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"EXTRA" WORK For Brain Surgeons
Hollywood OS Directory, 24th Edition

Author: Bertolino, Angela and Jared Tweedie, Eds.

Review Date: JULY 07, 2006
Publisher: Hollywood OS (544 pp.)
Price (paperback): $27.50
Publication Date: March 10, 2006
ISBN (paperback): 1-893899-24-1
Category: AUTHORS
Classification: NONFICTION

An exhaustive directory for the aspiring background actor.

Angela Bertolino, the current CEO of Hollywood Operating System, and Carla Lewis founded the company in 1997, as an outgrowth of their experiences finding work as film extras. The 24th edition of the HOS Directory is nothing if not comprehensive. Along with instructing extras on how to react during an earthquake on a film set, it includes chapters on professional codes of behavior; membership requirements and pay scales for the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists (AFTRA); actors’ legal rights and responsibilities. It also includes a lengthy list of casting companies, with contact information and inside “scoops.” The directory also makes note of specific agencies’ pet peeves—photos of poor quality, for example—often quoting agents directly: One warns actors not to send candy in the mail.

The editors also include a section called “Fabulous Other,” which lists companies that are too idiosyncratic, too incommunicative, or too shady for inclusion with the reputable, recommended companies. Listings here are entertaining, often because included companies fill such a quirky niche—an agency called Carbon Copies Management, for instance, only manages twins under the age of 18. The overall tone is light and lively, though the informal style occasionally becomes irritating, especially when the writers strive to be hip. A typical example is a standard disclaimer that prefaces the listing of agencies. Labeled as a “Dumb Disclaimer,” the chapter then proceeds with, “Now that we got that crap out of the way….” In addition to this superfluous chatter, the text’s font is often difficult to read, as are the dizzying number of graphics, charts and lists. Nevertheless, this is an indispensable resource for anyone looking for work as an extra.

Authoritative and useful, if flippant and cluttered.

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