As a Background Actor in the film/TV industry, you’ve probably heard your actors talking about doing audience work on days they’re not booked on set. Perhaps you’re new to background acting or perhaps you’re looking for ways to diversify your income streams. If you’re a non-union actor, doing audience work can be a simple way to supplement your income.
Sometimes non-union actors are hired to fill in the empty seating of shows that commonly tape in front of a live audience. For example, Beat Shazam or Friends both have live audiences.
Beat Shazam may need to hire its audience members because it’s still new, but Friends probably never saw an empty seat after its first season. Also, Friends is a sitcom, meaning the audience isn’t seen, and it may not be necessary to fill every seat. Beat Shazam, on the other hand, is a game show, and a full audience reaction is important for the at-home audience.
A standard workday for non-union actors hired to fill in the audience typically looks like this:
Quick tip: It can be difficult to get all the information you need, such as wardrobe specifications, ideal parking locations, and arrival times. When you book audience work through Castifi it is super easy to receive wardrobe and appearance requirements, parking and transportation information, and timecard and payment information via our mobile app that is up-to-date.
Sometimes an audience is filled with fans who love the show and are glad to watch for free. Friends, Ellen, and Jeopardy come to mind. Sometimes non-union actors are hired to fill seats. Apps like Castifi work with show producers and productions like America's Next Top Model to hire non-union actors as audience workers.
Notice we’ve only mentioned non-union actors. Members of SAG are typically not allowed to be hired for audience work under the SAG-AFTRA Basic Agreement. The agreement also states that audience workers who aren’t paid must be members of the general public who are only there to create atmosphere, don’t receive direction from the producer, aren’t requested to wear make-up or costumes, and don’t interact with performers, background actors or panel members.
However, the producers can make requests of paid audience workers to make sure they’re capturing the vibe they want to achieve creatively.
Cast & Audience Members for Germany's Next Top Model
Paid audience work is a minimum-wage gig. It’s standard to offer a half day’s wage for four hours, and then to be paid for each additional hour at the hourly minimum rate.
To get paid for audience work, upon arrival and check-in for the first time with the booking company, you’ll have to fill out each of the following forms:
If you’ve been booked through Castifi, you’ll receive reminders through SMS and email notifications to bring the necessary documentation to complete these forms. If it's your first time using Castifi, you’ll have to Create a Profile and complete your start paperwork.
If you’re interested in getting started doing audience work, there are many ways to book jobs. Casting directors and producers frequently turn to Castifi to source actors for these types of gigs. Other companies like Standing Room Only (SRO) and Background Talent Services (BTS) also work with show producers to find audience workers.
Following are a few helpful tips for audience workers:
Audience work can be an exciting way to supplement income as a non-union actor in Los Angeles. Have fun!
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