There are any number of background jobs available on film sets. One of the easiest positions to get is background actor. And one of those not-so-easy positions is extra management. The job of extras manager usually belongs to the 1st AD, 2nd AD, or Personal Assistant,
Let’s talk about how Topsheet can help make Extras Management (Extras Handling) fast, simple, and pain-free with our extras handling features in our app.
The Ultimate Guide to Extras Handling Features
Scheduling by groups
Access Controlled Call Sheets
Production Documents in App
Scheduling By Groups
Using Topsheet for Extras Handling, you can choose to schedule your extras by groups. This can be based on location, days, hours, SAG (Screen Actors Guild) extras, or nonunion extras. You can determine the groups however you wish.
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, you can choose to schedule your extras individually as you need.
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.
The Topsheet Extras Handling App also includes a Group Check-in feature which allows you to select and check-in an entire group all at once. We all know extras don't always pay attention to cues and other important information, so this group check-in feature is a headache saver.
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 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.
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.
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.
A Union Extra is an extra who has gained valuable experience on set doing background work. In order to become SAG (SAG-AFTRA) eligible, a background actor needs to acquire three SAG vouchers. A SAG voucher is an original pay stub verifying that you worked in a SAG-AFTRA production. SAG actors tend to get paid more and have more benefits than non-union actors, but this can make your work more scarce as you will only be allowed to work on SAG projects from then on.
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 aren’t guaranteed the same types of things as union extras are guaranteed although, it’s fairly common for non-union extras to also receive an 8-hour guarantee (entire day) though it is not required by law for productions or production companies that are non-union.
Major studio films are always union jobs. Most of the time, a non-union job would be on the set of an independent film.
Non-union extras are allowed to work on any set, union or non-union.
Extras casting is typically done through casting agencies and talent agencies such as Central Casting. Central Casting has casting offices located in Los Angeles, Atlanta, New York, and Louisiana. If you don’t live in one of these areas, find a reputable local casting office or agency rather than surfing for jobs via Social Media. Some jobs you find there can be legitimate, but it’s better not to risk your safety for a part-time job.
Casting agencies can cast extras for music videos, commercials, movies, or tv shows, really any type of video production that hires them to take care of their extra casting needs.
Use Topsheet to Manage your Whole Set
Whether you desire to use us for payroll or just our film set management features, Topsheet has been working hard to anticipate your every need. Our team is made up of people who have “been there” and know where those film and television industry-specific frustrations lie. We’ve done the work so you don’t have to. Use us for feature films, television, short films, and student films. When you choose Topsheet for your cast and crew management, payroll, and extras handling, you’re gaining peace of mind and time saved on shooting days and more!
Schedule a demo today!