Everywhere you look in Austin it seems there is filming going on. From huge blockbuster movies like The Alamo and Miss Congeniality to network television series like Friday Night Lights, Austin has become a favorite location for directors and producers nationwide to create some of our favorite movies and television shows. Studios have fallen in love with Austin because of our abundance of talented actors and crew as well as the price of doing business in our town which is substantially more affordable than much larger places such as New York or Los Angeles.Every production requires and enormous amount of support from the local community and whether you are an experienced camera operator or have never stepped foot on a movie set, there are ways that anyone can be involved. Perhaps the easiest way to experience the bright lights and fast action of film production is to become an extra.The shooting schedules of film projects vary greatly and may last from a couple of days to several weeks. You should begin by researching the calls for extras on the internet. Two great resources for current listings are on http://www.craigslist.com. While most extras are paid for their time on set, you will need to study the listings carefully to determine if the shoot coincides with your schedule and income demands.After selecting the call for which you would like to apply, you should immediately send a headshot and a resume to the casting director as these positions tend to fill up rather quickly. You should not worry about having a ton of professional acting experience as most projects fill their speaking roles with actors who are represented by local agencies. In most cases, projects are looking for extras from a wide range of backgrounds to give them as diverse a casting pool as possible. You should also make sure that you are free of any work responsibilities on the day of the shoot. These days tend to be very long and your schedule should be completely free.On larger film projects, you may be asked to attend an interview day. This step is often not required on projects with a shorter time commitment or shooting schedule. When you arrive you can expect to spend around fifteen minutes interviewing with the casting director. At this time, they may also want to take a few photos of you to include in their records.Once you are selected for a role as an extra you should expect to act as you would in any professional working situation. Make sure that you show up a few minutes early and are prepared with any items or changes of clothes that your casting director may have asked you to bring along. You should be kind and gracious to everyone you meet and prepared to spend a large portion waiting around for your time to be called. You should never wander around the set or do anything that could interfere with the production. You should also not approach the actors with requests of autographs or photos. You are a working professional and should act accordingly.Working as an extra may be one of the most rewarding adventures of your life. You will become a part of the great artistic community that makes Austin so unique and get to experience the inner workings of a film or television production. It’s a great experience and not as hard as you may think. So what are you waiting for? Here is your chance to be on the big screen.