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How To Be Successful...As An Extra In A Commercial

Whoever said you can't have your metaphorical cake, and eat it too may be correct, but when it comes to Guinness I'll speak from experience: a girl can definitely have her Guinness and drink it too!

Two Mondays ago I had a really awesome, once in a lifetime experience playing around on the set of a Guinness commercial. While on set I met some new people, and hung around with some old buds, with no Buds or Bud Lite Limes in site- this was a promotional shoot for Guinness for goodness sakes! Not only did I really enjoy the experience (I equate it to I Love Lucy's Vitameatavegimen episode), I also learned a lot about extra work. Here are some tips, things to do. not to do, and other information that might prove helpful for you!

Reasons to become an extra:

1. If you're interested in pursuing a career in entertainment, then you have to start building up your resume. A great place to start is by being an extra, especially if it is your first time in front of a camera. (I've been a camera before at two live tapings of Tyra Bank's talk show- I even had a few lines to say/ few reaction shots highlighted. I have also had to sign a waiver to be an extra in a live action sequence on Disney's Hollywood Studios Lot.) I found this experience just as fun, but completely different. 

Circa 2007. This always makes me laugh.
2. If you're off from work, or looking for a side job to make extra money, then this is a great gig because you can create your own schedule.
3. If you are just interested in the whole movie magic process than you will definitely learn a lot by being involved, even if it is just as an extra. I learned a lot on set, and I'm a bit of a nerd so I absolutely loved learning about something new to me!
Reasons to NOT become an extra:
1. If you're trying to get noticed right away extra work is not for you. As an extra you are seen and not heard, and sometimes because of the way the shot is cropped you're not seen either. If you're just happy to be there like I was then I suggest definitely trying it out!

2. If you have a problem with working over time, or waiting around for lengths at a time while lighting is being set up, then being an extra is not for you. I took the time to get to know the people I was working with, so waiting did not bother me at all.

3. If you're not the type of person who can follow directions then extra work is not for you. The director and producer are always setting, and resetting, telling the extras to "go back to 1", giving direction, and making sure your pint glass (in our case) is facing towards the camera so the logo could be seen. You need to have your eyes and ears open at all times.

Some cool facts I learned on set at the Guinness commercial:

1. Yes, those people in the bar scenes are actually enjoying a nice cold beverage.

2. No, when they are all cheering for their favorite team the television was not even on...too much noise.

3. Unfortunately, to my boyfriend's dismay, you cannot just repeat the words "peas and carrots" again and again. It does not look natural what-so-ever.

4. It is really hard to act like you are having a conversation while you are pantomiming with another person, because in actuality there are two separate conversations going on at once. 

5. Probably the most fascinating facts I learned was that Nigeria is one of the top three countries to sell more Guinness than the United States. Guinness for 200 please!

Here are some more photos from my glamorous day as an extra:

Waiting to be brought down to set!

Guinness themed bar called The Perfect Pint  in NYC.

Stay Lovely,


Editor and Curator of

Dusk & Rubies

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