Jobs for foreigners in Thailand
One day in our first month living in Thailand, we met up with an acquaintance of of my boyfriend’s, who invited us out for some drinks on Facebook. The next time we met up with him I mentioned that I needed work while living in Thailand and couldn’t find any suitable jobs for foreigners. At this point he suggested I do modelling or Extra work in Thailand and that he could hook me up with a friend of his who did this… In my experience, people tend to make a lot of empty offers but never really pull through with their promises, so I didn’t think anything would come of this Extra work in Thailand and took it with a pinch of salt.
Well, to my surprise the next day, I got a message from this friend, giving me the friend of a friend’s details and telling me to email her for advice. I was taken a little off guard and to be honest, absolutely hated the idea of contacting a complete stranger for help and job advice… it kind of made me cringe. But… this friend of mine who I had only met twice now, was kind enough to try and help me find work and I was really grateful. So, I had to contact this person for his sake. And I did. Long story short, I met up with this girl who turned out to be most awesome – she hooked me up with her agent and I had a job as an Extra in a Bollywood movie in Bangkok the next day after meeting her.
Extra work in Thailand
Extra work in Thailand can differ greatly from job to job, so if you like a little variation in your work then it can be a more interesting option than teaching English or working within a company in an office. Some Extra jobs can start at 4am in the morning, some can start a 2pm in the afternoon. Sometimes you will finish after 4 hours and other times you could end up working 18 hours with overtime. You could be expected to dance and celebrate at a nightclub or merely sit doing nothing in the background.
Quite often, you will be expected to literally just walk backwards and forwards over and over again. You may be taken to grand mansions set 100 miles out of Bangkok or maybe just work in an abandoned warehouse in the centre. Sometimes you get time to snooze in the sun, sometimes they really get there money’s worth out of you, barely giving you time to eat and repeating over 30 takes of the same scene. There are nice directors in Thailand and there are bad ones that don’t treat you so well.
The only downside of extra work in Bangkok is that it is freelance, so your pay will vary depending on how much work you can find. It can be good fun though, and you get to meet so many interesting people. I also still find it intriguing now to see the adverts and movies from a perspective behind the scenes, although I never actually know the names to be able to look up the finished result.
Anyway, for a standard 12 hour long work day in Thailand, you can get paid from 1500 baht (£30 or $50). It seems low at first but you do need to remember that the minimum wage in Thailand is only 300 baht for a 12 hour day, so it really helps to keep this in mind before you start getting too greedy! However saying that, if you are really lucky, you might find an extra job in Thailand that pays 3000 baht (£60 or $100), or if you get a few lines you can even earn from 4000 baht upwards.
Many people I have met, got involved in Extra work the same way as me – through word of mouth. So sometimes it really pays to be a Yes man! Life and work in Bangkok all seems to be about word of mouth, unlike in the West, you just don’t seem to find everything in adverts in papers or on google in Thailand.
Extra work in Thailand tips
Here are some casting agencies in Bangkok that I have researched and been recommended. If you are in need of work in Bangkok, then it is worth a try sending some photos and your profile through these websites and asking for extra work:
Facebook: Wattnott Talent
Facebook: Orange Talent agency
Facebook: Banana Casting
Extra work is ideal for foreigners in Thailand and you don’t need to worry about a work permit. You do not need to concern yourself too much with having professional shots to send to agencies – I only have rubbishy pictures myself – but it would help if you happen to have some to hand. But the first step when starting work as an extra in Thailand is getting your foot in the door. It helps immensely if you have contacts but this is just down to luck… If you can just get one agent interested in you, it will be much easier to find work in Thailand from then on out.
After I stopped getting work with my first agent in Bangkok, I sent my details and photos to some other agencies and never heard anything back from any of them. A couple of months later in Thailand though, I had a random phone call from an agency I had never even heard of before, offering me work. I can only assume my previous agent had maybe passed my details on, I really have no idea. At this particular job that they gave me, I met an agent from yet another different company who gave me his business card – this was actually one of the agencies I had applied to and not heard back from. So it really helps to meet people personally on the set in Thailand when you have the opportunity.