Feedback on Extra Work as a Relationship-Builder

This week’s Your Turn is a follow-up from the lovely actor who wrote in a few weeks back about asking for an IMDb credit for a featured extra gig. I advised against that, of course, and Tara was kind enough to write in again to share the amazing punchline of her experience with us all. Thanks, Tara, and congrats! 🙂

Hello Bonnie,

Thank you for answering my question regarding extra work and IMDb credits in your column (September 13th). I have to admit, moments after I hit the send button on that email to you, I cringed, knowing what the answer would be! (I’ve read your column for years and have read your book, and should have known better!!!) But I guess I needed to hear it from you, and was happy to read your thoughtful and empathetic answer, and hope that your other readers got something from it too.

But I did want to update you on my experience with the job, and give you another great anecdote about “relationship over resumé.” As you advised in your answer to my question, I returned to the set of this MAJOR LEAGUE SITCOM with a great attitude — forgetting any notion of trying to get an IMDb credit — just focused and ready to do my job as a “meaty” extra. It was another great day on set and near the end of the day, the director and I were chatting at craft services. He told me that I was doing a great job. He said, “I can tell you can act,” and then gave me the name of two casting directors and advised me to send my headshot and resumé to them with his name as a referral!!

Seriously, Bonnie, I think this personal referral was almost better than an IMDb credit. And you are right: It happened organically, because I wasn’t thinking about it and worrying about it and trying to push for it. I was just doing my job as “meaty extra” in a professional and enthusiastic manner.

I sent my materials to those two casting directors the very next day. And, of course, a thank-you note to the director and another to the background casting director who originally booked me for the job. (Sometimes I think that background casting directors have one of the most thankless jobs in this industry!)

So, in case anyone was ever wondering, you are right, Bonnie, relationship over resumé really needs to be the focus.

Anyway, thank you again Bonnie for all your advice. You give us all a lot of hope and ways to gain perspective and focus in this marathon career.

All the best,
Tara Gadomski

Bonnie Gillespie is living her dreams by helping others figure out how to live theirs. Wanna work with Bon? Start here. Thanks!

Originally published by Actors Access at Please support the many wonderful resources provided by the Breakdown Services family. This posting is the author’s personal archive.

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