ML Talent Agency

ML Talent Agency

Toronto's Top Background Agency for Extras!

Want to be an extra in film and television? Here is what to look for when selecting a background agency.

Want to be an extra in film and television?  Here is what to look for when selecting a background agency.

Take into consideration the following key points:

How long has the Agency been in business?  

The movie business is a tough business. The longer an agency has been in business the more legitimate the agency usually is. In my time, I have seen many agencies come and go.  If an agency has been in business for years it shows a strong commitment to the industry, its practices, and the talent they represent.  Longevity of an agency, means an agency has had vast experience and knowlegde of the industry both past and present.  This longevity, often results in the development of stronger relationships with industry partners such as Casting directors and Producers.  This means more work for you as an extra!


Does the Background Agency you are considering have an office?

Having an office location is often a good indicator that the agency plans on being around for a long time. Having an office where you can drop by, visit and interact with your agent, pick up cheques, take new photos, and get tips on bettering your career (look and wardrobe for example) .  Having an office is a sign of credibility, responsibility and commitment to you.  


TTAA membership

The TTAA ( Toronto Talent Agency Association) is comprised of Toronto’s reputable agencies.  The TTAA has a code of ethics which all of the agents who are members adhere to.  Check to see if the agency that interests you is a part of the TTAA.



Avoid online agencies that have no local presence whatsoever.  Often they make claims of placing you in a database, but they have no contacts with local casting directors, and no way of contacting them.


Why paying a registration fee is important.

It is standard industry practice for an agency to charge a registration fee.  This fee ranges from $75- $150. This registration fee covers the administration of building a database, taking photos and ensuring that your profile is up to date year round. This is the responsibility of a good agent.  Beware of agencies that never charge any fees.  These agencies are often desperate to create a roster.  They are often very new, not established agencies with few connections in the industry.  Having a small roster is a vicious cycle, the smaller the roster, the less bookings, if any, the agency gets.  Getting a free registration, does not get you more work.  You get what you pay for.


Exception to the rule:  Sometimes an agency may not charge a registration fee to a performer if they are looking for a very specific look that is not on their roster.  Usually that individual would work only one time on one specific movie.


Is it good to have multiple agents or just one agent?

Performers are entitled to have more than one background agency.  However, personally I do not recommend joining every agency, or having multiple agents.


1. You waste your money paying registration fees to multiple agencies.  Having multiple agents does not guarantee an increase in your bookings.  There are only so many shows shooting in each city.  Each time you work on a series there is a waiting period of approximately 2 weeks before you can come back and work on the same show.  For example, you cannot play a doctor on TV series one day, and come back on the same show the next day as a  different character (a janitor for example). You can however be booked for continuity as the same character on consecutive days.   Having multiple agents does make you exempt from that rule and thus does not increase your chances of being booked.


2.  Having multiple agents can create difficulty for casting directors that want to hire you as they don’t know which of your agents to contact.  This also can make it difficult for your agent to know your availability.


3.  Having one agent helps you stay more organized.  You no longer need to remember what agent booked you for which show and who you need to pay.


4. The easier you are to work with and book, the more bookings you will probably get.


Diversity of work.

Consider the following:

  • Types of roles the agency can provide (TV, Movies, Print ads, Commercials, corporate videos and actor roles)  Not all agencies provide this mix.

  • The number of extras the agency has booked who have been upgraded to an actor role and received their ACTRA membership

  • How many of their roster have been upgraded to ACTRA members purely based on the number of hours worked as an extra. (ACTRA requires 1600 hours of extra work to receive ACTRA membership.)


Diversity in an agency is key.  Gives you the opportunity for more work and job diversity.



Reputation is huge!!  When you get the chance to work on set find out which agency everyone is talking about.  Ask your fellow performers, who booked you for the set you are on, and who they recommend.  A good reputation in this industry is hard to come by.  Don’t you want to be with the best?


Final thoughts….working as a film extra in movies and television is a lot of fun!  You get the opportunity to meet a lot of wonderful, exciting individuals, varying in age, ethnicity, body types, and backgrounds.  Extra work is wonderful because it caters to those individuals who need flexibility. You as the performer create your own working schedule!  A great perk of the job is that all your meals are catered.  It also allows you to be close and personal to the big stars we all love!!  I love film and television like you do, I also love being an agent and owning an agency.  Have fun guys and choose wisely.


Let’s keep our industry vibrant like the talent it is composed of.


For more information feel free to contact or visit us:

ML Talent Agency

70 Hounslow Heath Road

Unit 1

Toronto, Ontario

M6N 1G8



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