Topsheet provides COVID-19 touchless payroll for productions
March 15, 2022

Casting extras for film and television is an essential part of the filmmaking process. Let’s talk about how Topsheet has managed to make extra handling fast, simple, and pain-free for all involved.

What is an extra?

An extra is a background actor who helps create the atmosphere for the scene. Imagine with me for a moment, a scene set in New York City, Los Angeles, or maybe Atlanta, Georgia, where our two main characters are walking down an empty street. No cars parked. No random people walking by. No one in the restaurants they pass. It would seem like our two characters were the only ones left on the planet. It wouldn’t feel right. It wouldn’t look right. Film extras and tv extras are essential for filmmaking.

Are extras in movies paid?

Most of the time, extras are paid. The only instance in which they are not paid is as a favor to a friend who is making a student film or an ultra-low-budget indie film who also calls in all the favors in exchange for pizza or tacos. Everyone else, union and non-union alike, are paid for their time spent on set. And rates may vary slightly.

Through June 2022, SAG-AFTRA background actors will get a day rate of $182. July 2022- June 2023, SAG-AFTRA background actors will receive a day rate of $187. The rate may vary if you are considered a “special ability” background actor or if you get bumped up to “stand-in” or “photo double”. Special ability background actors will receive $192 as a daily rate through June 2022 and July 2022- June 2023 will receive a day rate of $197. Stand-ins and photo doubles will receive a day rate of $214 through June 2022 and the rate will increase to $219 per day from July 2022-June 2023.

As part of the SAG benefits for union extras, they are paid a minimum of an 8-hour day rate even though they may not be booked for the entire day. Union extras will always be on an 8-hour guarantee unless otherwise specified in the contract.

Non-union extras are typically paid the same as SAG extras and receive the same 8-hour pay guarantee, but non-union productions are not required by law to adhere to these terms. It would be prudent to communicate with the production team before committing to working on the film to verify the pay rate and conditions.

Topsheet’s Extra Features

Topsheet has developed some handy extras handling tools that will make set life so much easier for casting directors, assistant directors, personal assistants, and the background extras themselves. These features include:

Scheduling by groups

Scheduling individually

GPS Check-in

Group Check-in

Individual Check-in

Access Controlled Call Sheets


Production Documents in App

Scheduling By Groups

Using Topsheet for Extras Handling, extras can be scheduled by groups. This can be based on location, days, hours, SAG (Screen Actors Guild) extras, or nonunion extras.

Schedule Individually

Do you have an extra who needs special attention? A featured extra? Does your extra have lines? Or a wardrobe that requires more time than the others (hello period pieces)? Whatever the case, extras can be scheduled individually as needed.

GPS Check-in

Save precious time on filming day with our GPS Check-in feature that is built into the app. When your extras are within 600 meters of the set, a “check-in” button will appear on the app. All they need to do is click on it. For any extra who doesn’t show up and check in, you can remove their time card with the tap of a button. When they do check-in, a timestamp will appear by their name.

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Group Check-in

The Topsheet Extras Handling App also includes a Group Check-in feature which allows an entire group to be checked-in all at once.

Individual Check-in

For those “extra” special cases in which you need one (or a few) background actors to have an earlier call time for wardrobe or some other reason, you can simply select and check-in those individuals with ease. A timestamp will appear by their names.

Access Controlled Call Sheets

Film and tv sets can be full of secrets. Sometimes there’s just stuff you’d rather your extras not know about. By using our Access Controlled call sheets, extras only receive the information they need.

Give Notes

Let’s say the weather report for one of the set days will be rainy, or your extras need to have sandals with them, or they need to park in a certain area; you can make these notes in the app and the extras will all receive an email with this information.

Production Documents in App

Documents such as W4s, W9s, direct deposit information, etc. are all in the app and they’re easy for all your cast and crew members and extras to fill out and update as needed. Nobody needs to stand in line to fill out paperwork at the end of a grueling eight-hour day in the film industry ever again.

Clocking Out

When it comes time to leave the set, it’s just as easy as arriving to set. Prior to Topsheet’s existence, long lines at the end of the day to fill out time cards were the norm. But now, when you use Topsheet for time cards, you can choose to set parameters for an entire group, individual, or make a simple announcement about the clock-out times at the end of the day for each person to enter into their app. Whoever is in charge of the extras (assistant directors or personal assistants- usually) can look on the app and make sure all time cards are filled out correctly and approve or deny the time cards as needed. Nobody needs to wait around at the end of a long day.

What sets use extras?

Literally, any and all film production sets will need extras casting: feature films, television, tv commercials, social media videos, music videos, short films, and student films.

How to find background acting jobs?

Extras casting calls are pretty frequent and can occur in most major cities around the US. Be leery about extra casting calls (or any acting/modeling jobs) that you find on social media as they may be scams attempting to hurt you. It’s a better idea to sign up for websites like Central Casting that vet their jobs and have offices in Los Angeles, New York, Georgia, and Louisiana. They also post casting calls or casting notices on a frequent basis.

Download the Topsheet app

Downloading the Topsheet app is free and easy. Simply go to your App Store or Google Play Store, type in “Topsheet Inc” and click “download”. From there you’ll be prompted to create a free account and enter in some of your basic information. You can add a photo of yourself, fill out tax forms, and bank information for direct deposit if you so choose.

You’ll also notice, in your account settings, you can keep track of your pay stubs and even add an emergency contact.

The “Projects” tab will show you which projects you have been invited to collaborate on. Choose a project to open and you’ll find call sheets, time cards, pay stubs, etc. for that specific film or project.

About Topsheet

Topsheet is an entertainment tech company specializing in production payroll. We service clients from commercials for Fortune 500 to feature films. We are born in technology, built with filmmakers in mind.

Do you need production payroll?

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