ML Talent Agency

ML Talent Agency

Toronto's Top Background Agency for Extras!

TIPS on getting work as an extra!!!


Hi there!!!

My name is Melissa Lee and I am the current owner of ML Talent Agency!! We at ML Talent specialize in background actors for major feature films, television series, commercial and print.  With over 20 years in the industry, and just recently celebrating our 15th year with ML Talent alone, I am so ready to share my inside tips and tricks on how to make you more successful in this industry!

Please be patient and empathetic I am NEW to this blogging stuff!!   Sitting at my desk pondering what to say.  What do you as a performer really want to know about? hmmm  Why don’t we start off with something simple, like some TIPS on HOW TO IMPROVE your chances of being BOOKED more frequently on sets!!!  Don’t we all want to work more? ; )  Of course we do. ; )

1.  READ- the more you read the specific details I provide for you via email the more prepared you are when you arrive on set.  When production sees that my talent is camera ready,

( camera ready means full hair and makeup done, with clean, pressed clothing along with additional wardrobe options) Their eyes light up with delight. You may be surprised, but my phone starts ringing from casting and production, requesting my well informed talent back, to be repeats on their sets.

TIP: I always put at the beginning of the emails I send to you with call time a spiel.  Read it – I often have things such as new procedures, updates to the agency…keep yourself informed and you will find background even more enjoyable.  Being professional often goes hand in hand with getting more work.

2.  WARDROBE- If you are a male here are some things to consider when making your wardrobe shopping list.  Consider a good upscale dark suit.  I would suggest buying something conservative in black, navy blue or dark charcoal grey.  (FBI looks)  you should also own a crisp white dress shirt, black dress pants and black dress shoes.  This way you have covered a lot of different categories you can play ranging from Detective, waiter, upscale business man etc.  Once you have those couple of items you literally can play almost anything.  Females – I would suggest same as above a nice suit / skirt suit, and the black and white items as well.  Cocktail attire is also a big plus.  A nice upscale classy dress, something simple conservative, goes a long way and pearls who doesn’t love pearls!!!  It is a very easy way to make something less dressy at least look classy.

WAIT!!!  I am on a tight budget and don’t have the money for all of these these things???  Rome wasn’t built in a day people…these are just guidelines to help steer you down the right path if you want to start adding pieces to your wardrobe.  We will always still have work for you on sets even if you do not have these items so fabulous people do not worry!!

Some options to consider:  Thrift stores such as Goodwill, vintage clothing shops etc often offer the above items at a wonderful discount.  Check them out!! Often you can find some real gems!

3.  APPEARANCE:  Being in the movies as a background actor is such a wonderful thing.  I am always on the look out for so many different looks.  That is the beauty about being an Extra is that it offers a flexible work schedule, and there is no limit on the type of looks you can book.  We always need talent ranging from 18 years old to 100 years old, any ethnicity, from upscale conservative, fashion forward hipsters, hard core punk, tatts galore, to homeless…MY sets need ALL of you!!!

SOME TIPS:  The majority of the work tends to go to people who come looking put together and clean cut.  That is not to say that someone with a mohawk won’t work?  Of course you will and when I need you, boy do I need you!!!!  But what I do want you to keep in mind is that background is exactly what it sounds like it is people in the“background.”  They do not want you to stand out ( well in some cases they do but that is a whole other blog ) You need to be realistic of what you look like.  For example, if I have a group of passerby’s ( people walking around on the street) business types to be specific, and  I book a man who is 6’5 with a red mohawk as an extra in that scene? hmmmmm…. What is wrong with that picture?  One thing just doesn’t fit with the other right?  Everyone has a great chance of working as an extra no matter what you look like that is why I love this job!!



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