Sunday, September 20, 2015

Recently came across this Indie Slate magazine article on my old company, Treasure Entertainment, from about a decade ago. The advice and principles contained therein still hold true today. If you're building an indie shingle, give it a read for some insight on best practices...

Production “Shingle”: Stable Roof or Flimsy Shack?

IndieSlate’s first in an ongoing series of articles profiling established Production Companies.

Take a look inside the Hollywood Creative Directory (the indispensable guide to producers both large and small) and one is struck by the plethora of production companies that exist in some form throughout the country. Many of these production entities are often fly-by-night ventures that are here today, but gone tomorrow. Yet, despite the presence of these few bad apples, the reality is that legitimate production companies are ground zero for both studio and independent moviemaking.

Naturally, it has become increasingly common for independent moviemakers to contemplate forming their own production company at some point in their careers. However, the decision to launch any such enterprise should be undertaken with the same due diligence and precautionary planning required by any serious business venture. Similar to a movie, the difference between success and failure most often depends on the amount of creative and entrepreneurial forethought an individual invests into his or her vision.

In order to further illuminate the complex machinery required to wind up a production company and keep it ticking, IndieSlate will be reaching out to established producers throughout future issues in order to get a first-hand look under the roof of their so-called production “shingles.” In this issue, Mark Heidelberger and Jesse Felsot of Los Angeles based Treasure Entertainment have generously contributed their insights.

In just five years, Treasure Entertainment’s principals have grown their company from a small producer of music videos to a full-service entertainment company that produces feature-length movies, documentaries, music videos and commercials. They recently co-produced David Ayer’s directing debut, “Harsh Times.” The movie stars Christian Bale and was picked up for by Bauer Martinez Distribution at the Toronto Film Festival this year. Treasure has also produced the feature documentary “Flintown Kids” which was picked up during Cannes 2005 for DVD distribution. The company is currently prepping the horror feature, “High Midnight” with Mary Lambert (“Pet Cemetary”) attached to direct. Daily Variety recently reported that the $5 million budget will be fully financed by New Mexico's interest-free loan program- the first such deal of its kind since the state recently introduced aggressive incentives to attract independent producers. “High Midnight” is scheduled to shoot in April.

Felsot and Heidelberger address important aspects of their company’s evolution in the following primer for production company dos and don’ts. Throughout, keep in mind the following mnemonic to visualize and strategize your own path to success:  


Soul Searching
Have A Plan
No Job Too Small
Good Projects
Leverage Your Assets

Soul Searching:

The most important thing anyone can do before taking the first steps toward launching a production company is to be honest with themselves. Heidelberger, Treasure Entertainment’s Chief Operating Officer, strongly encourages aspiring producers to “Ask yourself some hard questions. Do I really want to be a producer? Am I fully aware of everything a producer does? Do I have the emotional fortitude and passion to persevere despite the inevitable challenges? Am I doing this for the right reasons?”

Countless fly-by-night production companies were formed by shallow individuals hoping to cash in on “easy” Hollywood money in order to fast-track themselves into a world of fame and fortune. The reality is that producing movies is an extremely difficult, often thankless job. Ask most non-industry people who produced “Pulp Fiction” and you’ll receive a blank stare. In fact, ask most industryites for that matter and the response will likely be identical. (No worries, the answer is Lawrence Bender.)

Felsot, Treasure’s President, further emphasizes, “Take it seriously. The conviction you put into your work will not only correlate to the quality of your productions, but also the quality of your reputation. And in an industry built on relationships, reputation is critical.”

Have A Plan:

As with any enterprise, it is essential that one develops a plan- both figuratively and literally. Formulating sound plans and implementing well thought out strategies over time are the most prudent safeguards to ensure long term success.

Heidelberger and Felsot began devising a strategy to form a production company together as undergrads at UC Santa Barbara in the late-nineties. Both had studied film and made some short films, but, upon graduation, they moved to Los Angeles determined to expand their inherent skills and network of contacts. Both landed jobs working for producer Robert Newmyer on the movie “Training Day.” Shortly after, Heidelberger was accepted into the graduate Producers Program at UCLA and Felsot continued to work as an assistant- and eventually production manager- at film and video company  “A Band Apart” (Lawrence Bender’s company no less!)

Felsot explains how he felt it was essential that he “…work for companies that were similar in scope to what he hoped to eventually accomplish with his own company.” Heidelberger adds that “UCLA encouraged me to work with writers in the school’s screenwriting program to gain practical story development experience while also reinforcing the importance of honing essential producing skills such as leadership and resourcefulness.”

Once the principals of Treasure had paid their dues in the trenches of academia and behind desks manning the phones of their mentors, they decided it was time to formally lay out the blueprint for their own production company. Heidelberger explains that he and Felsot spent weeks writing a very comprehensive document, which detailed every facet of their proposed business within the context of their company’s mantra, “Empowering Filmmakers.”

The creation of a solid business plan on paper is critical to articulate the vision of the founders not only to themselves, but also to potential investors, clients and partners.
While it may not be necessary for others to generate a biz plan as ambitious as Treasure’s, it is essential that any plan cover basic areas such as the Executive Summary, Management Team Overview, Marketing Plan, Company Financials and Cash Flow Projections.   Heidelberger further notes that their initial business plan was a key component in attracting initial members of Treasure’s current Advisory Board including producers Cindy Cowan and Mike Binder. For additional information on creating a business plan, reference the government’s Small Business Administration’s website-


Formally organizing a company to be recognized by local, state and federal governments is the next logical step to becoming a legitimate business entity capable of receiving income, paying employees and reporting taxes. Depending on one’s overall strategy and timeline, it may even be advisable to organize prior to writing a business plan.

Upon proceeding, there are numerous business structures to consider adopting including, but not limited to, Sole Proprietorships, Partnerships and Corporations. Some states even have additional variations such as the “LLC” (Limited Liability Corporation). The advantages and disadvantages found within each structure can vary significantly and it is strongly recommended that one seeks out legal advice prior to filing organization papers.

Heidelberger reveals that he and Felsot, “…sought advice from both our future VP of Business and Legal Affairs and Chief Financial Officer and we decided to incorporate under the parameters of a “S-Corp” Corporate structure . We considered forming an LLC, but discovered that the “S-Corp” provided more significant tax breaks along the lines of a partnership while still allowing us to sell stock.” The website is also a valuable resource to learn more about the various business structures.

No Job Too Small

When first starting out, very few businesses have the luxury of landing large clients and high paying jobs right out of the gate. Unless independently wealthy or funded by Daddy Warbucks, the most likely scenario is that neophyte producers will have to virtually beg, borrow and steal to keep afloat. In the feature world, even established producers can find themselves struggling to stay solvent during the downtime between projects, which can often stretch for years.

Heidelberger and Felsot foresaw these perils and purposely constructed a multi-media company that would enable them to cross-collateralize different divisions. As Felsot explains, “It made perfect sense for us to include a music video and commercial production component within our business plan. The cross-pollination of talent between these industries justifies our involvement in a variety of production mediums as an extension of our core business goal, which is to produce feature length movies.”

In turn, Treasure Entertainment initially gained a foothold by producing low-budget music videos and commercials. Sometimes the budgets were virtually non-existent, but they did manage to make enough to pay rent while gaining more practical experience. Felsot comments that “…the practical on-set experience of working on smaller shoots early in our career has proven invaluable to our ability to handle the much larger feature work currently on our plate.” Heideleberger adds that “…working with limited resources truly tests your ability to maximize value in order to literally make something out of nothing. And you have to be extremely passionate to get people excited enough to recognize the long-term value of working on a quality project versus merely the short-term gain of a fat paycheck.”

Good Projects

The most important asset any producer can secure is a quality project. A production company’s projects will serve as the pillars upon which the business will either support itself or collapse.  Many aspiring D.I.Y. producers are in a multi-hyphenate position where they are looking to form a company to serve as the legal backbone to produce a movie that they also wrote and plan to direct. Others, similar to Treasure, may be planning to form a production company that also serves a management function where the producer happens to represent their writer and director clients. Regardless of the scenario, the projects producers ultimately align themselves with better be solid. However, a common dilemma facing many newly formed production companies is the fact that bringing quality projects in-house can be difficult if the company has yet to establish a successful track record.

Felsot offers up a blunt solution to this dilemma, “You have to hustle. The primary reason Mark and I managed to get talented writers and directors willing to work with us is because we consistently produced results at every level. Initially, we were able to convince others to take a leap of faith based on our track record of converting small victories into larger opportunities. Our work ethic has impressed a lot of people along the way and we are continually striving to nurture meaningful relationships with the right people.”

And relationships are by far the most valuable resource a producer can mine to unearth those rare gems in the rough. It’s almost a cliché, but a grunt production assistant on the set today can become the hot young writer of tomorrow. Heidelberger emphasizes this point stating, “We often hire the same crews for various productions and there have been numerous occasions where good people connected us with good projects.”

Once a producer has pursued a project and gained the trust of a writer or director, it is essential that they formalize the relationship with a contract. At some point, a producer may confront someone hesitant to sign a typically dense, boiler-plate contract. Nonetheless, it is the producer’s responsibility to convey the importance of outlining the nature of the relationship on paper to protect both parties. Deal points within the initial contract may need to be negotiated and the scope of the contract may even need to be scaled back or expanded. Ultimately, no producer should invest extensive time or money into a project without protecting their position in writing.

Leverage Your Assets

Whether an established production company looking to expand or a fledgling start-up, the most critical strategy to minimizing ever-present growing pains is to leverage the assets you already have. Prior to acquiring tangible assets such as a slate of scripts in development, office space or a library of completed films, the resourceful producer must learn to leverage intangible assets such as knowledge, relationships and passion.

Heidelberger notes that, “Treasure managed to acquire numerous projects via “sweat equity” versus actually putting up option monies. Sometimes we would find a promising script that still needed work and we would simply offer the writer a comprehensive set of objective story notes along with the promise to protect the writer’s core vision if they wanted to explore working side-by-side. Based on that initial investment of time, the writer would often recognize our inherent skills as storytellers combined with our commitment to helping them develop the strongest project possible. We would gain their trust, outline the relationship on paper and then focus our shared energies toward getting the project made.”

Once you begin to acquire real assets, be sure to use them to help you secure additional resources. The fastest way to attract new opportunities is to expose upon your real accomplishments. Felsot points out that, “When we were starting out, we would direct people to our website. It was the only place where we could detail relevant information, but it was effective in creating an aura of legitimacy. As we grew, we would invite our growing network of contacts to small wrap parties or anniversary celebrations. Eventually, the parties were growing along with our reputation. As we expanded, various Treasure projects were being publicized in the industry trades and that attracted the attention of everyone from un-produced writers to powerful agents.”

Regardless if a producer is out their pounding the pavement or if potential clients are knocking on the door, the key is to continually demonstrate the ability to build upon the foundation you have already laid. Never rest on your laurels and always strive to have projects that keep you busy in a meaningful way. A successful producer is never bored.


As a production company grows, it can be easy for a producer to get mired in the minutiae of running a company. Attending to the small details can often obscure the larger goals put forth when the production company was launched. But it is vital that a producer steps back and gains perspective from time to time to remember the answers to some of those soul searching questions from above. The likelihood is that most producers did not get into this business to be bean counters. Most of us had a burning desire to tell our stories and the determination to take whatever steps to bring that dream to fruition. In the end, a producer’s job is to entertain.  As both Felsot and Heidelberger confer, “Our goal is to tell the best story possible and, if we do our job right, keep people hungry for more.”


In future issues, Indie Slate will continue to distill the practical advice and strategies of knowledgeable individuals and companies and we believe this information will be an invaluable reference for both experienced and aspiring producers- as well as writers and/or directors wishing to understand the business mindsets directly affecting their artistic pursuits.

To conclude, it helps to reiterate that producing movies can be a very unstable venture. However, if producers heed some of the advice offered in this series and invest the proper amount of time and energy into their dream, the likelihood is that the production company they form will be a stable roof to weather the inevitable storms of uncertainty.

At A Glance:
Treasure Entertainment
Core Businesses: Feature, Music Video and Commercial Production / Artist Management
Location: Beverly Hills, CA
Year Founded: 2000
Principals: Mark Heidelberger and Jesse Felsot
Credits: Harsh Times (feature – Felsot/co-producer), Flintown Kids (feature doc - producers),  Lil Rob/Summer Nights (music video/ TV commercial - producers)
Pipeline: High Midnight (feature)

J.C. Christofilis is founder/President of Los Angeles based Dilemma Entertainment.


Saturday, August 29, 2015

Here's an article I wrote that may provide some insight for producers struggling to raise money, sell a script, attach an actor or convince someone in some way to help get a project off the ground...

Six Ways to Turn a No into a Yes
by Mark Heidelberger

“No.” Say it out loud a few times. No... No... NO. Few words in the English language have that same level of power. Can I have some water? No. Do you want to go out some time? No. Will you buy my service? No. The word is so powerful, in fact, that entire sales strategies have been developed just to avoid hearing it. Asking open-ended questions and consumer relationship-building techniques are some of the most common examples.

As a business owner operating in the free market, you’re constantly wooing new customers. However, the prospect of hearing “no” becomes more likely as you approach more customers. That’s just statistical inevitability. Even if they don’t use that exact word, you’ll become adept over time at interpreting routine excuses as a nicer form of no.

But does that mean you have to settle and move on? Quite often, a no is simply a potential customer’s way of saying that his or her needs haven’t been met yet. Look at it as an opportunity to clarify, alter or adjust your message in order to better satisfy the customer’s desires. By modifying your message, or at least the way it’s delivered, you have the chance to turn that no into a yes.

That said, there are six popular ways that customers often say “no” to new businesses. Each one of them is communicating a different concern, and each one requires a different response.

This Isn’t Something I Need: Customers who say they don’t need something are actually telling you they don’t want it. But it’s your job to know your customer. Make them see that whatever you’re selling is not just something they need, but something they’ll want. Play into their desires. Help them imagine how much better off they’ll be once they receive your product or service. Creating a sense of want in your potential customer makes it that much easier to push for the elusive yes.

Maybe Down the Road: Ah, the old procrastination technique. This is the customer letting you know that you’ve failed to create a sense of urgency. As a side note, it’s important to differentiate between someone who honestly wants time to consider your offer and someone who is trying to gently brush you off. In the case of the former, explain that there’s a small timeline in which to act or play up the limited nature of the product. Also, explain the negative consequences of failing to act.

This Is Too Expensive: Customers who say this are telling you they don’t see the value in your product or service. This leaves you with one of two choices. First, you can lower the price. Ask the customer what price would be more acceptable. If they say they’d buy it for a dollar, then it’s just a matter of figuring out the right price. The second option is to convince them that what you’re selling is worth the price. Once again, to do this, you have to create that sense of want by playing into their desires.

I Don’t Know You: They might as well come right out and say, “I don’t trust you,” because that’s what they mean. You need to build trust with the customer in order to overcome this objection. Spend an extended amount of time building a relationship with them. Provide quality references from other satisfied customers. Perhaps even offer some initial services at little or no cost. These things will allow the customer to see what type of business person you are with little upfront risk to themselves.

I’ve Heard This All Before: Wow, tough one. This is the mark of a customer who’s desensitized by the many who have come before you selling the same exact thing. Or was it the same thing? Such a response puts you in a position to play up the unique nature of your product. Differentiate it from the others. Make yourself stand out from the crowd. Use this opportunity to make whatever you’re selling stronger, faster or better than the competition.

I Don’t Have Time: This all-too-familiar refrain is the customer actually letting you know she is bored or uninterested in whatever it is you’re selling. Reading between the lines early on will allow you to shift gears and engage her in a more dynamic pitch that creates interest, intensity and excitement in your product. Find a catchy hook that grabs the listener’s attention. Spruce up the presentation. And state your case with passion. You’ll notice the customer won’t even have time to look at her watch.

However, at the end of the day, take heed in the fact that, no matter how good a salesman you are, sometimes the customer still walks. And it is precisely these moments that serve as valuable learning experiences. Assess what went wrong and use it to tweak your approach, your offer, your presentation, whatever. The more you learn from these nos and the better you adapt, the more yeses you can generate in the future. Sometimes our past mistakes are the best way to turn no into yes. In other words, turn the power of no into the power of know!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

What Is the Career Description of a Script Writer?

by Mark Heidelberger

Script writers often work for many years to hone their craft.
Script writers often work for many years to hone their craft.
Script writers are responsible for authoring the dialog and action for media of all types, from film and television to stage plays and online how-to videos. While such positions can be highly competitive due to the creative freedom and lucrative paydays involved, individuals determined to pursue a script writing career will find there isn't just one "write" way to go.

Original Scripts

The most common form of script writing (also called screenwriting in the case of film production) is the creation of original material not based on any pre-existing works. Original scripts can be written on a speculative basis (also known as spec scripts), where you choose the subject matter, story and all key elements, write the script, and then try to find a buyer for it after it's completed. The script can also be written as a work-for-hire, where an employer such as a television network or ad agency pays you for the work and therefore owns the resulting product.

Adapted Scripts

Adapted scripts are based on some sort of pre-existing source material – usually another form of media. You can adapt scripts from poems, novels, biographies, comic books, stage plays, or even other film and television programs. In order to write and sell an adapted script without violating copyright laws, you must first secure any rights associated with the story and characters you wish to write about. This may include buying the "life rights" to an interesting real world person or adaptation rights to a mystery book series from its author.


Rewriting is a required step in all forms of writing, and script writing is no different. In fact, some script writers enjoy very fruitful careers doing nothing but rewrites of other people's work. Writers who do significant amounts of rewriting to a work but take no credit are called ghost writers. You must be hired by the script's owner to do the rewrites, whether it’s the original author or a third party, such as a movie studio. Such assignments typically entail a high skill level since you are expected to identify and address problems in the works of others.

Major Industries

The feature film and television industries offer the most abundant opportunities for script writers. Television alone employs many different types, from daytime drama staffers to movie-of-the-week writers to copywriters for on-air promotions and station announcements. The Writers Guild of America (WGA) exists as a resource for these professional script writers, setting salary minimums and arbitrating credit disputes among other things. Advertising is also a major employment sector. Ad agencies hire copywriters to create radio and television commercial scripts based on their marketing directives. Writers with a background in advertising are more likely to advance in this area.

Necessary Skills

You must have creative sensibilities and a knack for generating ideas that translate into compelling visuals. A strong imagination and clever way with words goes a long way. When working for others, you must be good with time management, as you will usually be given a deadline. You should be a self-motivator who can get work done without supervision. Moreover, you must be highly collaborative and able to accept constructive criticism, whether from a co-writer, producer or studio executive.

Salary & Outlook

The constant need for entertainment and advertising means script writer jobs will be in demand for the foreseeable future. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, writer jobs are projected to increase 6 percent through 2020, from 145,900 to 155,400. The 2010 median salary for all writers was $55,420. Those in motion pictures and advertising fared much better at about $62,000 annually, while those in radio and television made slightly less with $53,400. WGA scale rates for feature scripts as of May 2013 ranged from $66,151 on low-budget productions to $124,190 on high ones.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

What Does a Documentary Editor Do?

by Mark Heidelberger
Editing documentary footage requires a sense of storytelling.
Editing documentary footage requires a sense of storytelling.
Documentaries have emerged as a powerful medium, where individuals can reach wide audiences in order to promote an agenda, create awareness of a cause or affect social change in some way. And while the dissemination of information is a key ingredient, documentarians will tell you that they are first and foremost storytellers. As an editor, your role is crucial in helping shape that story by determining what stays in and what gets cut.

Choosing a System

Your first order of business is to select the hardware and software you're going to use. Even if a documentary is shot on film, it will invariably be transferred to video for the purposes of editing. So you should never have to worry about cutting actual film. Instead, you will use a nonlinear editing system, which allows you to access, trim and assemble any of the source footage in any order you see fit without destroying it. The three most popular systems are Avid Media Composer, Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere. Avid and Adobe are available for both Macs and PCs, while FCP is for Macs only. All of these systems are suitable for handling the large amounts of footage a documentary usually requires.

Logging and Organizing

Much of the job will include inputting footage into your editing system and organizing it in such a way that you can find and access it quickly. This is particularly important with documentaries since there are often large amounts of footage to deal with, no script to work from, and few (if any) slates to demarcate the heads and tails of shots. The footage is usually provided to you by the producer or director on a hard drive. Upon connecting the hard drive to your system, you can begin the process of logging the footage, which consists of watching and labeling it according to the content. Editors of scripted films can use the scene number or slug line for logging; but documentary editors must come up with a description of the scene.

Telling the Story

Your most fundamental role in the process is helping the director tell the story. You'll have to search through all of the footage in order to determine which parts are essential to conveying the message or narrative intended. Trimming dozens of hours of video and constructing it into a coherent 90-minute film without the aid of a script takes patience, discipline and an inherent understanding of what makes for a compelling story. Footage may be in the form of an interview, reenactment or news-style observer. You may also be tasked with locating stock or archival footage and still photographs that can be inserted between the filmmaker's footage to aid in the storytelling. Any preexisting material you find should be thoroughly checked to ensure you have the proper clearances to use it.

The Finishing Process

Because budget limitations are common, you may have to perform a number of additional functions that contribute to the polished look of the film. This includes sound editing, color grading, online editing and format conversion. Sound editing entails cutting, connecting, blending and overlapping different tracks so that it all sounds like a unified whole. Color grading centers on adjusting hues, shades and color temperatures to achieve a desired look or effect. Online editing is the process of reassembling the final cut of the film in a high resolution format suitable for a distribution master. And format conversion is simply laying the finished film off to various media types, such as Quicktime, MPEG or AVI files.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Entertainment is one of the most alluring industries in the world. It attracts people of all colors, creeds, races and religions; young and old, male and female; from the well-educated to the uninitiated and everyone in between. The usual trappings include the promise of lifelong dreams fulfilled – most often fame, fortune and power – where, as the old song goes, any office boy or young mechanic can be a panic. Yes, entertainment truly boasts a universal appeal in nearly every corner of the globe.

But how does one get in the door? Where does one start? Surely there are ways to circumnavigate the heavy barriers to access that the Hollywood elite have constructed, you ask. And yes, there are. But for most, it will take good old fashioned hard work, as pipe dreams of being discovered while pumping gas or shopping at the supermarket rarely pan out. Those willing to pay their dues by starting at the bottom and working their way up are most likely to find stable work in the business while simultaneously developing desirable skills. Below are a few such entry level jobs specific to the industry.

Intern – An internship is ideal for college students seeking course credit or any individual unencumbered by the need to earn daily income. While a small handful of internships might pay, the majority do not. This, however, makes them more plentiful, and thus more accessible. Interns can be found in nearly every facet of the industry, from production companies and movie studios to entertainment law offices, casting agencies and publicity firms. As a result, they have a great deal of choice when deciding what area to focus on. However, basic duties are relatively similar regardless, and will include menial tasks such as fetching coffee, copying documents and organizing files.

Receptionist – Once upon a time, reception was thought of as a dead-end road, geared mostly to older women or those without any marketable skills. Now, the receptionist position has become a solid way for men and women of all ages to gain access to a company, learn the players there and study the organization’s operational philosophy. Since the industry has a certain image-driven fickleness, many firms may require a pretty face in addition to a stellar phone manner; but those who make it in quickly gain knowledge to all areas of the company, allowing them to focus their career path in the direction they find most attractive. A few lucky ones in smaller firms may even get bestowed with the more resume-friendly title of office manager.

Runner – These are the folks who pick-up and deliver various sundries throughout the industry, from scripts to tapes to executive lunches. More often than not, the job requires a reliable automobile and a solid working knowledge of the local area. In addition, pay is usually minimal. However, high turnover rates among runners mean they aren’t expected to last long, so sticking with the position for a few months can often lead to advancement. The nature of the position also affords the runner a chance to get brief face time with people at other potential employers.

Executive Assistant – Those seeking a career in development, producing or client representation should focus on finding a relevant assistant position. Studio executives, producers, agents and managers rely heavily on their assistants, and many top level players have more than one. Assistants are often treated poorly and pay rates may only average $500 per week, but the opportunity for advancement is higher than many other entry level positions in the industry. Also, most positions come with perks such as health benefits and paid vacations. Common duties include reviewing scripts, rolling and conferencing calls, overseeing the office intern pool, scheduling and attending meetings, placing lunch orders and greeting visitors.

Production Assistant – This is the executive assistant’s on-set fraternal twin. Instead of helping one particular producer or executive, however, they assist an entire production, typically at the behest of the line producer, production manager or assistant directors. This is perfect for individuals who want to learn the ins and outs of a movie or TV set. Production assistants (affectionately referred to as PA’s) are tasked with supporting a variety of departments, giving them a broad overview of many higher level jobs that may interest them. While pay is comparable to executive assistants, and can even be higher on larger productions, job security is lower since the position ends when the production does.

Background Actor – Some people simply crave a place in front of the camera. “Extra work” in film, television and commercials provides an easy avenue to satiate that appetite for the spotlight, and requires no skills or prior experience. In addition, background casting agencies seek people of every physical type, age, sex and ethnicity. Work is irregular and inconsistent, but more easily accessible than just about any other in the business and is a great place to network with like-minded peers. Pay for non-union extras is minimum wage, so most will also need a supplemental form of income.