An extra, sometimes called “background,” is a person in a scene in a movie or TV show who doesn’t speak. There are sometimes “featured extras,” who are seen more and may interact with one of the principle actors.
Yes, all extras we hire at RPM Casting are paid.
Depending on the production company, rates for extras may vary. Typically, the rate is $80 for 10 hours, though it can vary ($102 for 12 hours, for example). The rate will always comply with Louisiana Labor Law.
After the amount of hours listed in the rate, you are paid time-and-a-half overtime. It doesn’t mean you automatically get to leave after that many hours.
Extras are paid by a check in the mail.
When you get to set and check in, the PA (Production Assistant) will hand you paperwork—there will be an I-9 and a voucher from a payroll company (CAPS Universal and EMS Services are the most common). After filling this out completely, you keep the paperwork until the end of the shoot. At that point, a PA will check you out.
At check out, the PA should hand you a voucher receipt, which is the only proof you had that you worked—please keep this in a safe place in case an issue arises with your payment.
Your payment is mailed out about 2 weeks after the day you worked.
If you have any questions about your payment after working, you can call the payroll company. Their phone number is listed on the voucher receipt you are given when you check out.
A bump is a little more money (usually $20) added to your pay for a something special you are asked to bring to set. For instance, if you were asked to bring your car for a scene, you receive a bump on your voucher for it. Some shoots may require people in costume, or with a musical instrument or with some other kind of prop, and for that you are compensated with a bump.
Registering with RPM, as well as with any reputable casting company, is free of charge.
Stand ins are people who stand in place of the actor while the grips are setting up the lights and the director is planning how the scene will be shot. Though we hire professional stand-ins, sometimes extras are asked to be stand-ins for a scene.
There is no need to call our office. We get very specific breakdowns about the people we need every day, and if you fit the criteria, we will contact you. It might be something like “14 people with blue cars” and it distracts us to field calls that begin “I’m calling about the movie/TV show…”
As long as you can be patient, are mobile, can show up on time and follow instructions, you can be an extra. You will also need two VALID (i.e. not expired) forms of ID to fill out your payment voucher.
We encourage everyone to apply—race, size, age doesn’t matter. Minors may only work on set if they have expressed approval and permits with the Department of Labor, and we cannot have them on set, even “just visiting” for insurance reasons.
Movie sets can be chaotic places filled with people and complicated rigging and expensive equipment. Extras are not the priority on set. Please do not be offended if the crew is unpleasant or rude—they are there to do a job and the more people on set, the more complicated their job is.
Every one is different. It could be three hours, or it could be 18. We ask all of our extras to set aside at least 12 hours.
If you cannot stay the entire length of the shoot, you cannot be paid for it. Please be sure to clear your schedule before committing to a shoot.
We book extras the day before the shoot. Because of the ever-changing nature of film shoot schedules, we rarely get more advance notice than that. Please do not call the office and ask to be booked a week from now.
What you can do, however, is send us an email with the dates you are available and we’ll contact you if we need you for that day.
Not at all! As long as we get a recent, honest photograph of you. Ideally, there might be a close-up of head and shoulders and one body shot, taken straight on, with adequate lighting.
First, call the office to let someone know as SOON as you find out. If you can’t get through, leave a message. If you have left a message, please also email us. It is up to you to let us know that you can’t make it. After we’ve put your name down and sent you the email, we expect you to show up. If you don’t show up, it reflects badly on us. You may be one of only one or two extras that day, and your absence can be a huge problem for our office.
We generally do not book people a second time after they’ve no-showed without notice.
Yes, RPM Casting auditions and books actors for principal speaking roles, depending on the project. As acting is a profession, we hire professional actors who are established in the field, usually union members with representation. Please do not call to ask for a speaking role-- if you have submitted your information, you may be called to audition.
We post our breakdowns and agents submit talent based on age, gender, and ethnicity. There is no need to submit yourself.