What to expect on set:
Stepping onto a movie set for the first time is kind of like waking up in a foreign land. Everything appears chaotic and without order and people speak a different language. Surprisingly, movie sets are incredibly organized and every person working on the set knows exactly (usually) what they are supposed to be doing, despite how it looks.
As a background actor, you will be responsible for getting yourself to set on time (‘on time’ means 20 minutes early, as a PA famously said… “if you’re not early, you’re late.”) Once you’ve made it to the check-in area—usually the catering area, a person from the Extras Casting Department will be there to check you in and have paperwork for you to fill out. Please bring your unexpired driver’s license and your Social Security card, as you will be required to fill out an I-9 and a W-4 form. Once your paperwork is completed a Production Assistant (also known as a PA or sometimes they are called ADs which stands for Assistant Director) will take you to the wardrobe and hair and makeup departments to get you ready before they take you to the movie set.
How do I find out what time to show up?
This is a very, very important question to ask, but it has a very, very, VERY confusing answer. The answer is, “We don’t know what the start time is.” We never know the start time until the night before you work. We don’t know because the start time (or calltime) depends on when the company finishes (wraps) the night before. We post the calltime on a blog. You check this site the night before you work and it will tell you exactly what time and where you need to be.
Do I get paid for being an extra?
Yes. Extras are hired at a pay rate usually above minimum wage. Usually you are paid a guaranteed rate for 8 hours and anything over 8 hours is considered overtime (time and half.) This isn’t always the case, each movie production is it’s own independent business entity and makes decision as such. Latham Casting is not a payroll department, we do not handle any kind of accounting issues. All payroll issues are managed through accounting dept in the movie’s production company.
Do I need to bring my own food?
No, usually the movie production provides food, water and snacks for the background actors. You are welcome to bring your own snacks but there will usually be food provided for you while you are on set.
A few other important things to remember:
You are responsible for getting yourself to/from set. You are responsible for finding your calltime. If you do not receive your paycheck in a timely manner (say 4 weeks) you need to contact the payroll or accounting department, Latham Casting is not a payroll/accounting company, we only hire you for the production company. The paperwork you fill out the day you come to set will have the payroll contact information. Latham Casting will also have the contact information for the accounting dept.