What does a background performer do?
Background performers (also known as "extras") are the people you see in the background on TV shows, film, and commercials. They usually do not have a speaking role and do not require acting skills. You only need to be able to take and follow direction.
When working as a background performer you will wait in a holding room until you are called on set. It is crucial that you do not speak on set unless asked and do not under any circumstances take photos or talk to the actors. In some cases you will be asked to sign a confidentiality agreement or place a tamper-proof tape over the lens of your phone.
Please note that if you do not behave professionally you may be asked to leave and we will be notified with a phone call. This will lead to the immediate suspension of your Toronto Talent Agency membership.
Who can be a background performer?
To be a background performer you must be an Ontario resident with a SIN # or a valid Canadian work permit and have your Worker Health and Safety certificate.
You do not need to have any special skills or talent, but you must be flexible with your schedule and be available all day without any commitments. You will sometimes be required to work for up to 14 hours with early morning or night call times.
Why should I become a member?
It's how we find roles for you! As a TTA member your talent profile and pictures will appear in our database when our casting agents conduct a talent search. This is the first place we look for candidates before posting an open casting announcement. So being a part of our database will give you the most opportunities for work.
Additionally, TTA members pay only 10% commision on gross salary instead of the usual 15%.
How do I register?
Click "Register" on the site menu to create an account on our website. Upon registration you will be sent a link to verify your email address.
Once your email address is verified you can begin filling out your talent profile. This is where you provide photos and information about your appearance and other attributes that are necessary for us to find roles that suit you.
You will be required to complete the Worker Health and Safety course and to upload a photo of your certificate to your profile. You will not be allowed to work without this. You must also have a digital or printed copy with you at every production. The course can be completed for free online in about half an hour.
When your profile is complete you simply need to start your membership with TTA in order to begin showing up in our talent database.
What is the membership fee?
Membership costs $75 annually, but is free for ACTRA members, anyone under 18, or 65 and up.
Do I need professional photos?
We just need to know what you look like so selfies are acceptable as long as they are current and follow our specifications. Selfies must be clear images, not blurry, with no other people, no sunglasses or hat, and we prefer they be taken in natural light against a white or light coloured background.
Ideally you shouldn't have photos more than a year old in your profile. If you have changed your hair colour or style, please upload new photos as soon as possible.
If you are looking for a professional photographer, you can contact Jorge Martinez at [email protected] to set up an appointment.
How do I update my profile?
It's easy! Just log in to your account page to edit any part of your profile at any time. Keeping your profile accurate and up-to-date is the best way to ensure you don't miss out on any opportunities. Changed your hairstyle? New tattoos? There may be a role specifically calling for your new look.
What happens when you find a role for me?
An email will be sent asking for your availability on the dates of the shoot. Please respond to the email as promptly as possible ONLY if you are available on those dates. Simply type "Your name – AVAILABLE" in your reply. If you are not available, please do not respond.
We will sometimes email you additional questions to determine your suitability for a role, or to coordinate additional dates for auditions, fittings, or other such requirements.
What is a "call time"?
That is the day, time and address you are scheduled to show up on set. It is expected that you receive your call time by email usually the night before between 8-11PM or depending on when production ends the day before. If the shoot ends very late, you may even get your call time the morning of your shoot and that means you'll most likely be starting later in the day.
Parking is sometimes available and a map will be provided for the parking location. Follow the signs to "EXTRAS HOLDING" where you will sign in.
When we email you your call time, please respond immediately and put "CONFIRMED - YOUR NAME" in the subject line so we know you are good to go.
What should I wear on set?
Often wardrobe will provide what they want you to wear, but if they don't, your agent will specify what type of outfit to wear or bring.
What do I need to bring to set?
Bring two proofs of Ontario residency (e.g. a government issued ID such as your driver's license plus a bank statement, phone bill, utility bill, or tax assessment) and a digital or printed copy of your Health and Safety certificate.
Lunch and beverages will be provided if you work more than 6 hours. But we suggest you bring some snacks as it is not always provided at the regular time. Be sure you bring your own food if you have special dietary requirements.
What is a voucher?
When you arrive in "Extras Holding" let them know you are with Toronto Talent Agency. You will be provided with a white or yellow voucher. You must clearly write your name, SIN# and our agency address:c/o Toronto Talent Agency
PO Box 54024 – Lawrence Plaza
Toronto, ON M6A 3B7
Make sure before you leave that you sign out and get a copy of your completed voucher with start and end time. This will determine how much you will be paid. You will receive a copy for your records. PLEASE TAKE A PICTURE OF YOUR VOUCHER AND EMAIL IT TO US.
How, when and what do I get paid?
The production company will cut you a check within 14 business days of your work date based on your hours worked and rate of pay. You will be paid a minimum of 8 hours regardless of how many hours you worked.
- Regular background performer: $14/hr
- Special skill background performance (SSE): $36.75/hr / Overtime $55.25/hr
Payment is taken off your gross salary (not net).
How much commission do I have to pay your agency?
|Non-Union or AABP||TTA or ACTRA Members*|
|Regular background performances||15%||10%|
|Commercials, music videos, upgrades, vouchers||15%||15%|
* Anyone with an active TTA membership as well as Full or Apprentice ACTRA members or AABP.
How do I pay commission?
All commission must be paid directly to Toronto Talent Agency by Visa, Mastercard, Apple Pay, Debit Card directly from the invoice we send you.
Payment is due the same day we invoice you and you cannot be booked for future dates until your account is settled with us.
Why do I need an agent?
An agent is someone known to the casting community and with qualified references which enable them to promote and endorse your talents to the industry. They have knowledge of projects not available to the general public. Agents will represent you and be able to secure work for you. In order to get background work, you will require an agent to speak on your behalf and coordinate with casting directors; this includes but is not limited to scheduling auditions, bookings, fittings and callbacks. Agents are responsible for making sure you get paid fairly and can also help guide your career in the direction you want it to go.
What is ACTRA?
Please visit actratorontoeducation.com to learn more about becoming a union member.
How do I get my kids involved?
If you have an interested child who is well-behaved and able to take direction, there are two ways you can proceed. If you are interested in performing alongside your child you can add them in the "family" section of your own talent profile. Or you can create a separate account for your child so that they have their own talent profile in our database.
Either way, make sure you upload the best, most recent photo of your child and update it regularly.
We accept applications for all ages and there is no membership fee for those under 18.
Please see the minors page for more information.
What form of payment do you accept?
Only credit card payments at this time or cheque to be mailed. Be sure to include the production name, date and your legal name and mail to:Toronto Talent Agency
PO Box 54024 – Lawrence Plaza
Toronto, ON M6A 3B7
Prompt payment must be made at the time you receive your invoice and can be paid directly from the invoice when you select "Credit Card".