I Wish to Appear in a Major Motion Picture

I wish to appear in a major motion picture. And I have since I can remember. I’m continually fascinated by movies (or I should say talkies) and it’s been a lifelong goal to be immortally portrayed in a large Hollywood production.
Oh, I can’t act. I’ve never tried — but that’s not the point. I want to be in a movie. I don’t want to be the movie.
I’m estimating that three seconds is the optimal amount of time in which to grace the screen. Anything less than three seconds and no one will recognize me. Anything more than three seconds and I’ll have to actually act. Three seconds is the perfect amount of time to be a “passerby” — or someone sweeping up the sidewalk. Perhaps delivering a pizza behind a foreground of some dramatic scene.
I have to confess that I haven’t done much to achieve my goal. Although I did audition for the film Moonlight Mile three years ago, which was about to film in Marblehead, Massachusetts, where I happened to live at the time. The audition went extremely well (or so I thought). After waiting in a long line, a Polaroid was taken that turned out to be the worst photo ever taken of me. So bad, in fact, that the casting person took a look at it and said Oooooh. I’m putting this one on top. This got me thinking I actually had a chance for at least a three-second role in this film. I never did get a call.
So now, I continue to dream. Perhaps there’ll be more auditions, more horrible Polaroids. And maybe one day, I can have my three seconds of fame. I’m curious, have you ever appeared on film?


  1. Pipedream I tell you!
    But good luck. :)

  2. Rick says:

    I’ve never been on film, but I sure like to be. Anyway, best of luck.. ^_^

  3. Jesse says:

    I have a friend who was an extra in “Punch Drunk Love” (he was also an intern for the movie). – Does that count?

  4. Matthijs Aandewiel says:

    I was –> going

  5. Tommy says:

    I haven’t, nor do I really wish to. Having said that, I could probably get a major part in a horror movie … as the monster … not even requiring any makeup! :)

  6. monkeyinabox says:

    Does porn count?

  7. Benedikt says:

    My right hand was about to be in a science-fiction movie called Ainoa. It was supposed to be a close up shot of a hand pointing a gun at someone. They did lighten the scene and all the other complicated movie making stuff for preparing to shoot. Shortly before they were ready, someone noticed a small – but due to a close up shot clearly visible – verruca on my hand. Now, image a possible movie career trashed because of something like this … :-)

  8. You gotta put out if you want a part! Find the director, or the casting director (luckily one of them will be a woman) and show her “your dedication” to your work ;-)
    Or you should just make an amateur film yourself. Maybe with a all-designer cast, and about usability, or some stuff like that.

  9. Tudor says:

    I’ve never been in a movie. Never even seriously thought about it. But I think I can help you with your dream!

    My sister works as camera assistant and her latest movie was one starring Wesley Snipes. I’m pretty sure she could arrange something for you. In a month or so she’ll even begin shooting a second movie featuring mr. Snipes, if you’re picky.

    There’s one little catch, though: you’ll have to come all the way to Romania for this to happen!

  10. I haven’t been on film as such, but I have been on video :)

  11. Vladimir says:

    cheat, start playing around in Final Cut Pro!

  12. Nick Potter says:

    Just before I left for Asia I ended up doing some extra work as a policeman in a TV drama here in the UK. It was good fun seeing things from the other side of the screen.
    Once I moved to Hong Kong there was of course a shortage of caucasian faces willing to do the work so I ended up doing quite a few films – The Chinese Box (Jeremy Irons & Gong Li) as party goer #5 in background!, and Knockoff (Mr Van Damme) as the manager of a dept (non-speaking) in a factory to name but two.
    There’s no way I could act well enough for anything other than an extra role but its still good fun to do every now and then!

  13. Nick Potter says:

    Oh… and I should point out that the pay for extra work sucks.

  14. I happened to be cast as an extra in K-PAX working with Jeff Bridges… the part of the movie where the Doc goes to New Mexico looking for the truth to prot’s past. First, it wasn’t New Mexico it was Bakersfield, CA. Second, after spending all day (6am – 8pm) I watch the movie to see that all the shots I was in were cut from the movie. They’re not even on the DVD bonus features! So I was in a movie, but not in a movie.

  15. Freaky says:

    I never been in a movie (at least, not that I know of). Don’t feel the urge to be in one either.
    But my sister did play in one (a dutch movie called “the cave” (i think). It was a three second background cattle type of thing.
    She got it through a casting agency.
    Try signing in for such an agency, maybe you’ll get lucky. And if your ugly, no sweat, they need ugly people too :)

  16. Andyk says:

    It can happen! While my Grandfather was serving in the British Army in Hong Kong he appeared in the background of a street scene in a JamesBond film!

  17. Small Paul says:

    I believe my left wrist appeared in a student film, wearing a watch. The watch was filmed in stopwatch mode, with the idea that the footage would be reversed and used to show a countdown. I’m not sure if they needed the 0:00 shot though, as I pointed out that it would, inevitably, contain the finger starting the stopwatch.
    It’s all about the details.

  18. Keith says:

    I was never in a film but I was on the national news back when I was about 15. There was a skateboarding competition on and people waiting in the queue were being interviewed about it. The person in front of me was interviewed and you could clearly see me in the background looking at the camera. The interview lasted about 2 minutes. I looked dreadful!
    A good friend of mine was an extra in the movie “Ordinary Decent Criminal”.

  19. Paris Hilton says:

    OF COURSE porn counts!
    Where would I be without it?

  20. jeff says:

    i’ve never been in a film, myself, but my dad had about 3 seconds of background in “The Exorcist 3.”
    Oh – I also made a 5-10 second appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show once. Don’t ask.

  21. Michael Bester says:

    I worked on an independent film called “The Guy’s Guide to Money” as the extras casting director. When they filmed the opening credit sequence, they wanted a guy wearing a tuxedo to be pouring champagne into a towering stack of champagne glasses. As I was the only member of the crew that actually owned a tuxedo, I was the guy pouring the champagne.
    Incedentally, we also filmed a party scene that day where former New York Mayor Ed Koch had a featured cameo. My tux landed me in front of the camera as an extra at the party.

  22. Two good friends of mine are extras in the Hanks’s mob film, “Road to Perdition.”
    Amazingly, one of them appears several times in a prominent location (he exits an elevator, escorting a young woman as Hanks enters, and then is seen with the woman again a few scenes later).
    While it’s somewhat novel to see a friend on screen, it kinda ruins the film for me… Here you are, watching this dark gangster film, and then it’s like “Oh hey look — There goes Christian!”
    Then all the Hollywood glory is gone, and I feel as though I’m watching a home movie.

  23. brian says:

    I was an extra in a local commercial promoting safe sex awhile back.

  24. Brian says:

    I don’t know how popular Massachusetts is for filming, but here in Chicago there are agencies that specialize in casting extras. You can submit an application and head shots to them at no cost, and you may get invited to a shoot. As mentioned above, the pay sucks, and the work is excruciatingly boring, sometimes shooting the same scene dozens of times, with long pauses between takes with nothing to do. ER likes to do exterior scenes in the neighborhood where I work (River North), so I always go out to watch, but I’ve never made it into a shot. Good luck!

  25. Phil Balchin says:

    Quick theres no time to loose, drop all your things, work, life, etc, spend what little savings you have on a train ticket to Hollywood, get some crappy job serving hot dogs in a diner, and hope that a major film director will spot you, and give you your break you’ve been waiting for! Its probably a long shot, but if that magic 3 seconds is going to happen, your going to have to work for it, Good Luck!

  26. Michael Kjeldsen says:

    Does an educational movie count? Because then I’ve achieved something you didn’t :-P

  27. I’m friends with William Hung. I can get you his cell phone number.

  28. Jorge Luna says:

    I have never been on-screen.. but i have worked on some, I am a aspiring independent film-maker/webstandard promoter/webdesigner (i know, i have to make up my mind… im not getting any younger).
    Well the point is, maybe you can act in one of my (short) films .. there will be long waiting periods, little food, lots of water and little or no payment (that’s the independent part).
    Oh, yeah, the gig is in Mexico, and … as you can see it does not fall in the “major motion picture” category you were asking for.
    On the other hand you get a free tourist guide in Mexico.

  29. If you do make it, you’ll somehow have to work in a part that sports a shirt with a breast pocket. By keeping the role small enough, you can avoid wardrobe and slip in a piece of history – a fashion zeitgeist if you will.

  30. I had a small speaking part in “Gleaming the Cube,” which featured Christian Slater. At the time of filming, I worked for Transworld Skateboarding Magazine and knew Stacy Peralta, who helped find skater extras. By the time the movie hit the screens, I had moved to a small town in Illinois to go back to school. Sadly, I went to see the movie by myself. No one recognized me after the movie was over. It left me depressed.

  31. I have never wanted to be an actor, but I’ve long had this dream of playing a corpse on an episode of Law and Order. I wonder how they cast those parts? Too bad I don’t live in NYC.

  32. bruce says:

    I was in a Bollywood not-very-extravaganza The Maharajah Ranjit Singh, as several Imperial British soldiers. The pay was lousy, but the food was great.

  33. Doug says:

    As a youngster I used to laugh like a drain at a family video of my uncle’s appearance on a quiz show in the 70′s. He was an extremely clever man with encyclopedic general knowledge, and as a university lecturer was used to public speaking. However, under the camera’s glare he froze. He never uttered a word for the duration of the show – all he did when he was on screen was to stare fixedly at the camera, open and shut his mouth and generally act as if he was doing a goldfish impression.
    Two years ago I was asked by a charitable organisation I do work for to speak on local morning TV. Forewarned by my uncle’s experience I brushed up my public speaking skills, prepared my material meticulously, and was confident I was ready for my 15min of fame. Needless to say, despite all my preparation I did an even better impression of a goldfish than my uncle.
    Cameras are evil. They lead to embarrassment, shame and ridicule, make you the butt of your nephew’s jokes and – worst of all – release your inner goldfish.
    Don’t do it, Dan !

  34. Brian says:

    If you like old flicks, come by the Lizard Lounge in Cambridge Oct 30 for a li’l early halloween treat. My friend Shaun and I are composing a new score and leading a small group of musicians behind a screening of the old , quasi-silent, b/w film Vampyre (1931). A great classic horror film….

  35. Brian says:

    If you like old flicks, come by the Lizard Lounge in Cambridge Oct 30 for a li’l early halloween treat. My friend Shaun and I are composing a new score and leading a small group of musicians behind a screening of the old , quasi-silent, b/w film Vampyre (1931). A great classic horror film….

  36. Wayne Godfrey says:

    I was an extra in the movie “China Moon.” I got the back of my head and a side profile for probably slightly more than the three seconds you spoke of. I also got a fat check for fifty bucks! The most interesting thing was watching all the goings on for settting up the scene and how it looked and worked within the final plot of the movie. When I first looked at the set and what exactly the scene entailed, I was completely puzzled as to how the scene could posssibly be of use in a movie. Turns out that the scene set the stage for a major plot twist. Anyway, I had a great time and you can really make out who I am on screen. Not exactly my 15 minutes of fame, but hey, that was a fat check!!

  37. jeremy says:

    the ’80s were pretty good for extra work where I grew up (Tucson, AZ)…
    1984 – Revenge of The Nerds [crowd scene extra]
    1988 – World Gone Wild (horrid road warrior rip off starring adam ant and bruce dern) [featured extra]
    1988 – Can’t Buy Me Love [featured extra]
    with a line up like that… you’d think I’d be famous by now! ;) oh well.

  38. steve says:

    I don’t know about movies, but I did have a speaking part in the first intercontinental TV broadcast live via communications satellites (Aus to UK). I can’t say that it was a transformative or pivotal life experience, and I doubt that a “Look! There’s me!” glimpse in a movie would be any different.

  39. We were in the stands after the game at Fenway a couple of weeks ago when they were filming the drew barrymore / Jimmy Fallon movie. I’ll have to wait and see if we crossed the 3 second threshold.

  40. Adam says:

    About a year ago I was an extra in Kevin Smith’s Jersey Girl. I was lucky in that I was placed a row behind the “paid” extra who begins clapping at the end of the theater scene. Because of that you can make out my face for about half a second, but that’s about it.
    13 hour day = half second of face time, oh yeah!
    Oh yeah, Affleck can’t act for… poo.

  41. Mark Wiens says:

    I almost thought I’d be in White Oleander. My friend was the assistant to the Executive Producer. She got us onto the set, we watched a scene get filmed, was told to wander up and down the rows of stuff at the Pasadena flea market, and got some great food. We even got crew food instead of extras food. But, of course, they only used a tight shot of one booth, so I didn’t make it.

  42. Adrian says:

    While visiting Baltimore I was once asked to play an official on the side of the field in ‘Major League 2′. It was way too hot to spend a whole day wandering up and down a baseball field in a strange uniform so I did what any self-respecting Brit’ would do. I found a bar with a decent AC and had a skinfull of beer instead!

  43. Jay R. says:

    Minnesota is also great for getting into movies! I was an intern and and an extra in “Factotem” with Lily Taylor, Fisher Stevens, Marisa Tomei and Matt Dillon. It was a blast but a TON of hard work. Especially on the rest of the extras.
    The stories of a 6am to 8pm day are typical. And the chance of getting used is rare.
    Good luck but chance will be your best friend!!

  44. Ole Hansen says:

    I have not been in a movie, but I did appear on national (Danish TV2) news on 2 seperate (but somewhat related) occasions.
    10 years ago, I was a member of a political youth organization. Our candidate for “amtsborgmester” (Sort of a Mayor, but for a larger region) had made a song, and they used some shots fra a small meeting, where I was present for a “music video”. This video was shown on both regional and national TV, and 4 years later at the next election, the regional station ran it again.
    The other occasion was during Easter, when my brother and I participated in the annual conference held by that organization. The news ran a story on young people spending their vacation discussing politics, and both of us could be seen very close up. Imagine seeing your own face almost completely covering the entire screen of a TV. Rather disconcerting.

  45. pleeker says:

    I was an extra in Thelma and Louise, but do to camera angles and edits you don’t see my face — only my torso. At the bar scene in the early stages of the movie, I walk behind the chair Geena Davis is sitting in — I’m in blue jeans and a plaid shirt, and I’m holding the hand of a female extra who’s following behind me on the way to the dance floor. Since the camera was down at Geena’s sitting level, you only see me from about mid-thigh up to my chest. I may also be in the dancing scenes, but I’ve never slowed the tape down enough to find myself.

  46. Johnny Gulag says:

    Some people I knew in High School and a friend of mines step father, we’re in a movie called “Hexed”, that was filmed here in Ft.Worth. It was a silly comedy, but kinda funny as I remember.
    My passion has always been to make a movie.

  47. KP says:

    Follow your dreams, no matter how big or small. I always wanted to get a movie credit. I was doing freelance web stuff, then all of a sudden I’m doing similar stuff at a 3D animation studio with a new film coming out in March… and my first credit will too.
    My next goal is to get my music in a movie. On to that…

  48. Simon says:

    You should come for a holiday here in New Zealand! Wellington to be precise… PJ (That’s Peter Jackson to the uninitiated :-P ) is always using local “Talent” as extra’s… take The Lord of the Rings trilogy… I don’t think there is a man woman or child here who wasn’t in, new someone who was in or worked on one or all of them. And he’s just started shooting King Kong here.
    The bonus is it’s a lovely country to visit :-)

  49. Jeff Kenny says:

    If 3 seconds is all you’re looking for – then being an extra is the way to go. I ended up (it was years ago so I really don’t remember how) on the short list of an extras casting agent here in Chicago. I ended up being an extra in 3 movies and 2 television shows. The pay stinks, but for the amount of time you’re actually working it’s not bad. “Hurry up and wait” is the most often used phrase in the extra scene.
    I also had an actual acting part in an independent film that was shown at the lesbian/gay film festival. I think I was 1 of 2 people in the entire cast/crew that wasn’t actually gay. It was a ton of fun – whenever I get border with this whole internet thang, I’ll probably pop back into acting.

  50. Ipods4Free says:

    I used to live in Ft. Worth. Great place.
    But anyways, hope you get the gig someday! I also hope that they use the clip that you spend your time shooting. A lot of times they’ll tape you, but they might just cut you out. Let us know when the big day comes along….unless its porno….

  51. zedzdead says:

    I went to the filming of Chariots of Fire at my local sports centre (which had been dressed up to look like Paris).
    What struck me was the incredible amout of time it took to set up a “take”. I spent all day there and I think they did two takes all day.
    In one of them the wrong athlete won the race! I don’t think either take was used in the film, but that doesn’t stop me scruitinising the crowd scenes everytime I watch…

  52. Aaron Gustafson says:

    I was on the Mickey Mouse Club a few times as an extra and was slated to have a brief appearance in Troma’s Terror Firmer as a reporter interviewing Casey’s Dad (Ron Jeremy). Unfortunately earlier in the day we were shooting a scene in Times Square where the naked P.A. (Yaniv Sharon) ran across 43rd St wearing nothing but surgical bandages wrapped around his head. The police came, closed the set and took away our filming license for the remainder of the day. I was flying back to FL (my home @ the time) the next day so lost the role. Oh well, the movie was fun anyway and I did get to go to Cannes for the premier which was awesome.

  53. Will says:

    Interestingly enough, I dated a girl who had a brief appearance in Moonlight Mile. She was the bride exiting the church that can be seen from the motorcade at the beginning of the movie. I saw the premiere at the Loews Boston Common with her back in the day, but we’re no longer together (and that’s actually a good thing, but it’s a story for another time).

  54. Tom says:

    They only want you when you’re seventeen
    When you’re twenty-one
    You’re no fun
    They take a polaroid and let you go
    Say they’ll let you know
    So come on

    Ladytron – Seventeen

  55. Elaine says:

    The house I grew up in (where my mother & sister still live) was in Anywhere but here — it’s the house in Wisconsin, which is funny because I grew up in So Cal.
    Apparently, they had to pick all the oranges from our orange tree in the front yard.
    Neither mom nor Liz were in the movie, but I’ve heard one of our cats has a few seconds, as does a kid I used to babysit. :)

  56. Richard says:

    I was in ‘Touching The Void’, and though I did manage a tad more than three minutes, I escaped fame (and fortune).
    I was the non-climbing companion – the ‘real’ one, not the actor who played me. Actually, the actor who played me got far more money than me, and the movie helped his career a lot.

  57. None, except for the 3 and a half minute student film (entitled “The Commercial 1999″) from an art class in high school. Said film was compiled on a Powermac 5400/120 with OS8 and Adobe Premiere 4.2 (and we’re all suprised it worked). It exists today in a far too heavily compressed, grainy 160×120 Quicktime movie.

  58. JR Smith says:

    Heh, where do you live? A friend of mine is the assistant casting director for New Line Cinemas and is working on the new Colin Farrel movie (New World is what it’s called, I think) being filmed here in Virginia. I could always put in a good word.

  59. Scott Nelle says:

    There was a film shot in my town when I was a kid called “Sweetheart’s Dance” featuring Jeff Daniels, Don Johnson, and Susan Sarandon. I’m pretty sure that almost no one ever saw it, but it exists. Anyway, I wasn’t in it, but my bedroom played the role of Susan Sarandon’s apartment. That’s probably about the closest to movie stardom as I’ll ever get.

  60. Larry says:

    My comment involves tv fame. When I was doing amateur stand-up a few years ago, I had an opportunity to audition for the Jerry Springer show. I eventually was not able to do it, but here is a brief account of how hard work and luck can land you a part on a trashy tv show.
    I was put in contact with a producer from the show and a friend and I eventually landed a spot (this is the honest truth, btw). She was also doing amateur stand-up at the time and a spot on Springer is great exposure. That kind of acting credit can open doors for a comic just starting out. Anyway, our “story” was classic Springer, we were to play a couple in a long-term relationship that went on Springer to “reveal” a terrible secret. My “secret”? I had been cheating on my “girlfriend” with a transvestite. At the moment the significant other came on stage I was supposed to kiss “her” and strip and then madness would ensue.
    The funniest thing about the transvestite is that she was a professional actor, but she was also a real transvestite. The producer made certain that I knew this. He was very clear on the point that I would be smootching a guy (albeit a good looking one), but she was a pro and I shouldn’t worry. I wasn’t bothered by that, in fact, when I watched the show I found out that this person was very attractive and looked absolutely nothing like a guy.
    The producer went out of his way to offer more “perks” if I would be willing to go all the way with the strip act. I guess alot of people won’t agree to do that. They were going to get me a nice hotel for two days, some spending cash, and tickets to a couple of events in Chicago. I had to cancel at the last moment and was very disappointed. My friend did go on the show and played a great part. It was fun to see her on tv playing such a funny part. She had a great time.
    -The guy that took my part didn’t do the little strip act. I would have.

  61. Lauren says:

    Never been in a movie, but I’ve been a SimpleBits reader for quite some time. I just realized you live in Salem, the next town over from me. Small world, eh?

  62. MikeyC says:

    I’ve never been in a film, but a friend of mine was an extra in a Mandy Moore film last year.
    Also, If you’ve seen “Harold and Kumar go to White Castle” I used to know the guy who plays the stoned pot dealer (also had a role in Jason X). In fact, he played drums on a song I wrote back in highschool. In real life he’s a stoned pot head. No surprise there.

  63. byron says:

    Richard, are you kidding me? I just read ‘Touching the Void’. What an amazing story.

  64. James says:

    I remember standing behind a news caster as he reported the news, I did bunny ears made funny faces–all the good stuff. That was enough for 50% of the people I knew to ask if that was me.
    I would love to be in a zombie movie for 30 seconds. That’d be great. More than 3 seconds though, that’s not enough for much of anything.

  65. Rob says:

    How about fluffing? does that count?

  66. Amitabh says:

    I was the principal actor in an AIG commercial directed by Errol Morris (Fog of War, Apple switch ads) early last year. It wasn’t quite the same as being in a movie, of course, but it was fun nonetheless. I still haven’t seen it for myself, but I was told that it did air during the academy awards, which is pretty cool.

  67. swimp says:

    Hang in there Dan — one day the phone will ring and you’ll have your 3 seconds, I’m sure of it! Now, all I need is a job :(

  68. Sebhelyesfarku says:

    I hate the Hollywood crap infecting the world.

  69. JForce says:

    Why is this under the humor section.
    We all have dreams, why is Dan´s dream funny?
    My Dream is to WRITE a move, i guess that´s funny to.
    Go Dan…go.