Ever wondered why you have received an availability check but your friend hasn't? Ever asked why you have been selected for a role over other people? Curious to know what happens from from script to set? Well let's try to enlighten you!
That being said, the casting process is a complicated one and we always have to change and adapt our procedures to fit in with the roles or the productions. Below are the basics.
THE CASTING PROCESS
Everything begins with the script, from that many other documents are produced by the production. The most important one for us is a breakdown which is based on the shooting schedule (this changes constantly throughout production...). From this we can see what roles are required each day, if there are any continuity dates (multiple days that certain characters are required for), the filming locations, and if there are any fittings required prior to filming. Our team works alongside and the production to cast the perfect people for each individual role.
We will receive a brief for every individual role, which may include things like a specific look/costume sizes/age - even certain skills could be required. For example, let's say there’s a cafe scene coming up which will require a member of staff and some customers. We filter our database in many, many different ways to build a list of those that we think are suitable for the role. We write an availability check and make sure to include all pertinent information that we have to hand, such as the filming date, the location, the rate of pay for the day, and a time that everyone must respond by in order to be considered. As the scene will require a staff member, the availability check may also include a question pertaining to any relevant cafe staff experience.
Once the response window has closed, we will create a PDF of the available people and send it to the production - making sure to highlight any relevant experience. Most of the time the production will shortlist who they would like, but sometimes they leave this to our judgement.
Next, we will send the selected extras a booking confirmation email which will give a little more insight on the production, the role, and any other relevant information that the selected extras need to know. The extras must then read through and confirm receipt of this email, or let us know that you would like a call back to discuss the booking.
The day before filming the extras will receive a call time email from us which will detail all of the information they need for filming the next day (this really is an every question answered email). Filming schedules are in a constant state of flux, and the following days timings are dictated by what has happened the previous day, meaning that in general we don’t know the exact details for filming days until the afternoon of the day prior.
While cafe, supermarket, passerby or large crowd days are the perfect opportunity for new extras to experience their first day on set, there are times that we must rely on trusted extras that have worked with us for years. Examples of this would be, some interaction with cast, a small intimate scene, a commercial role, multiple direct continuity dates or a featured speaking role. We do get the question asked to us as to why the same people get put forward for the all the jobs. The answer to this is that they have proven themselves to be great and deserve that recognition. They are trusted by us, but remember, they all started somewhere! Every year we see changes in our database and who is booked. Also, we never put people forward for roles that they aren't suitable for.
Some people don’t enjoy life on set, and thats absolutely fine. But bigger crowd days give new members an opportunity to make that decision. If you do love it though, that’s great! Keep taking those roles, be excellent with communication, be professional on set - and in no time you’ll be amongst the ranks of our trusted extras.
RESPONDING TO OUR AVAILABILITY CHECKS
Responding accordingly to an availability check is incredibly important.
No one is going to make a full time career by doing extras work here in Ireland, and although it can sometimes be lucrative for some people, the majority of the time, it alone will not pay your bills and put food on the table.
For this reason we expect people to not be available all of the time. Whether it be your full-time job, family commitments, or plans with friends, we would much rather you be honest when you receive an availability check.
If you aren't available please just say NO, it is much better than not responding at all, at least we know you are engaging with us and we are more likely to try you again for another role on another day.
What does cause problems for us is when people mark themselves as available, get selected, and then tell us they can’t commit to filming. So please, take the time to check your calendar to see if you are truly free before answering YES.
REGISTRATION FEES & UPGRADES
We do not charge an up front fee for registering with our company. Instead, our annual registration fee is taken from your first day of work within a 12 month period. For example, if you had your first day on set on January 1st 2022, your next registration fee wouldn’t be due until January 1st 2023. If however, you don’t work until February 1st 2023, you wouldn’t be charged until that time.
If you think you have been charged your annual registration fee too early, please let us know. Our system deals with the fees automatically, but we are able to check dates if you feel like your fee was taken too early. It isn’t something we can do without delving into some specific areas of each individual profile but it can be done if you need that double checked.
FIGHTING THE GOOD FIGHT
We love our extras and we work hard to make everyone as happy as possible, and to ensure they are treated fairly. We fight for you all the time and we relish in the opportunities you receive when filming. If you are unhappy with treatment on set please let us know as soon as you can, we will raise it on your behalf with the production. Industry standards are changing and getting better and this is how we can make it happen.
We hope this has given you a little more insight into how things work and how we think.
Should you wish to ask a question please drop us a line: [email protected]