Most Frequently Asked Questions

Q: "I've heard that if you have to pay a service to get background work, it's a scam."

A: There are services out there that are a scam, but there are also very reputable services. Background work in Hollywood is a very big industry within a small city & family of casting directors and services. There are most definitely legitimate "booking services" that work with the most well known casting companies, providing them, at no cost, with a roster of bookable background actors.

Q: Why do we have to pay for a calling service or more recently renamed, a booking service? (my preference:)

A: The idea of a calling or booking service is to provide, at no cost, bookable, reliable, around the clock background talent to casting directors. The casting director can then call one place to get many actors, but will only have to deal with the service and not each actor independently. Our licensed calling service provides daily submissions to over 54 casting directors, and books who ever is cast. In addition, a full profile is built with a range of photos and info on the client and is posted on the "Cut Above" website. Remember, a booking service is free to casting companies, and the casting director makes a percentage of you when you are on set. All booking services receive their payments in full before services are rendered. Lastly, an aggressive service like "Cut Above" Casting will always be looking for work for their clients, and prides themselves on being able to book casting calls around the clock.

Q: "Why do we have to attend an orientation"?

A: We at "Cut Above" have a very aggressive protocol to our services. Therefore, in order to acclimate you into our program, we have an orientation that details the daily operations of our business, and allows you to ask any questions you may have before you are booked on your first production. We have had a great response from clients who have liked the fact that they are treated more like a person than a number. That interaction and relationship alone, has made us a stand out company, and top in the category of non-union background.

Q: "What does your orientation entail"?

A: A brief outline of our orientation goes a little like this:

  • An introduction of what a booking service is and why ours is different.
  • A completed client form with info, special skills & sizes.
  • Range of digital photos are taken.
  • Explanation of how to post availability on web-site.
  • Look to submit and book you on your first production straight out of the orientation.

Q: How do I get my SAG Vouchers?

A: Hmmm, probably the most frequently asked question, but unfortunately there is no exact answer.

Our formula that has proven to increase the opportunity to receive a voucher is:

  • Show as much availability as possible.
  • Be on as many sets as you can.
  • Be professional, on time and follow directions on set.
  • Bring more wardrobe than requested.
  • Be available for recalls

As in any business, people surround them selves with people they enjoy working with. This is one of the only jobs where you can start at entry level and be "hands-on", working immediately on major feature films, commercials, TV shows or music videos.

Being obnoxious, over anxious and complaining will get you nowhere! I bet if you asked any of our actors if they expected their SAG voucher when they received one, almost every story would be that it was unpredicted.

Stay open, hardworking, positive and let it happen! Success to ALL!

Q: "Where do productions mostly work"?

A: Typically, everywhere. Moreover, we often do not know the location or the call times until the details come out the night before the working day. But if the production is far we would do our best to make we sure our clients have the option to carpool with one another. In addition, many times when a production is out of the general Los Angeles area the production will add a "gas bump" or upgrade to the paid day. Gas bumps range from $5.00 to $25.00.

Q: "What is the rate for non-union background work"?

A: The legal rate is minimum wage ($10.00 per hour), which is referred to as $80/8 (hours). Every production must pay you that legally. But it is completely up to the production to pay what ever the budget is. Cut Above has relationships with MANY casting directors ranging from feature films, TV, Independent films, commercial, print campaigns, music videos & audience work. That said, it is very common to book production at higher rates: $80/8, $125/10, $150/12, $175/10. Some jobs also pay in cash, as opposed to voucher, always a good thing! In addition, once on set you can receive bumps and/or upgrades for things such as: wardrobe changes, meal penalties (hourly reimbursement given for missed meals after 6 hours), smoke, water, prop & mileage bumps, all requiring more money to your check!

Q. How often will I work?

A: That depends on two things. First, how often you are available. Second, if the casting directors can use your look for their production. We submit EVERYONE that shows availability to all the casting directors everyday. It is up to them at that point to book you.

Q: How long does it take to get my check sent to me?

A: That totally depends on the production that you worked. Each production company have a separate payroll company. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOU KEEP YOUR VOUCHER. If for some reason you lose it, there is no other way to prove to the production company and/or payroll company that you actually worked. Most checks get sent out within 2 weeks from the date that you worked. If it goes OVER 3 weeks, please call the number listed on your voucher. Cut Above Casting is not responsible for payroll checks.

Q: What can I do if I left something personal on set?

A: It's real hard to get something back once it is left on set. Please make sure you never take personal belonging and tons of cash. Some sets provide security guards, but most don’t. Best chance, if you leave something, try and head back to set as soon as you remember to retrieve your belongings. Otherwise, call us and we will do our best to let the casting director know so that she can alert production, and hopefully find your belongings. But for the most part, don’t forget your stuff on set!!

Q: What can I write off on my taxes as a working background actor?

A: For a full list of write off's you can go to tax offices such as H&R Block and request a copy. Some write off's are: clothes, gas, cell phone, hair cuts, make-up, photos, training, and booking service fees or agent percentages.