Camera! Action! Background actors!Three perfect words for evoking the image of a Hollywood sound stage. And I’m writing about that because …

Call It Love

When my book Call It Love, Book 3 of the Beaumont Brides Series, started to germinate in my head, I knew I wanted to create a Hollywood romance for my two characters―Addison and Spencer. It was the perfect book for me to write. Because I’m a Southern California girl, I actually had a little bit of experience with the film industry.

Casting Call

The studios are always looking for background actors, and I learned about these opportunities by word of mouth. Many of the background actors were serious actors and hung out at the studios. They learned about the casting calls first and scooped up the openings that provided face time and could lead to something else. For someone like me who has no acting experience, these gigs were a great way to pad an income.

Background Actors

Background actors can work for a day or much longer. The gig paid more than most high school jobs, and the studio supplied delicious, catered meals. When I would hear about the call, I’d try to find out what to wear that day―did they need bikini clad girls (my mother would never permit it), girls in dresses, winter clothes? Whatever they needed, I’d fit the call.

When we arrived, and if the director selected us for a scene, we had to register. The studio paid us at the end of the day so they needed our information to make sure the accounting department processed the checks correctly. Once on the set, everything was locked. They were paying us to work, not leave then return when filming had been completed to pick up the paycheck.

Lights! Camera! Action! Background Actors.

And what was the day like? It could be pretty boring. We waited around for our scenes to be setup. We had to listen to directions and watch cues to make sure we performed correctly. The stars could make mistakes, but we couldn’t. We’d walk across the set or dance or pretend like we were afraid or angry. We had to be quiet. The sound was dubbed in later.

It was fun to remember these experiences and recreate them in my book Call It Love. The film industry can be full of surprises and I enjoyed every minute of it.

To find about Addison’s and Spencer’s Hollywood romance, click the link below to download a sample or buy this sweet romance today!