Kate writes in:
What do you think about someone who works as an extra (background) to network with crew? I laughingly find it easy to get a job as an extra (they call me pretty often), but harder to get a job as a PA, since that’s a “who you know” job versus a “what you look like” job.
The first couple of times on set, I wondered how I could network toward this goal, but felt awkward going about it. Recently, I was an extra on a miniseries for half a day, and I was wondering if it would be weird to call the production office and ask whether they needed a PA/day playing PA.
Basically: Is it weird to go from background extra to crew?
It’s unusual, but not totally weird.
Also, bring your PA resume with you whenever you go out on a background gig. At the end of the day, check with the 2nd AD or key PA that you’re now friends with: “If you ever need a day-player, keep me in mind. I already know everybody’s name! Here’s my resume, just in case.”
That’s actually good advice for everyone, always. Just keep a copy of your resume in your car. If you’re ever in a situation where someone might consider hiring you, you can hand it to them right away.