Dreaming of being in a movie or TV show in Portland? This guy can help you.
Adam Rosko describes his job as chaotic. He finds and casts extras for TV shows, movies and commercials that film here in Portland.
Both Netflix and TBS have shows going into production in February, so right now he's pretty busy. TBS is bringing one episode of the comedy "Angie Tribeca" to shoot on Mt. Hood in the next week or so. More long term, through March, the Netflix series "American Vandal" will be shooting. He needs a lot of new faces for that show.
“It’s an all new school, it’s an all new crime for the story, and I need to populate a new campus with new students and faculty and coaches and parents, everything," he said.
Rosko mainly works alone and sort of fell into the business of casting extras or "background actors." He was the guy behind "Trek in the Park." (You may have caught one of the free open air theater performances of classic "Star Trek" episodes.) The performances impressed the producers of "Portlandia" so much, that when the run ended, they hired Rosko to cast extras for their show.
Rosko says being an extra is for any member of the community, but budding actors take the jobs a lot, too. He sees it as a way for actors to observe techniques, and see what working on a film set is like. Plus he says, "When you do book that big role, the equipment and 100 people in cargo shorts looking at you, doesn’t freak you out.”
Tim Williams, the executive director of Oregon Film agrees.
"I find a lot of people who are extras often go on to other things on film sets, meaning crew or some supporting network. Because they see something on set and they say, oh that’s very interesting, I’d like to do that," Williams said.
He adds that while it was great to have long-running shows like "Grimm," and "The Librarians" here in Portland, it's been tough on those who work as extras.
“They go through a lot of faces and then don’t want to see you again because they’ve seen you on screen already," he said.
These new shows will help get people working again.
"So this is a lot of new opportunity for actors and faces on screen, and that’s great,” said Williams.
The pay typically starts at minimum wage, but Rosko says he likes to guarantee that minimum.
“Say you’re only on set for a couple of hours, I’ll pay you for 4 or I’ll pay you for 8, just to make it worth your time to come visit.”
There can also be "bumps" for specialty work, like getting soaked with a garden hose, or mileage if you drive a long way to the set.
Anyone can sign up, as he's always looking for new faces to add to the background.