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Extra, Extra
By Brenda B. Covert

1     Matt & Ginger lay across Ginger's full-size bed, reading a computer printout. Papers lay scattered around them on the denim bedspread. Now and then Matt would circle an item with a red pen.
2     Bored, Ginger sat up. The papers rustled. Looking at the movie posters on her wall, she said, "I thought there would be more acting jobs for teen twins. How did the Olsen twins do it?" She tossed her papers in the air. "At this rate, we'll never get into the movies!"
3     "Mary-Kate and Ashley got started as babies," Ginger's twin said with a shrug. "Maybe we're going at this all wrong. Instead of looking for principal [PRIN-sip-'l] roles, let's look for jobs as extras."
4     "Extra what?" asked Chloe, appearing in the Ginger's doorway with her favorite doll.
5     "Extras," Ginger said. "The people you see in the background of a movie or TV program. They are walking down the street or eating in a café, something like that. They don't have lines."
6     "Do they get paid?" Chloe asked, swinging her doll by its foot.
7     Matt and Ginger could have told her all about wages. Before deciding to aim for acting careers, they had read up on the business. Because there's no union for extras, they or their agent would have to negotiate [neh-GO-she-ate]. Extras hope to get a good sum of money, but they have to ask for it; it's not a sure thing. If an actor lands a silent bit, he will make more money. A silent bit is a part in which an actor has no lines, but he appears on camera doing something that helps move the story along. A silent bit is more important than an extra. The best part is a speaking role. An actor who lands one of those will get a contract. He also can join a union. The Screen Actors Guild is a union that looks out for the actor's best interests. If an actor works on a non-union film, and the film company doesn't pay him, there is nothing he can do about it. He can't take back the time and talent he gave them! Smart actors join the SAG and work only on union films.
8     Rather than explain all that, Matt simply said, "Yes, they do. Now go mind your own business. We're busy."

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