People are often wondering how to break into the movie business in New Mexico, and the reality is people have to do very little to get a job doing background acting.
In fact, more and more people are moving to Albuquerque just to have their seconds of fame and build an acting resume and career, but most background workers are still locals who give a diverse population to add to the big screen.
Finding casting companies
Finding casting companies can be fairly easy, but taking the time to follow each of them on social media can be tremendously helpful in order to see their immediate casting calls and updates.
Pay usually tends to be minimum wage or a little higher, depending on location or the production and position (i.e. Albuquerque versus Santa Fe), so there shouldn’t be expectations of making a living at this, as it is not steady work. It’s better suited for a fun activity or a hobby.
First, taking good photos to upload are key to being chosen, so a headshot against a neutral background color and a full-body photo from head-to-toe are expected.
Make sure all your contact information such as mailing address, email and cellphone number are entered properly on each site. Some agencies also ask for a photo of people’s cars and license plate info to possibly use in the background of a scene as well, so be sure to have that information ready too. Make sure these are updated photos of what you currently look like. Make sure to keep all this information on hand so that when casting calls happen, it can be easily retrieved to send in an email.
Casting companies look for all kinds of people for background and different ages from to kids to older folks. People never have to pay to be listed for casting, so if asked, it is most likely a scam.
Sometimes casting calls can start early or even require people to stay somewhere overnight before production starts and can run for 10-14 hours or more. Make sure to be available the entire day when asked to work as the production will usually ask for open availability.
Also, be prepared to wait for long periods of time. Bring a charging bank for your phone, sunscreen and something to do. All meals are usually provided, as are snacks and water in between meals.
Payment usually comes about two weeks later and will be sent to the mailing address provided.
After working on at least three productions, background extras can then make a profile on IMDB and apply for a SAG membership, which then allows people to apply for better pay or even speaking roles in future productions.
List of local casting companies:
Sande Alessi Casting
Shayne Hartigan and Sande Alessi
Far Horizon Studio
White Turtle Casting
Background/extras casting calls can also be found at www.nmfilm.com.