For the possibility of fame and fortune, or just plain fun, over 1000 people showed up on April 1 for an open casting call for extras on a new TV show, Animal Kingdom, to be shot in Oceanside. Central Casting, the catch-all casting agency for Hollywood films, was expecting around 500 people.
Doors opened at 11:00 a.m. at the Oceanside Civic Center Plaza; by then the line had already wrapped around the center’s courtyard area. By noon, over 600 people wrapped around the block. Central Casting had to close down the line, advising the hundreds who arrived throughout the day that they could go online if they still wanted to register.
“We want people from Oceanside. We want all kinds. We want people from here to watch the show to say, ‘Hey, that’s my town!’” said Josh, a production assistant.
Central Casting got its wish: surfers, kids, families, bikers, skaters, students, homeless, hippies, and a business suit or two showed up.
Once inside, each person had to fill out a nine-page application packet. Daily pay would be discussed if one receives a call-back. According to the website TVTix.com, base pay for non-union extras is $54 for up to an eight-hour day. Union members, of which a certain number are required to be hired on set, are paid double the non-union rate. There are significant pay-rate increases for overtime, wardrobes changes, or hazardous conditions. Film sets usually include free food.
After waiting in line for hours, there were no interviews or discussions with casting directors, other than taking one’s picture for Central Casting’s Southern California database, which, according to their website, totals over 60,000 extras.
Oceanside’s Tyson said he had some time on his hands, now that he’s between jobs, “My wife thought I’d fit the gritty Oceanside image,” he said. MiraCosta College student Joseph wants to be an actor and hoped becoming an extra would get him some notice.
Gary from Cardiff has had plenty of acting experience, but decades earlier. “My biggest claim to fame was my mom being told that I wasn’t fat enough to play the role of Tanner Boyle, the overweight catcher in the Bad News Bears ,” said Gary. “When I did Hot Wheels commercials, they didn’t like my fingers, so they brought in a kid hand model.”
The dark drama for TNT will need from 20 to 100 extras per day for their shooting schedule: April 19–22 and June 14–18.
Show producers, while welcomed in the city, had an issue with city officials the previous day over their YouTube trailer and advance press, which referred to Oceanside as “gritty.”
City councilman Jerry Kern said, while checking out the seemingly endless line, “We worked it out.” (A decade ago, city officials were up in arms when a sports TV biography on NFL star Junior Seau called his Oceanside hometown “gang-infested.”)
The trailer on the new TNT show was filmed in Oceanside last fall.
Footnote: In the first group of 200, the writer spent three and a half hours standing in line, finally completing the casting process. To one question on the application, “Would you appear nude?” the writer answered “no.”