A great extra is someone who can blend in the background of a scene and can simultaneously go unnoticed by the person watching and be integral that they would be noticed if they weren’t there.
In all actuality, it’s not that difficult to do and the biggest difficulty is standing around all day on a movie set.
On Saturday Night Live this past weekend, they took the scenario of bad extras to the n’th degree as they try to film a basketball scene.
As Pete Davidson and Kenan Thompson are playing characters who are trying to have a serious moment in one of those coming-of-age, inspirational basketball movies, Jimmy Fallon and Mikey Day are in the background playing basketball. Because that would normally be the case if you are filming a scene on a basketball court, other people playing. The background players weren’t that great as extras as you can see.
The clip is a slow build, but it really gets hilarious halfway through.
In all seriousness, it’s a very exaggerated way to show how seriously something as inconsequential as extras are to the filmmaking process. We don’t notice them at all for the most part because they can blend into the background of a scene to make it more natural. When it goes wrong, it is incredibly distracting from the scene and can ruin a movie. Unless you’re filming the newest Sharknado movie, it’s not something you want in a movie.