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Nighthawks, You Can be a Movie Star!

Photo Credit: Warner Bros.
Still from a scene in “Shazam!” (2019)

Students at the University of North Georgia have the opportunity to be in their favorite films or T.V. shows without having any acting experience. Background and extra roles have paved the way for anyone to see themselves on the big screen. 

Background actors are exactly what they seem; people who perform in the background of movies, television or commercials to make scenes appear more realistic.  

Atlanta, which is nicknamed “Hollywood of the South”, has become a hub city for movie and television productions. According to Discover Atlanta, Georgia hosted more top box office earners in 2018 than any other U.S. city. Popular films and television shows such as “Spider-Man: No Way Home”, “Avengers Infinity War”, “The Walking Dead” and “Stranger Things” are a few projects among the hundreds that have been filmed or are currently filming in the Atlanta area. 

Agencies such as Rose Locke Casting and Casting TaylorMade are always looking for people to work background roles on various projects ranging from independent films to high-budget blockbusters. These agencies will typically post casting calls for upcoming projects on their website or social media pages. 

An application for a background role is typically an easy process. People who apply for a role usually submit updated photos of themselves wearing an outfit inspired by the scene they are applying for. Adding height, weight and sizes for clothing are also a normal part of the application process. While some casting agencies will ask for prior experience working as background actor, it is not required for most casting calls.  

James Mackenzie, an associate director and professor of film and digital media at UNG, said students in film-related majors could benefit from taking on background roles because they can be paid to observe how a set functions and get their first taste of a professional set environment. 

They get to observe different departments, different positions and see how each person, including each extra, can make a difference in a shot, to the schedule, and to the culture of a film production,” Mackenzie said. 

Even for students who are not pursuing a degree in film, Mackenzie said the experience can be invaluable if they simply want to know how a film gets made. 

“There are fun days of production and challenging days, just like with any work place, but set environments are simultaneously creative and technical and certainly worth exploring if you are interested and able to block off an entire day of your calendar.” – James Mackenzie, associate director and professor of film and digital media 

With the recent actors’ and writers’ strikes over, productions have started to ramp up again, as over 41 T.V. shows and movies are filming in April, according to Project Casting. Now is the time for UNG students to play a part in the next hit project. 

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About the Contributor
Robert DiClemente, Staff Editor
Hey everyone! My name is Robert and I am a student on the Dahlonega campus. I am majoring in Communications with a focus in Multimedia Journalism. I love to write and I am excited to share that passion with you and other Vanguard staff members. Outside of the Vanguard I work for North Georgia's Athletic Department and serve as a play-by-play broadcaster on the Nighthawk Sports Network.
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