A big fear of mine, and I’m sure many other expats about moving abroad, is finding suitable work, even if retired. When my son & I moved to Baja, Mexico, I was fortunate enough to take my job with me, because I was writing for Yahoo! Even if you’re able to bring your job with you, there’s still a need to get out among the locals to see what other opportunities may be available. Working abroad is a must-have for many expats.
Work Abroad: Responding to Open Casting Calls
I had been on TV and in movies prior to being a mom, and when I noticed flyers being taped to local businesses for auditions at Baja Studios with sign-up dates for an American film – I wanted in! They were casting all types of actors, actresses, backgrounds, and stand-ins to work within the next couple of months in the fall of 2011.
So my son and I went to Baja Studios near our house, to try out for parts in an upcoming English-speaking Christian film promoted for an American market. It was to be a WWII-era film centered around a young boy whose father would go fight in the war.
This production would pump an enormous amount of money into the local Baja economy, and everyone was excited about a chance to be in this film. They chose a few of us to enter the studios and sign up as extras.
The film setting was to appear as a small coastal town in So. California in the 1940s. Familiar with the film industry, I continued to work my day job writing, as it would be another 3 months before getting the call to report to wardrobe for a fitting.
Work Abroad: Worries Over Language Barriers on Set
Although I understood a little Spanish, I found everyone working the film from the famous actors to the stagehands was either bilingual or English-speaking. They called me back for a second day of filming, which was fantastic at $75 USD per day (more than double what Hollywood paid “extras” back in the 90s).
My son was able to come with me for filming, and I took him onto our set to see how a 1940s hospital scene was created in an old 3-story Tijuana schoolhouse, now a historic cultural building.
I’d acted in period pieces filmed in Hollywood before, but this would require me to be dressed like my grandmother, who had grown up in So. CA.
It was uncanny how much I looked like her (in her youth), as the “hair & makeup” team required my long hair to be pinned up under a red beret, and barely wear any makeup, staying authentic to the era.
My son and I even sat at the same lunch table as the film’s producer and actor, Eduardo Verastegui (a big name in Mexican TV and known for starring in and producing the pro-life movie “Bella”).
The entire cast and crew were warm, friendly, and sincere in their production of the “Little Boy” movie.
Photos below show my eye-blink part in the hospital scene, which took 2 days to film. I am behind the main actors at the bedside of my “injured husband”. These frames, taken straight from the DVD, are courtesy of Open Road – Metanoia Films.
Work Abroad: Connecting With The Right People
Over the six years we lived in Baja, I filmed a couple of movies through the same casting company that hired me in “Little Boy”, Agencia Barbarella Casting on Facebook.
Anyone can reply to their casting calls for work in the Northern Baja area of Mexico. Once signed up with this professional agency, they will treat you like family, and you will be paid immediately after filming, in cash (Mexican pesos).
My son and I were even cast as background at the famous Rosarito Beach Hotel, in an upscale-restaurant scene of the movie “Your Move”, starring and directed by actor Lou Goss. Unfortunately, we were not seen in this film, and sometimes that happens.
Work Abroad: Worldwide Casting For TV, Films & Commercials
I recently signed up with an online casting company and film-industry social media site called “Project Casting“. Although roles are mainly for work in America, there have also been many opportunities in Australia, and the U.K., and as time goes on, will probably cover more areas of the world.
Expats shouldn’t shy away from trying new things in different countries, but make new friends, and know that others will help you understand where to go and what to do while performing on a movie set. You won’t need any talent to do background work, but it will still be fun for the family if you’re able to work “background” together, and get paid for it.
What country will you visit and do “extra” work for TV or movies? Tell us about your experiences and the fun you had!
by: Cheri Majors, M.S.