Background Actor: 5 reasons why you should become one

My reasons on why you should become a ‘background actor’:
1. If you enjoy being around people.
2. If you are extroverted.
3. If you are introverted, but would like to change.
4. If you are bored and need something to do.

Many reasons why you should become a background actor, but most important is:
5. It can be fun!

me and billy trenton ky (2)
(Photo: Billy & Nancy Goodman waiting to go ‘on set’ as background actors in a recent filming of the Summer of ’67 movie for Sharon Campbell Wilharm.)

Hubby and I were both retired for several years – he retired in 2002 and I retired in 2008 – prior to deciding to try our hand at acting and being background actors. We got our first chance of background acting in Robin Williams’ last project,  the Boulevard movie in 2013 – which was filming in Nashville near where we lived. Once we were signed up with On Location Casting (a local casting company), and got the call to be ‘elderly residents in a nursing home’ for the movie, our background acting adventures began. We worked about a 12-hour day one time on that movie, with several other local background actors. Some of the others never got called ‘to set’ from our ‘holding’ spot. But Billy and I both got called, with him showing up in the opening credits of the film (background actor playing cards, seated behind Robin Williams) and the back of my head (fuzzy gray hair) showing up as Robin Williams exited the elevator and turned the corner to go ‘down the hall to his ‘father’s room’.

When I say ‘worked a 12-hour day’ – let me explain that it is not all spent ‘working’; a great deal of time is spent ‘sitting and waiting to be called to set’. The movies and TV shows where we’ve gone to be background actors, have, mostly, fed us well plus provided snacks and water or cold drinks, along with a place to ‘sit and wait.’ The more experienced of us have learned to take something to occupy our spare/waiting time, and even, in the case of Billy and me, some snacks or water of our own.

That experience on the Boulevard movie has led us to more and more instances of being background actors and we don’t regret any of it (except what may seem to be ultra-long days or nights) but have really enjoyed all of the excitement and fun of being involved, in a small part, with some of the shows or movies we’ve been booked for.

If you had asked us, even 10 years ago, if we’d like being background actors, or acting in any form, we would both have called you crazy! Now it’s a way of life, with many, many friends who are involved in being background actors too. It’s a community of it’s own in the area of Nashville, Tennessee, and we like being a part of it.

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