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People choose to do Background work for many reasons; it’s a way to gain experience on a film set or to earn additional money or an opportunity to meet friends and other members of the community. Regardless of your reasons, you should take your participation in the production seriously and you should always conduct yourself in a professional manner. Please read the following section carefully if you are interested in doing background work.

How Can I Do Background Work?

It’s quite simple. Just contact each of the Casting Directors on our list and inquire about getting into their roster. Chances are, they will require a photo and resume (with physical details) from you and some may charge a small registration IF YOU ARE NOT A MEMBER OF ACTRA. Remember, not all Casting Agents are the same and they may not all be looking for new people.

Members interested in doing work may take advantage of ACTRA’s Background Database background.ACTRAonline.ca. Just log in and update your profile page.

Can I work for Cash as a Member or Apprentice Member?

No. It’s just that simple. If you are a Full Member or Apprentice Member of ACTRA, you must work on a voucher or you will be in violation of the ACTRA By-Laws and Constitution.

How Much Does Background Work Pay (in Film & TV)?

Check the relevant collective agreement for the most current rates.

Can I Eat with the Crew?

Apprentice Members and Full Members who are background performers have the right to eat the same meal as the crew, but do not necessarily have to eat with the crew. That decision will probably be made for you as determined by the space available on set.

What are some tips?

  • Under certain circumstances (as defined by the collective agreement), production may not provide you with a meal during your lunch break, so be prepared – just in case!
  • If you have a question, ask the person who is in responsible for Background Performers (generally the 3rd A.D.). Do not disturb the Director or others.
  • Stay quiet. This is essential!
  • Be responsible and use common sense.

Yes, a background performer does not always get as much attention as other performers. Yes, there are sometimes hundreds of you on set. But remember that you are still on a contract with the production which requires that you behave in a conscientious and professional manner in accordance with our collective agreements, by-laws and constitution.

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