I Wanna Be in Pictures

By Terri Mason

I recently was asked: 

‘I want to be an extra in a movie, but an extra riding a horse. What do I have to do to make that happen?’

So, I phoned the man who would know and had a quick visit with THE movie horse guy in the West, John Scott of Longview, Alta (Unforgiven, Lord of the Rings), to get the lowdown on what will be filming in the Alberta area this summer that will need horses and riders.

Filming often never stops, but horses on the streets of dusty cowtowns, in a rodeo arena or loping through waving grass are iconic scenes, and the demand for skilled riders is real.

Here’s what’s happening so far:

Recently wrapped was a movie called The Thicket, and Fargo V. Wind River II is currently filming.

Coming up next on the filming schedule is Billy the Kid, another show called Abandoned, the continuation of Ride and, of course, the international favourite, Heartland.

I asked John for a quick lowdown on what it takes to be an extra on horseback or wagons in a movie.

“All horse riding positions are unionized,” John explained. “Wranglers and Drivers have to go through the Teamsters Union, and they’re supposed to have a Class 4 licence.”

What about riding down a dusty trail in a Western?

“If you want to be a Rider in Wardrobe, just riding up and down the street, or a background rider in a modern-day rodeo show like Ride, those riding jobs come through ACTRA (Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists). 

The positions are called a Special Skill Extra or a Wrangler. That pays $41/hour for eight hours and time-and-a-half after that. Those two areas cover it.”

So, there you have it. If you want to be in pictures, saddle up and join a union!

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