How to Become a Movie Extra in Far North Queensland

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It’s not quite Hollywood and we’re not quite ready for a movie location tour, but you might be surprised to know that Far North Queensland has played a starring role in many movies and television shows.

mathhew mcconaghey and kate hudson in port douglasIn fact, you may not have realised it but NQ has been the location double for the Caribbean, Pacific Islands and various parts of Asia.

Big budget movies such as Fool’s Gold, Nim’s Island, Paradise Road, Paradise Found, The Thin Red Line have all been filmed here, as well as Steven Spielberg’s mini-series The Pacific.

And of course quite a few Australian television mini-series have also been filmed here including Sea Patrol, Reef Doctors and The Straits. Even Neighbours has filmed a few episodes in Port Douglas…which brings me neatly on to the subject of this post.

I am a bit of a closet actor.

Well, actually I just like dressing up and ‘hobnobbing’ with celebrities but that’s how I found myself in a small but vital role on Neighbours one day.

While the role of an ‘extra’ isn’t always glamorous and can consist of hours of standing around, it can also be good fun and you get to earn some pocket money. And, depending on what you’re working on you might get to meet some celebrities and well-known actors.

The day Neighbours was filming a beach scene in Port Douglas, I was one of 30 extras called up to flex my acting versatility as a beach-goer. We were all allocated an activity from walking casually in the waves, lying on a towel reading a book, throwing a beach ball or chatting with friends.

My particular role was pivotal to the plotline.

Channelling Meryl Streep, I waited patiently for my cue – a wave from behind the camera from the director’s assistant – and wandered into view looking out at the water like I was deep in thought.

I thought I did a pretty good job but, to be honest, I am not even sure my cameo made it into the final cut since I forgot what date the episode was airing on TV.

It has to be said that being an extra wasn’t the most exciting job in the world but I got to meet some interesting people and I had the opportunity to see a television production in action.
Being an extra in NQ is fairly easy due to the lack of fierce competition and you don’t need an agent.

How to get a job as a movie extra

The next big budget movie to be filmed in FNQ will be Pirates of the Caribbean 5 starring Johnny Depp. They will be filming around the Port Douglas and Mossman area in February 2015.

So, for all of you Johnny Depp fans, how can you get yourself a job as a movie extra on his next outing as Captain Jack Sparrow?

Production companies usually just place an ad in the weekend newspaper’s job section announcing an audition day or asking interested people to email through a photo and a few credentials.

You don’t usually need any acting experience and it basically all comes down to the look the production company wants for that particular scene. Pirates of the Caribbean 5 are probably going to be looking for brigands, lusty wenches, cabin boys, mermaids, undead pirates and a motley crew of scurvy-ridden shipmates, so if you think you’ve got the look you might be in!

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