Tracy Walaschuk, owner of TBA Talent, has cast hundreds of local background actors in productions such as Fargo, The Bourne Legacy, Heartland, Hell on Wheels, Interstellar, Klondike and many more. Walaschuk shares some tips on what it takes to earn some screen time.
Get an Agent
“To start doing background work in Calgary, your best bet is to get an agent. Casting directors call agents looking for people. Check the ACTRA website, pick an agent who’s a good fit for you, take a clear headshot of what you look like now and even take a set-etiquette class.”
“To be a good movie extra, you have to be punctual and professional, with good availability. Time costs money. If you’re late or don’t show up, that costs the production a lot.”
Share Your Special Talents
“Make sure to mention if you have special skills. Sometimes, a background performer is required to play the banjo or shoe a horse. If the casting director calls for that, you can be upgraded to a higher rate of pay.”
Be Ready to Film Anywhere
“It’s impossible to say what a background actor may be doing on set. You could be sitting in a diner drinking coffee for 12 hours or spending the whole day in the mountains being sprayed with water. People don’t realize that they may be waiting on set for 10 hours. But they do it because they love to be on set and are passionate about film.”
5 Movies Recently Filmed in Calgary and Alberta
The Assassination of Jesse James (2007)
Those of us in Calgary in the summer of 2005 probably remember trying to spot Brad Pitt or Casey Affleck around town. Filming here in Calgary began at the end of August, 2005. Scenes from the film were shot at Heritage Park, the Fairmont Palliser Hotel and several private ranches.
This film was shot all over the world, but a few scenes were shot here in Alberta. At the end of 2009, a few snowy scenes were shot at Fortress Mountain in Kananaskis Country. The Fortress Mountain Resort also hosted the crew and cast of The Bourne Legacy in December, 2011.
Billy Bob Thornton, Martin Freeman and Kate Walsh were here in Calgary filming for the new version of this classic. This 10-part mini series is based loosely on the hit movie by the Coen Brothers. We can’t wait to catch this FX version, which was released in the USA on April 15.
More big stars were in Calgary for the filming of this movie. This film, which stars big names like Kiefer Sutherland, Demi Moore and Donald Sutherland, was shot at the CL Ranch. This is set to be released in the fall of this year.
Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey as well as Michael Caine, Jessica Chastain and Casey Affleck were all in Calgary at the end of 2013 for the filming of a science fiction film. Directed by Christopher Nolan, most of the filming took place just outside of the city in Okotoks (the Seaman Stadium and Olde Town Plaza) and Nanton. This is set to be released in theatres and IMAX on November 7, 2014.