What do I need to work in the film industry?
You’ll need a realistic view of what working in the industry is like and availability or flexibility in your schedule. The first step is finding the right talent agent for the work you’d like to do. Though finding an agent isn’t too hard, finding one that works with you and your goals is harder. We favour quality over quantity, working with our background performers on an individual basis. Our goal is to get to know you and help you move up in the industry.
What’s the difference between a “Principal Agent” and “Background Agent”?
A principal agent deals with experienced actors who have the skills to get lead acting jobs. To work as a lead you will need a demo “reel” and a resume of industry work or skills.
A background agent works with all performers, from those new to the industry to those who work background jobs when not doing lead work, these agents focus on background extras.
What’s the next step after I’ve been accepted onto your roster?
We next need to build your profile. We’ll collect photos, any videos that may showcase what you have to offer, information such as wardrobe sizes, and a list of your relevant skills. We use all this information to submit you for work.
Do I need professional “head shots”?
No, a good collection of up-to-date photographs will do. There are many great photographers around the city if you’d like to take advantage of their skills. If you’re quite busy with many jobs, you may want to get head shots to upgrade your profile.
What is agencyclick.com?
This is a website where many casting directors post casting calls or “requests”.
What comes next after I’ve been booked for work?
We walk you through any questions you may have to make sure you are fully informed and ready to go to set. We also have information on our website and will try to answer any questions you have ASAP!
What do I need to bring to set?
Documents, Wardrobe, Map, a PEN
On every job you will need to bring photocopies of your documents listed below, the wardrobe required and the parking location (map) given in the finals. Also have or know your Social Insurance Number (SIN) and/or a COPY of a Valid Working Visa.
Everyone is required to bring photocopies of two types of Documents to prove BC Residency
- Your 2014 or 2015 TAX Assessment
- Driver’s License or BC ID
- Medical Bill
- BC Hydro Bill Etc.
- Telephone Bills DO NOT count
Some productions use use an online system where you can upload your documents so please also have photos of your documents on your cell phone.
Documents when children are working
Children also need to bring two copies of the above but the parent or guardian who is on set with them will also need to bring a photocopy of one of the above documents.
You will receive a wardrobe page with your “calltimes”, these explain how you are expected to look and dress when you arrive on set and what additional clothing to bring. It is better to bring items you are unsure of then to bring nothing at all. Showing up empty-handed could result in you being turned away from set and sent home without pay. You may also be asked to do a fitting or virtual wardrobe in advance of work.
Getting to set
A map will be sent with the finals. You will need to make note of “Crew parking/Circus”, “BG Check-in/Holding” and “set location/stage”. As a general rule, background performers park in crew parking and are shuttled to set.
Always allot extra time for traffic, getting lost, parking, shuttling and finding “BG Holding” or “Background Holding”.
Once you’ve parked, you need to find “BG Holding/Check-in”, where you will find the “wranglers”. It’s their job to keep you informed, to help you with any questions, to bring you to set and to tell you when your day is done. They will take the documents you brought with you and give you paperwork to fill out. You will also need to see them to sign off on your pay sheet when you’re finished work/wrapped at day’s end. Always bring your own pen to set for filling out paperwork.
We are wrapped how do I get paid?
The payroll company has two weeks to process your pay and mail it to us. We have five days to process your pay and send it off to you.
How much does my agent take off of my pay?
We take 10% on all background “base pay” jobs and 15% on any union scale jobs etc.
Background extras earn minimum wage + 4% vacation + 10% agent fee. Other pay rates can go up from there.
We also charge an annual photography fee of $25, which is taken off of your first cheque.
What happens if I need to cancel a booking?
Contact your agent as soon as you know there’s a conflict preventing you from being on set. If you are scheduled to work, you are expected to be there. Frequently missing days could result in being suspended or removed from our roster. No-Shows with out notification are cause for immediate removal from our agency.
My booking has been canceled, why?
A last minute booking cancellation can happen, however rare. It has nothing to do with you and everything to do with the production. Schedules in the industry are often based on work completed the day before and can change last minute details for the next day’s shoot. We will do our best to contact you as soon as we are aware of a cancellation.
Union Background vs Non-union Background, what the difference?
Information on the union can be found below and on their website. It’s possible to be hired on a “union permit”, meaning you will be making union wages even if you’re not a UBCP/ACTRA member. Every shoot has to hire a certain number of union members, but if there are none to fill the positions, other performers who are hired must be paid union rates or based on special requirements for the role union members are not able to fill the roles.
How do I get in the union?
Visit the UBCP/ACTRA website for information on joining the union.
All children must always be accompanied by an adult when on set, without exception. Sets are large and filled with all kinds of equipment. The law requires minors to be chaperoned as per the ministry regulations.
You will be given a “prepping the performer” document that will cover most etiquette questions, please read it carefully and ask the Wranglers if you need further info.
– don’t look at the camera
– follow directions closely and ask for clarification when needed
– don’t talk to the actors or take photos of them
– no phones on set
– no posting on social media about the set or the job
– don’t speak or make noise unless directed to
– if you need to leave holding briefly, let the wranglers know and tell them where to find you
– always dress for the weather; make sure you have things to keep you dry and warm
– bring sunscreen and stay hydrated
– there is often a lot of waiting to be on set, so bring something to keep you busy (a cellphone charger, book, etc.). Please remember to leave these items in holding, as they’re not okay on set.
– there is sometimes no place to do this so be prepared with gum or an alternative.
There are snacks and drinks available and also a hot meal after a certain number of hours worked. If you have allergies or dietary concerns please bring your own food and snacks.
If at any time you are injured or feel unsafe you must immediately speak w the Assistant Director. Safety is number one, “see something, say something”.