ML Talent Agency

ML Talent Agency

Toronto's Top Background Agency for Extras!

The Major Myth about Hamilton Agencies! BE CAREFUL!!

MYTH BUSTERS RE: Hamilton agencies.

I decided to write a quick note on the Myth about having a Hamilton Agency versus a Toronto agency.  A Lot of people who live in Hamilton, think you have to be with a Hamilton agency in order to get work in Hamilton.  THIS IS NOT TRUE, this is a myth.  

Casting directors give work to legitimate agencies no matter where they are located.  Please note that ML Talent agency has many performers who live outside of the GTA who frequently work not only in Hamilton but also in Toronto and other surrounding areas.  We are currently accepting new clients.

There has been some recent closures of Hamilton agencies over the last couple of months.  This has caused performers who had agents in that area worry as to how they will now get work.  If you are new to the industry and live outside of the GTA do not get fooled into thinking that you have to join a Hamilton agency or local town agency to get work in your area. This is a myth.  If you register with ML Talent Agency your likelihood of working in Hamilton and other outside locations is much higher than a new start up in one of these regions.  Not only could it limit the amount of work you get ( read below for more precise details ) but it will also possibly limit your work in other areas like Toronto as well.  Please note the majority of jobs in the film industry shoot in Toronto regardless.

.ML Talent Agency has been providing extras both in and out of the GTA for over 19 years.  With technology these days it doesn’t matter where you are from.  One important note to keep in mind also when looking for an agent is written below.  

Be careful, and do your research carefully before joining an agency you may regret.  

Here are some tips below:

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. Melissa Lee owner of ML Talent Agency is the Co-chair 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?



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