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5 Ways To Get A Job In A Movie Or TV Show

I am presently on a driving vacation along the east coast with my three college age children and my wife. One stop our twenty four year old daughter insisted on was Wilmington, NC. She is a huge fan of the TV show One Tree Hill. The show, which ran for nine years, was filmed almost entirely on location in Wilmington. It is a historic waterfront community that gives visitors the immediate sense of being transported back in time. This small town quality is no doubt the draw for production companies. My daugther's pilgrimage was all about finding various locations where scenes of the show were filmed. She had a great time taking pictures and posting them on her social feeds to share with her friends (most of which of are also fans of the show). 


I was very interested to learn that Wilmington has a small studio complex and that there are presently three TV shows in production right now. The studio even offers tours on the weekend. The set of One Tree Hill has been struck (since the show ended), but star gazers are welcome to tour the facility and see current TV sets from Secrets And Lies, The Longest Ride, and Sleepy Hollow. The production company, Screen Gems, also has studios in Atlanta and New York. Their website is all about recruiting people for various jobs and roles in their productions. Even the box office hit, The Hunger Games, was filmed in North Carolina. Other small towns like Baton Rouge, LA are also seeing an influx of TV and Movie production companies.

Filmed In North Carolina (

A Walk to Remember (2002) 
Blue Velvet (1986) 
Dawson's Creek (1998 TV series) 
Dirty Dancing (1987) 
Forrest Gump (1994) 
I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997) 
Idlewild (2006) 
Junebug (2005) 
Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004)
Lolita (1997) 
One Tree Hill (2003 TV series) 
Surface (2005 TV series) 
Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006) 
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990) 
The Crow (1994) 
The Fugitive (1993) 
The Green Mile (1999) 
The Guardian (2006) 
The Hunt for Red October (1990) 
The Last of the Mohicans (1992) 
True Lies (1994) 

Well, there is always a financial angle, and I am the guy to uncover it, right? It turns out that the economy of North Carolina has been the beneficiary of hundreds of millions of dollars by luring TV production companies to their state (with tax credits and other financial incentives). TV and movie production is now taking place quite a lot of other places than just Hollywood.  Some great points are made in this article, Why TV, film production is running away from Hollywood.  Wilmington even has its own film commission.

This article outlines the economic impact a TV production can have on a small town


I was sitting at dinner wondering how a production company in North Carolina fields a cast of 'extras' or people playing incidental roles. Of course, in Hollywood you would have a stable of people ready to step up and be used for crowd scenes, a police officer walking by, or a mail delivery person dropping off a package in a scene, etc.. A quick Google search for 'Wilmington movie extra jobs' and I found a Facebook page with a number of current opportunities for paid extras.  Here is an example of a listing -

Marty Siu Casting 

For MONDAY in Winston Salem, we are still in need of the following roles to be filled:

MALE BIKE RIDERS (college age)
STUDENTS (OR FACULTY) WITH HIGH END CARS (no red, nor white cars please).

If you fit the above descriptions, any ethnicity, and are available to work with us this coming Monday at 5:00am for roughly 12 hours, please: please #1). Register here:, using the authorization code, "sparky". #2). Email us (AFTER YOUR ACCT IS ACTIVE) at: with your requested title as your heading (Ex: Faculty with high end car).

My wife and daughters at character Brooke Davis' House (One Tree Hill)
Yes, you can even get paid to have your house (usually just the exterior) in a show or movie


I also found this story from the local news channel website- How To Get A Job As An Extra Around Wilmington.  There also appears to be significant additional opportunities to earn money other than being an extra or an actor. They need all a wide variety of workers and seem very open to newbies. 

It is clear that the studios filming outside of Hollywood are more than open to newcomers. The Screen Gems site was extremely welcoming, even suggesting resources that a newbie could use to learn about how to get started as an entry level production assistant working on a movie set. You can even earn money by listing your home or business as a potential movie location.

Five Ways For You To Cash In On The 'New Hollywood'

1. Have fun and make money as an extra. You won't get paid much, but $60 to $70 for a day of work and the bragging rights of saying you were actually in a TV show or movie is pretty cool. Who knows, you might get discovered and offered regular work...

2. Look for an office job in a TV or movie production company. As the Screen Gems website details, they need accountants, secretaries, and office workers.

3. Become a production assistant (entry level job title), get some on the job traning, and maybe someday you will be the one shouting 'action.'

4.  Use your current trade as an 'in' with a production company. If you are a carpenter, electrician, or mechanic, you could likely find work on a movie set somewhere. 

5. If all else fails, be the guy or gal that sweeps and mops at the end of the day. Well, it might not be glamorous, but there are jobs as janitors and the like that are also available.

What is happening today in the TV/movie business seems a lot like what Hollywood was in its early days. Who knows, you might find a TV or movie being filmed not far from where you live. 

Helping you make the most of God’s money!

James L. Paris 
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