Background actors are needed for plays, for film, for commercials - if you want it to look convincing, you need people in the background. Production teams normally can't just shoot with strangers in the background, tons of people don't want to be filmed while they're just trying to get some pizza or something. So what to do? Cue the background actors! But with no real direction, and (let's be honest) nothing really important to offer to the storyline, what exactly do background actors talk about all day long?
One Reddit user asked:
The answers were everything we hoped for and more, lol. Brace yourself for a lot of talking about food, because apparently that's like 90% of being an actor.
Former theater kid here. I generally stuck to small talk and used exaggerated facial expressions/gestures to make it look interesting. When I'd be talking with a friend of mine, we either complained about something that had gone wrong in the show or exchanged a little gossip, lol. Theater was fun.
Friendly neighborhood Sound editor and mixer here!
Their words are almost entirely mouthed. The goal on set is to get the cleanest dialogue AND ONLY the main characters' dialogue. Almost all other sound is made in post. Door creaks, footsteps, clothing noise. This includes background voices. They come from what are called loop groups. And their conversations are normally nonsense so that nothing can be picked out and listened to. There jobs are to sound like mumble without mumbling!