Hengdian is a town with 30 square kilometers in Southeast China, located in Zhejiang province. It is given the name “Hollywood of East” or “Chinawood.” At the beginning of 1990s, Hengdian was the home of Chinese theater and film industry. Since then, numerous TV or movies are shot in Hengdian. The movies sets are spread in about 20 square kilometers in central area of Hengdian that make Hengdian the largest studio of the world. According to statistics from the Hengdian Actors' Union, there are more than 6,000 actors registered; about 4,000 are between the ages of 20 and 30.
Currently, Hengdian world studio has Guangzhou Street, Hong Kong Street, Ming and Qing Palace, Qinwang Palace, Qingming Shanghe Tu, Dream Valley, Jiangnan Water Town, Ming and Qing Residential Exhibition City, Huaxia Cultural Park, Pingyan Cave, Dazhi Zen Temple, Republic Street, Spring and Autumn Garden, Tang Palace and more than ten film and television shooting bases spanning thousands of years of history and time, as well as more than a dozen Class A (Films) Grade B (TV) studios. The huge base scale, abundant shooting set scenes, professional clothing, props, make-up, equipment, scenery, artistic service team, large group of movie extras and free movie set scenes and many other advantages have attracted a large number of film and television drama groups from all over the world. Hengdian has become an international film and television shooting base, where produced Chinese most films and TV dramas (more than 1200), and attracted increasing numbers of foreign films producers. In 2004, Hengdian Film and Television Industry Experimental Zone was established as the only national-level film and Television Industry Experimental Zone in China.
Corner of Ming Qing palace
Understanding the ranks of movie extras in Hengdian
A group of extras at scene
In Hengdian, it is understood that the movie extras are mainly divided into two categories: ordinary movie extra and special actors. Special actors are subdivided into three types - “small special”, “medium special” and “large special”.
Ordinary movie extras are generally only actors who temporarily act as environmental backgrounds or foregrounds without any fixed script lines.They also call it "background actor" or "foreground actor".
The special actors are different compared to the ordinary movie extras. They are all selected from the ordinary. The strength is that they can quickly understand the director’s intentions and comprehend connotations of the role. The requirements for special actors are also higher, which focus more on their body shape, appearance and experience of acting. There are usually a few script lines for special actors and the lines have a momentary meaning in a movie. Thus, special actors can also be known as "minor supporting role".