If they do their job right, they never stand out. Yet without them, a scene would look empty. They are the extras. People who don’t have lines, but fill the background and make a scene seem real.
Much of the action in Table 47 takes place at Gryzsek’s. In many of the scenes the restaurant and bar is “open” meaning there are customers. In a tight scene with closeups on the main actors, we only needed a few extras strategically placed to make the restaurant appear busy.
The key to being a good extra is to not overact. We don’t want any big movements or sudden ones. Nothing that draws attention away from the main actors. And extras never talk out loud. When we are recording a scene, the only sound we want the microphones to pick up is from the key actors. Extras just move their lips. All of the background sound including voices of the extras is added later.
Extras are usually friends or sometimes members of the crew. For friends who show up, it’s a chance to be behind the scenes. Most are amazed at the amount of work and time that goes into setting up and filming. The lucky ones end up in the movie. We joke with the extras that their chances are good if they are behind a key actor!