Working as an Extra

Please take the time to read the following notes about working on a film or television production as a Background Performer (also known as an Extra).  Please note this is general information and you may be given more specific instructions for your particular day.


•Call (when arrive on location) times and Wrap (finish) times are subject to change. We will do our best to give you an estimate of how long it will take, but generally YOU MUST BE AVAILABLE THE WHOLE DAY/EVENING. 

•Schedules can change frequently due to weather, script changes, or a host of other circumstances. Because of this, we are unable to guarantee work on a particular day. We strongly discourage taking time off work and risking loss of income. 

•Please make yourself available by phone and e-mail so we can keep in touch with you. Call time is often early, so get a good sleep the night before and give yourself plenty of time to find the location.


•As much as we hate last minute dropouts, we ask that you don’t come in if you are coughing badly or otherwise possibly contagious.


•When you arrive on set, say you are a Background Performer and ask where to go. There will be an "Extras Holding Area" designated.

•Bring a pen. There are lots of forms to fill out.

We require proof of residency and proof of citizenship or permanent residency. Please bring:


•driver's licence OR a photocopy of a utility bill with your address on it (private info blacked out) AND

•a photocopy of your MCP OR birth certificate OR the first page of your passport.

•If you are not a citizen or permanent resident, you must bring a copy of your work visa/permit and social insurance number.

•Background Performers are generally paid $10.75 an hour.  There may be a one hour unpaid lunch break.

•It may take up to three weeks for your cheque to arrive. Please make sure your mailing address is clearly written, as your cheque will be mailed to you.


CHILDREN UNDER 16 ARE NOT PERMITTED TO WORK WITHOUT A CHAPERONE – a responsible person 21 years of age or older who is a parent or someone authorized by a parent to sign a paperwork on your behalf. If you are under 16 and do not have a S.I.N., write in "Child" and put your date of birth where the S.I.N. should be.


If you have been asked to provide your own wardrobe there are a few things to remember.

•Wear wardrobe as per instructions of the day and bring one other set of clothes for an option. Make sure they are clean and ready to wear. The wardrobe crew will take a look at you before you go before the camera.

•Colours: most colours are fine. Neutrals are best. (See below for exceptions.)

•BE PREPARED FOR THE SEASONS. If it is summer, bring sunscreen. In winter, coat, hats, boots and mitts are essential for in-between shooting, even if they're not what you wear on camera.  

•Things to avoid:

•Logos of any kind.

•Red, neons, grey, all black or all white (eg. a white shirt with a suit would be okay)

•Geometric designs or stripes.

•Black suit jackets. (if possible)

•Loud shoes. Soft-soled shoes are a must! Even flipflops are loud.  Closed-toed shoes are also important for safety.  No white or florescent sneakers.


Women should arrive with their hair and makeup done. Don't overdo it. Keep it plain and natural. The Hair and Makeup Crew will take a quick look at you before you go on camera.  MEN – same thing, without the makeup!  ;0)


•Please inform us of any food allergies.

•Do not bring any nuts on set. We have severe allergies in cast and crew.

•Do not wear perfumes or colognes.



•Turn off cell phones on and around set.

•Cameras are also not permitted on set!  No pictures of the set or actors are allowed.

•Please remain quiet on set. Sometime, when you're standing around for a long time, it's easy to slip into normal conversation. Remember to keep it down.

•The crew and actors are very focused on their work. Please do not chit chat with the director, actors or crew, unless it's their initiative. Please don't ask for autographs from actors.

•Background Performers are directed by the Assistant Director (A.D.) Your person on set will be the 1st, 2nd or 3rd AD. You may be signed in by the T.A.D. (Trainee Assistant Director) or a Production Assistant. You are not expected to know exactly what to do. Just follow the AD's directions and you will be fine.


•Rolling: Camera is rolling

•Background: cue for background action

•Action: cue for actors

•Cut: stop action

•First Position or First Mark: go back to where you started


There will be a separate snack table (Craft Services) provide for Background with coffee, juice and snacks. Lunch may be provided as well, depending on your arrival time. Union rules dictate that crew must be served first.


Parking for BG Performers may not be provided if the location is congested.


•If you are taking a bus, make sure you have a way home in case your route is not running at wrap time.

•If you are driving, allow yourself enough time to find a parking place and bring change for meters if necessary. Be forewarned that you might get trapped on set when your meter is due. Unfortunately:



There can be a lot of "hurry up and wait" in this business. Sitting around for hours and then rushing to be in the right place when you're needed. Bring a deck of cards or a book to keep yourself occupied. IPods are fine as long as they are not loud and you can still pay attention to what's going on around you.