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About Us

 

Uni-versalEXTRAS Ltd was established in 2005 by a student, for students. The company soon opened its books to 'non-students' and has since become the leading Casting Agency placing Extras across the whole of the UK and Ireland. Working on a string of award winning productions, Uni-versalEXTRAS portfolio and reputation continues to grow.

Wayne Berko founded the company with the belief that students should be able to supplement their studies working in rewarding and well-paid part time roles. Working from a university bedroom, Uni-versalEXTRAS’ first production ‘Seconds from Disaster’ was a documentary for the National Geographic Channel about the Hindenburg Disaster. By 2006, Wayne had been named one of Europe’s top entrepreneurs by ‘Business Week’ and had also become an ambassador for the government backed scheme ‘Make your Mark’, promoting entrepreneurial spirit in young people.

After its initial success, Uni-versalEXTRAS opened its books to 'non-students' in 2007 to cater to the diverse requirements of production companies. As they strove for realism in their films, Uni-versalEXTRAS began to harness not only the looks of its Extras but also their skills. People of all ages and from all backgrounds were required to deliver the first class service the agency is renowned for today.

To be closer to its clients, Uni-versalEXTRAS relocated its head office to the prestigious Pinewood Film Studios in 2009. The company has continued to grow organically, employing new staff to meet the demands of the entertainment industry. In many ways the current economic climate has made Uni-versalEXTRAS key objectives even more important: the company has a duty to find well-paid opportunities for its members.


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Meet the team

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Wayne Casting

Since establishing Uni-versalEXTRAS in 2005, Wayne’s passion for delivering on casting no matter how hard the brief has helped the company go from strength to strength. With over 15 years' experience, he has managed the casting of Supporting Artists for many of the world’s biggest films and TV shows. His knowledge of the industry is unparalleled and is relied upon by clients looking for advice on castings, budgets and logistics.

Fun Fact:
In his younger years Wayne was voted one of the top 15 young entrepreneurs of Europe by Business Week.

 

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Helen Casting

Helen has over 20 years of film and TV industry experience as a scriptwriter, producer and assistant director. She has also previously done street casting, finding people who have gone on to have full-time careers as the leads in BBC dramas and feature films. After joining the Casting Team in 2016, Helen settled in fast and has already managed major productions and led open castings for feature films.

Fun Fact:
Helen loves tea, but only in a white cup. Nothing else will suffice!

 

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Amy Casting

Amy is a Welsh wonder from the city of Cardiff with dragons on her car number plates. After studying courses in Media Production, Script Supervision and Production Management, Amy worked for several years in the industry before joining us in 2015. In her spare time she can be found feeding her goldfish, drinking tea and walking dogs from her local shelter.

Fun Fact:
A genealogist once told Amy that her surname means “Heavenly Voice” in old Welsh. She is now the voice of our answering machine.

 

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Stephanie Casting

Stephanie grew up in sunny Malta, making her the most exotic member of the team! She gained experience working in the film industry as a hobby alongside her degree in Biomedical Science. Indeed it was film that won her heart over science, and after graduating she started work as a freelance casting director. Since joining Uni-versalEXTRAS she has cast numerous commercials.

Fun Fact:
Life is cheap for Stephanie because despite being 26, she is small enough to wear kids clothing!

 

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Oliver Casting

Oliver graduated with a degree in Digital Film Production and has a passion for writing and directing short films. In his first year at Uni-versalEXTRAS he was the project assistant for a major feature film and also found a very tall lady for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them! Outside of work, he supports Manchester United – our understanding is that he doesn’t really like football and it’s the only team he has heard of.

Fun Fact:
Oliver has a twin brother who studies Politics at Cambridge University.

 

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Claire Casting

Claire has come a long way since growing up on a rural farm in Devon! Running the film society at Lancaster University made her the film buff that we know today. Claire is a warrior, remaining cool as a cucumber under the stress and pressures of everyday casting - she credits this to her love of the Fallout video game franchise.

Fun Fact:
Claire loves food so much that she created an award-winning ‘Pickled Sprouts’ preserve.

 

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Paushali Casting

Born in Calcutta, Paushali moved to London when she was just four years old and eventually went on to study at the Met Film School gaining a BA degree in Practical Film Making. She joined Uni-versalEXTRAS with a wealth of previous casting experience in England and abroad, and has already been a project assistant for a massive Disney remake. Paushali takes everything thrown at her in her stride.

Fun Fact:
Paushali has previously taught Bollywood dancing in London and is quite the mover!

 

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Ella Casting

Ella grew up in Cornwall and joined Uni-versalEXTRAS following a degree in Digital Video Production and Film Studies at the University of West London. She has already assisted with the casting of some major blockbuster feature films. When she’s not in the office, you’ll find Ella curled up in front of the TV catching up on the Great British Bake Off or watching a classic movie like Schindler’s List or Carol.

Fun Fact:
If Ella had studied at Hogwarts, she would have been sorted into Ravenclaw.

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Anil Casting

Anil grew up in Enfield and graduated from the University of Hertfordshire where he studied Film & TV Production. Fresh from creating a range of content during his course, Anil joined our Casting Team full of enthusiasm. When he’s not busy casting, you’ll probably find him in front of the telly watching Narcos or button bashing a PS4 controller.

Fun Fact:
Anil once bumped into Alison Steadman in the Pinewood Studios canteen, and they even met eyes. Cute!

 

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Tom Casting

Tom is a cheeky chap who actually comes from royalty… well, Royal Leamington Spa to be precise. He studied Film at Oxford Brookes University and has also produced a number of short films of his own. If you ever get a chance to speak to Tom about anything other than casting, make sure you ask him about his rather bizarre collection of naan bread.

Fun Fact:
Tom’s prized asset is a genuine 1962 peshwari naan bread he inherited from his grandfather.

 

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Liana Accounts/HR

Born at Queen Charlotte’s Hospital alongside Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) and the Queen (Dame Helen Mirren), it was clear that Liana was set for stardom from an early age. Having originally qualified as a solicitor, she now manages the growing team at Uni-versalEXTRAS and has not looked back since.

Fun Fact:
In the early 1990s Liana screamed so loudly as an audience member on Top of the Pops that she won tickets for an additional six weeks.

 

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Aidan Accounts

Born and raised in Reading (Britain’s biggest town), Aidan is currently working towards a Business Administration qualification. Outside of the office he is a passionate musician with his own home studio. Aidan has a musician’s ear, so if you play him a song he’ll be able to repeat it back to you. He is also deeply fascinated by chemistry and astronomy.

Fun Fact:
Aidan now brushes shoulders with the stars… well, Will Ferrell once held a door open for him!

 

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William Marketing

William joined Uni-versalEXTRAS in 2012 after gaining a Master’s degree from Keele University. He knows the company website better than anyone, having designed much of its functionality. He has also helped to run open castings across the UK. In his spare time, William is a multi-instrumentalist and also does sound design for independent film projects.

Fun Fact:
William’s uncle was a professional golfer who held the course record at Augusta.

See Will's articles in our EXTRAS Blog.

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Lorraine Admin

Lorraine started working for Uni-versalEXTRAS in 2012 with a strong track record in roles for the film and entertainment industries. When she’s not working hard answering queries, managing profiles and assisting our various teams to guarantee we supply a smooth casting service, Lorraine enjoys swimming and making gourmet chocolates.

Fun Fact:
During her school years, Lorraine was a ball girl at Queens Tennis Club and was once knocked unconscious by an Ilie Năstase serve.

 

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Paige Admin

Paige first came to Pinewood Studios with her school to be on a science program called ‘Experimental’. Fast-forward more than a decade and she returned to join the esteemed Uni-versalEXTRAS Activation Team. She now has the joy of talking to our wonderful members and dealing with their queries on a daily basis. Away from the constantly ringing phones, Paige loves music, shopping and travelling.

Fun Fact:
Her name is the cause of many a hilarious pun. Are we on the same Paige?

 

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Chloe Admin

Chloe answers more phone calls in a day than most people could even imagine. She has activated countless members since joining our Activation Team in mid 2017. Destined to work in entertainment from an early age, Chloe starred in her first TV advert at just 6 years old. In her spare time she loves music, shopping and the great outdoors.

Fun Fact:
For her 18th birthday Chloe went paragliding through the Alps… whoosh!

 

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