The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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New program lets film students work on Hollywood sets

A new extras program will offer students the chance to work with film and television production staff on projects in order to gain industry knowledge.

“Working on movies is fun, especially students in the aspect of media, journalism and theater. They can watch how real crews interact, real protocols and meet valuable contacts,” said Cinema and Television Arts Professor Nate Thomas.

“For years, productions has asked the university for extras; this is a better plan for (production companies) to use,” said Acting Administrative Service Manager Heather Cairns.

The Licensing Department will be compiling a list of students, faculty and staff interested in participating in films here on campus and hand it over to the production companies.

Lorena Reyes, a graduating senior majoring in television production, recently found out about the new program and understands how getting extras in a film can be difficult.

“We have a hard time for little small videos. We do it with our friends or we walk around asking people. It is hard to get students to agree to be part of our film,” Reyes said.

The program was created primarily for CSUN students, but it is open to CSUN faculty and staff as well.

“We do not want to exclude anyone. There is no reason to not add them,” Cairns said.

The program is meant to help students transition from college filmmakers to professional filmmakers.

“We are lacking the dynamic of a union crew where students are not yet to the level of a professional crew where there is no fooling around,” Thomas said. “These will be big films where kids can observe the dynamic. ”

Applicants have to join the University Licensing mailing list by visiting the University Licensing website. Although off -campus casting companies include a fee, the CSUN program is voluntary and free to students, faculty and staff. When signing up to the mailing list, applicants get to specify what they want. Students can request to be production assistants, extras or both.

Each semester, applicants will be updated and can request to be removed from the list if they want. By joining the list, applicants have access to view upcoming projects and are notified of those events.

The regular process to become a production assistant is sending a resume to a production company, where applicants are assessed among the competition.

Reyes said, “Production assisting cannot be guaranteed for us. In the (Department of Cinema and Television Arts), you work on minor projects. They want the more experienced people who are not just fooling around,” said Reyes.

As an extra, students are either used to appear as a supporting artist or as background actors in the film. Extras work deals with putting in long hours, but you interact with the actors. Production assistants are responsible for various odd jobs, such as stopping traffic, acting as couriers, copying scripts, filing paperwork and other tasks.

When it comes to being able to network, Cairns said, “In some cases, it depends who is in charge of getting the extras because that is who they may work with most of the time. If it is a smaller production, you may learn more because there are not many people. It will be different in every case.”

Simone Friedlander, sophomore pre-CTVA major for film production, worked on the film, “Shades of Hope,” where the art director helped her get her current position.

“No matter what the job is, the important thing is that it gets your name out there. This is only my second semester and I have gone from art production assistant to production assistant, key production assistant and second assistant director. You have to get your name out there and work your way up,” said Friedlander.

“Professors remind us to network…You will be out of the loop if you do not intern. Doors will not just open for you. It’s about networking and experience. If you do not have experience, they do not want you,” said Reyes.

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