ML Talent Agency

ML Talent Agency

Toronto's Top Background Agency for Extras!

The Booking Process and how it all works!

Hi there,

First off want to thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog, and for being part of my agency.   I hope you find this helpful.  

I thought it could be useful to write a blog on our booking process so everyone has a better understanding of how things work. I have also included some frequently asked questions too.

I am very interested in always trying to improve our systems and make things better for everyone.  If you have any comments, complaints or just general inquiries that I have not covered in this blog please feel free to email me melissa@mltalent.com  


The film industry is a seasonal business and things aree much slower than usual at that of time of year.  Do not get discouraged if you do not get  alot of calls from late Nov well into April.  This is very normal and happens every year.  Please note that changes in the amount of shows shooting will vary during these slower months.  We should be in full swing by now, however it seems we have a slow start to the year.  But we are going to be RAMMED this summer!  : ) 

HERE ARE SOME KEY POINT BELOW:

  • We use both email and text messaging in order to contact talent for work.  Please note just bc we ask you to work, does not mean you are actually booked.  When we email out an order, we contact more talent than available spots.  Not everyone is available all of the time this is why we do this.  Also at times some shows are no repeats at all or no repeats within a specified amount of time.  You are booked only when you get a “booked expect an email” response from the agency.

  • When you are officially booked for a show you will get a message back from us saying “booked expect an email.”  If you do not get this message or do not hear back from us you are not booked and will not be working.  We have gotten complaints recently about talent not getting emails back after they said they were available.  We recognize this is a big problem with the agency and we are working on fixing this issue. We apologize to any of  you who have experienced this.  We have many different bookers at the agency all using the same email and all working on different projects etc.  due to the volume of emails we get sadly sometimes things get missed.  Also please note because we work so quickly if you respond hours after we contact you the booking will be gone and you may not get an email back.

  • We work very quickly in this industry so the quicker you get back to us the more bookings you likely will get.   Even if you are NA, please respond back letting us know you are not available.  Please note when we get orders for different shows, within these orders we may only have 1 or 2 spots for your look. ( meaning age, ethnicity etc)  We are under a lot of pressure to complete the bookings quickly for our clients, so quick responses are key. If you get back to us too late, sometimes even by five minutes may be too late,  you may not get the booking.   Please note we understand this can be frustrating, it is for us too, as we want everyone to work as much as possible.  In this blog, I m trying to help everyone understand how the booking process actually works.  

  • We never know the call time or location when we book you.  We will provide you with as much information as we have when we contact you.  Please do not take a booking if you have any time or location restrictions.  All bookings are TTC accessible, unless otherwise stated.  If a project is shooting out of town we will always let you know if a complimentary shuttle is available or not.

  • Amount of work.  Background work is not a full time job. Background work is occasional work only, and is very seasonal.  ( summer time busy - winter very slow )  We can only book talent based on the requests of the casting director or producer. BG work ( background work ) can be very specific, based on sizing, look in general, ethnicity, age, wardrobe etc. do not be offended or upset if you are not chosen for all projects.  Sometimes it may look like there are many shows shooting in Toronto.  I’m sure many of you have asked yourself, “ why am I not getting booked for this job?” Every agency does not get every job available.  Orders from casting typically are divided up amongst different agencies.  ML Talent may only get orders from casting that are 20-40yrs old and upscale, while another agency may get all kids.  It varies.  Another important note to consider is how many background are on the shoot day.  If it’s a small day, the first 30 will always be actra members meaning there may be no non union / AABP on the day.  

  • Reminder it's important to keep track of when you were on a show and what you played.  You cannot be a doctor today and go back on the same show tomorrow as the janitor.  Typically speaking depending on the set we need to allow a good two weeks from the time you work till when you work on that same show again.  If you are playing the same character each time then you may be allowed to work more than once in a closer period of time and or also if you are working on continuity.

  • How much do we get paid sometimes it's a flat rate and sometimes we do not get told a rate? ( non union / aabp )   Rates vary depending on the project.  Regular background work on a union film is $12.50 per hour with an 8 hour minimum.  This means if you work less than 8 hours you are still paid 8 hours.  Please note you are not paid for your lunch.  Actra Rates are based on the IPA and are approx.  $26.22 per hour with the 8 hour minimum.  If you are non union and working on a non union project the rates will vary depending on production is paying.  Commercial and print jobs will also vary in fee being paid and will be told to you at the time of the booking.  Cheques take 14 business days not including weekends or holidays to come into the office.  When they arrive we will send you an invoice to pay online and will notify you that it has arrived and ready for pickup.  

  • Do I have to come into the office to collect my cheques?  Yes you do need to come and collect your cheques at our office. If you want your cheques mailed please send us self addressed envelopes, when we send you an invoice that your cheque has arrived simply pay the invoice online and remind us to mail out your cheques to you.  Why do we not do email money transfer?  We have thousands of clients, banks set limits on how much businesses can transfer within a day. Based on our volume this is not an option.  Also the bank frowns upon us depositing cheques that are not endorsed.  We are working on better ways to make it more convenient for everyone.  If your cheque is at our office, you can request a mobile deposit.  Meaning we can email you a copy of your cheque front and back and you can deposit through your cell phone. 

  • What are fittings? What do we do?  Talent get paid 2 hours for a fitting, or sometimes more depending on what they may be fitting you for.  Typically they are very quick but they can go longer so make sure you have an open schedule if requested to stay longer than the 2 hours.  This is where production tries clothes on you, and or has requested you to bring your own clothing to try on.  Please note they usually do not give you a voucher to fill out at the fitting so it is urgent that on your scheduled work date that you mark on your voucher that you went for a 2 hour fitting in order to be paid.

  • Call times. Once you are booked for a show you will get an email with all of your information for the next day's shoot.  Call times and info come the night before your shoot any time from 9pm till midnight.  It is urgent that once you get your information that you email us back stating that you got your info and that all is clear to you.  We cannot finish our job or go to bed until all talent are confirmed.

  • Updating photos is key. People change their look all of the time.  We need to keep your profile on our database current. Please note it is imperative to come and get your photos done.  When picking up cheques ask to get new photos done. Its free and really adds to your profile.

  • Why is no one responding to me?  Please do not expect a response from us if you are emailing in your availability. If we can use you we will get back to you. Due to the high volume of emails we receive we cannot respond and say thanks etc to every email regarding availability.  We will respond back to specific questions and problems only. 

 

  • ML Talent only recently started taking on children.  This change has been very successful, however please note this is not where the majority of bookings come from. So do not be discouraged if your child has not worked a lot.  It is not them, it's the industry.  This is the reason we take children on for FREE.  Also please note that productions are smart and shoot their films typically around when children are not in school so they have more availability. However that said,  kids are always needed. We currently take kids 17 and under on for free of charge. Register today www.mltalent.com. Click submit and upload pics and your child is on their way to the movie industry.

  • Seasonal Business.  Please note the film industry is a seasonal business.  They film industry really slows down in the winter months.  The reason for this is because it is very difficult to create summer scenes when we have snow outside.  Do not take it personally if you are not working very much. This is the industry.  The season slows down from December thru until March - end of April each year.  ( It varies year to year ) That said there still is work but just less of it. 

  • Do I have to join ML Talent Agency? Or can I simply watch their Facebook page to get work?

    Please note that we post less than 10% of the jobs ML Talent Agency gets on Facebook. Typically the posts on Facebook are for jobs we are having difficulty filling from within our roster.  Sometimes we also post jobs on Facebook to acquire quick availability  for last minute projects or location specific projects.  Please note all priority is given to those who are actually registered with the agency. Only if we cannot fulfill a booking with our current roster will we book outside of it.

 

Hope this little blog helps to clarify the booking process a little more for those of you who are new to the industry.

As stated above I am always working very hard  to improve our systems and make things more amazing for everyone.  If you have any comments, complaints or just general inquiries that I have not covered in this blog please feel free to email me melissa@mltalent.com  

One note we love talent photos of you on sets, in costume, with lead actors!! Or just you in general. We are happy to post you on our instagram which can be a great promotional tool.  And or put you on our walk of fame in the office.  Email me your photos

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