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Best Way to See the Stars Up Close 

SF Casting Network

84 First St. (at Mission), 346-CAST, ext. 3, www.sfcastingnetwork.com

Making Hollywood movies isn't quite the glamour fiesta it's made out to be, especially if you don't warrant a 30-foot trailer and a personal assistant. But working as an extra (or "background," to use the industry lingo) has its rewards -- a glimpse of the stars, insight into the craft (and profligacy) of big-budget features, a hot lunch, and enough waiting-around time to polish off that novel you've been slogging through. You'll also meet a colorful array of locals among your anonymous brethren, from aspiring actors between gigs to retired accountants scoring a little extra dough. To get started, register at the SF Casting Network from 2 to 6 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, or Friday. The $25 fee lands you in the database for two years, complete with digital photo. The range of potential paid assignments includes commercials, TV shows, and print ads -- all good things, given the paucity of Hollywood flicks that have come through town in recent years.

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