(Please read this section carefully if you have been hired 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:
SOCIAL INSURANCE NUMBER. YOU WILL NOT BE PAID WITHOUT IT.
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 $12.00 an hour. This changes depending on the production. Please ASK the rate of pay when you are booked. There may be a one hour unpaid lunch break.
Please make sure your mailing address is clearly written on your contract, as your cheque will be mailed to you.It may take up to three weeks for your cheque to arrive.
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:
Please arrive with your hair and makeup done as you do on a normal work day. 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.
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.
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.
I am a Casting Director . The difference between agents and casting directors is that an agent works for the actors - the casting directors work for the producers. An agent will work to get you auditions and do contracts for a percentage of your pay (usually 10%-20% ) .
A casting director is hired by a producer to find background, actors or models for print film or television projects. They are paid a flat rate by the producer depending on the project.
Casting Directors keep profiles of actors, models and just regular folks available to fill any possible role that might appear - so when a producers says I need 15 school kids for a scene tomorrow they go through their database to find suitable people.
Maggie’s website has been an invaluable tool for me to get my acting career off the ground. As someone starting out late in the business (41 years old!) I really had no connections or no way of knowing how to audition for roles, not to mention actually working in the industry. Since I have been in her data base I have been contacted numerous times. I have worked background on Seasons 1 & 2 of CBCs Little Dog, done background work on films such as Black Conflux & more recently the feature film Hammer. I have also had opportunities to work on short films & theatre work. I have made so many connections in the industry & it all stemmed from Maggie’s website. Maggie, Danielle & Alison are FANTASTIC to deal with. If it wasn’t for them I would never have gotten the opportunities I have been involved in! With their help I hope to become a full time Actra member and continue with my passion for acting. Thanks ladies! Michelle Williams
I can't believe how incredibly lucky we are to have Maggie and her Casting by Maggie site. I've gotten so many fun and worthwhile jobs through her posts and legwork. I've done commercials, print ads, films, TV shows... and worked with some pretty well-known NL talent - all thanks to Maggie's site. What an incredible service she is providing for us! Paula Morgan