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How To Be A Paid Extra

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Right To Work States.

There are 22 Right To Work states. Right To Work State is one in which a union such as Sag or Aftra does not have the right to require a minimum amount of pay you would receive for working as an actor, extra or other member of the film or TV crew.

These states include: South Dakota, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, Iowa, Texas, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Idaho, Wyoming, North Dakota, Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia.

Union And Non-Union Rates

There are two types of EXTRAS in the industry, , Union EXTRAS and Non-Union EXTRAS. Both have their own pay-rates based on the same work (see the next section for more information on unions).

A Union member makes more money than a Non-Union Extra. Union Extras are members of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) or Aftra and that either requires luck or perseverance to join. But it is possible. It's a myth that someone has to leave the Union or Leave Earth to make room for you to join. Thousands of people join the Union each year. See the section on Unions in this booklet for more info

Starting out you will be a Non-Union EXTRA.


Pay-rates are based on several factors. These include a base rate for the first eight hours of work, overtime pay for work between eight and twelve hours, double time pay for anything over 12 hours of work, meal penalties, bonuses called "Bumps" for wardrobe changes, working around smoke, and mileage driven to special locations. The following is a more detailed description of each:

Base Rates-Overtime-Double Time

The base rate is the amount of money that an EXTRA will make for any work done during the first eight hours of being on set. It is also the figure that is used to determine overtime and double time rates. The base rate for Non-Union EXTRAS is $54.00 and the rate for Union EXTRAS is $110. To get overtime and double time rates, you will divide the base rate by 8. This number is then times by 1.5 to get the hourly rate of pay for overtime hours and by 2 to get the hourly rate of pay for double time hours. Therefore the rates for Non-union EXTRAS are $10.13 per hour for overtime (hours 9, 10, 11, 12 worked) and $13.50 per hour for double time (all hours after 12th hour worked). Rates for Union EXTRAS are $20.63 for overtime and $27.50 for double time.

Meal Penalties

Meal penalties are bonus payments added to your check when you are not given your mandatory meal breaks in accordance with state and union rules. The rule is you must be given a meal break every six hours or the Production Company has to pay you bonus money for every 30 minutes they make you wait. The rates per meal penalty for non-union EXTRAS vary by production, and have no set rate. They are usually around $2.50 each. The rates for Union EXTRAS are $7.50 for the 1st, $10 for the 2nd and $12.50 for all others.


Any time you change your wardrobe in the same day, or are required to work around fire or smoke, or are made to drive to a special location, you will be paid extra additional money known as BUMPS. The rates are as follows:

  Non-Union Union
Wardrobe: $5 $9
Smoke/Fire $5 $14
Mileage (per mile) $0.30 $0.30

As a non-union EXTRA you will not always be eligible for "Bumps." This is something that your 2nd AD will inform you of at the appropriate time. If in the union , the bumps will be added to your base pay. This will make your overtime and double time pay higher. Also lunch and dinner breaks are always non-paid, therefore these times will be deducted from the total time you are on set in order to determine when overtime and double time hours begin.

The most advantageous days to do EXTRA work will be to work either the really long days, or the quick short ones. On the long days you have more chances to earn overtime pay and "Bumps" making your check bigger and on the really short days you will be paid your full base rate even if you only work for only 1 or 2 hours of work. Then you are free to play the rest of your day, having made a full days pay!

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