How much do backup dancers get paid

How Much Do Backup Dancers Make?

Watch a music video or go to a live concert and there’s a good chance you’ll see backup dancers. We have received a lot of questions about them like “Who are they? What do they do? How much do backup dancers make?”. Most of the people asked were dancers interested in pursuing it as a long-term career.

This article will answer all the questions you have about backup dancers. We’ll also give you an idea of the benefits you can expect if you go all the way and become a professional backup dancer!


  • What Are Backup Dancers?
  • How Much Do Backup Dancers Make?
    • How much do backup dancers make on tour?
    • How much do backup dancers make per show?
  • What Affects A Backup Dancer’s Salary
    • Years of Experience
    • Education
    • Certification
    • Dancing skill levels
    • Big stars or upcoming artists
  • How Backup Dancers Make Money After Retiring from Performance
  • Final Words

What Are Backup Dancers?

When people think of dancing as a profession, they always imagine standing at the front of the stage with the spotlight honing down on them.

But that’s not the case for backup dancers. Instead of being at the front, they merge into the background. They use their dancing skills to support the main performer rather than hogging the spotlight from them. If they do their job right, the backup dancers should melt right into the performance and improve the main performer’s act.

It’s an invisible job most of the time. To be completely honest, if you’re looking for “idolation” and fame, being a backup dancer may not be it for you. But if you only want a stable career in the dance industry, it’s a pretty decent job path that comes with many benefits.

For example, you’ll be able to meet and work with world stars. Then, you’ll also tour across the country and beyond with them. For people who love this kind of nomadic lifestyle and have the skills and talents to support it, a career in backup dancing is hugely appealing.

How Much Do Backup Dancers Make?

Backup dancers mostly work on a freelance basis. So, the pay will vary depending on the gig.

If you’re worried about underpaying, there are certain industry standards in place to prevent it from happening even if you’re not part of a union. For gigs between one to four hours long, $175 and up is a good going rate. And for gigs that are longer (four hours and beyond,) you can negotiate from a baseline of $250.

Depending on your experience and skill, you can score gigs as high as $1,000 per session!

But if you’re part of the very few backup dancers that work for a dance company (Broadway, for example,) then you can count on a more stable salary. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average dancer gets paid $17.15 an hour. For dancers performing in Broadway plays, they get paid $1,861 per week.

In addition to compensation, they get other benefits like health insurance, costumes, therapies, and training, as well.

Backup Dancers for Rihana VMAs

How much do backup dancers make on tour?

Backup dancers are typically hired to perform in commercials, music videos, or live concerts. In this case, a dancer’s income will be divided into two parts: rehearsals and shoots. The dancer is paid for both.

If the dancer has to work 4 hours a day (including both rehearsals and shoots), the going rate is around $175 per day. On the other hand, if the dancer has to work 8 hours a day, the rate is expected to be higher at $250 per day.

Occasionally, dancers may be asked to work overtime, such as for final rehearsals before a big show. If the day’s work is less than 12 hours, the dancer is paid $46 per hour of overtime. However, if the day’s work has already exceeded 12 hours and the dancer is still asked to stay, directors will have to pay up to $65 for every hour of extra work.

How much do backup dancers make per show?

This will entirely depend on who you’re touring with. Now, there are many rising stars out there that may need to enlist the help of backup dancers. In those cases, it’s hard to gauge exactly how much their backup dancers are paid since salaries are usually a hush-hush business.

What we can tell you, however, are the rates paid to backup dancers of big stars like those who dance for Beyoncé or for Lady Gaga.

According to one report, backup dancers who performed with Beyoncé for her Coachella performance in 2021 were paid $2,500. This is a figure that hasn’t yet included rehearsal times and the likes, which would have driven up the final pay even further. Beyoncé’s backup dancers are among the highest paid in the industry, so if you’re planning to join, don’t expect such great pay right out of the gate.

Dancers who worked with Lady Gaga during her 2017 Super Bowl halftime show were paid $1,000 for their efforts.

Sure, it’s lower than Beyoncé’s figures, but it’s worth noting that Beyoncé’s Coachella performance probably brought in far more revenue than Lady Gaga’s halftime show.

One estimate showed that Beyoncé probably made around $4 million from her set at the festival. So, paying $2,500 plus some extras for backup dancers was probably a trivial task for her team.

Backup Dancers for Lady Gaga during her 2017 Super Bowl

What Affects A Backup Dancer’s Salary

As you can see in the case study above between Beyoncé and Lady Gaga, not every backup dancer is paid the same. There are many factors that affect the final figures written on paychecks at the end of the day. Here are the major ones.

Years of Experience

Like with every other job in the arts, the more experienced you are, the higher you will get paid. Dancers who have just started out may have to work with no pay at all to get exposure.

But, your pay will gradually rise as you collect more experience and have more gigs to show under your belt. You’ll have more bargaining power when you sit down to negotiate pay with prospective employers, as well.

Here are the income brackets based on how many years of experience you have.

  • 0-5 years: $34,000/year
  • 5-10 years: $40,000/year
  • 10+ years : min $47,000/year

Yes, when you first started out, it will be hard to live off of backup dancing gigs alone. That’s why dancers typically have to take up side gigs or businesses to boost their incomes.


You don’t need formal education or a college degree to become a backup dancer. Most gigs hold auditions, so the most important thing is the dancing skills you already have, not where you learned them from.

However, dancers with a college degree majoring in dancing tend to get paid higher than those who don’t.

Alternatively, you can try and gain experience by dancing or working at conservatories, studios, and academies. They also count toward the “Education” line on your CV.


Certification typically goes hand-in-hand with formal education. If you have a certification from an accredited university, dance academy, conservatory, or studio, then you’re going to have a higher chance of scoring a well-paying gig than those who don’t.

Dancing skill levels

This is the most important part; it will decide exactly how much you’ll get paid and how many gigs you can get. Talented dancers that show exceptional skills during auditions will be offered higher rates. And if they negotiate, they will be able to get the organizers to pay more than the advertised rates on the job description.

So, it’s important that you train and take classes whenever possible to improve your skill. As a dancer, it’s the thing that makes you money!

But higher skill levels or talents don’t just give you high-paying jobs. It’s also going to give you networking opportunities, as well. Organizers may remember you and refer you to others. Or they can contact you for future gigs.

Big stars or upcoming artists

Experienced backup dancers who work for Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, and other big stars will be paid more. But as expected, if you’re new and don’t yet have a lot of experience, unless you’re truly exceptional, you may not immediately land gigs with these A-class celebrities.

Instead, you’ll have to stick with upcoming artists and rising stars. They may not have strong finance, so be prepared to be offered a low rate. Nevertheless, if you’re persistent enough, these small-time gigs can be your launchpad to better-paying, higher-profile jobs!

Check more: How much do Pole dancers make?

How Backup Dancers Make Money After Retiring from Performance

Dancing – even backup dancing – is a beautiful form of art.

But unfortunately, just like any art, it requires the artist to make many sacrifices. Dancers have to trade in their health to pursue the job professionally. Some only dance for a decade before retiring. Tragically, many suffer from career-ending injuries and are forced to cut their career short. But many others are so resilient that they can dance for two decades without even looking like they’re tired.

Nonetheless, most dancers will retire by the time they hit their forties.

Fortunately, “retiring” in this case doesn’t mean ceasing to work in the dance industry completely. Instead of dancing, ex-backup dancers can become dance choreographers, instructors, famous Tiktok dancers and therapists. Many backup dancers started their own dance companies and became celebrities in their own right!

Overall, there are many venues that you can take after you grow tired (literally) of the spotlight and the stage.

Final Words

Backup dancers may not sound like a glamorous job, but if you’re passionate about dancing, it’s a job that’s as good as any. Now that you have learned what backup dancing involves and how much backup dancers make, it’s time to sit down and think clearly about your decision.

The pay may not be great initially, but it will certainly improve. And consider all of the side benefits of the job, too, rather than just looking at the pay alone.

Good luck!

How Much Do Backup Dancers Make On Tour?

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Music videos, movies, and most media content would be empty without backup dancers. They add flavor to the video by providing rhythms for some of its more boring moments like in Hollywood blockbusters where they act as an extra pair of eyes that provide emotional context when necessary or even just break up long stretches between dialogue scenes with interesting choreography sequences on top.

Do you dream of being a backup dancer on tour? How much do backup dancers make on tour? What are the qualifications to be a backup dancer? Find out in this blog post. 

As a backup dancer, you spend your days rehearsing and performing to the best of your ability. You may feel like it’s not enough, but did you know that many backup dancers make over $1 million dollars on tour? I’ll go into more detail in my blog post.

How Dancers Make Their Money

Dancers are in high demand these days, but not everyone knows how they make their money. This blog post is for anyone who wants to know more about the financial side of being a backup dancer.

We’ll cover the different ways backup dancers can earn money and what it’s like when they’re on tour with an artist or group. If you want to find out what it takes to become a dancer, keep reading.

The world of dance can be a very competitive one. It’s not uncommon for dancers with degrees in this field, like Peter Chu and Cat Cogliandro to face an uphill battle when trying to make it big time – even though they’re doing quite well as professionals today.

Dancers are professionals, but they may not have degrees. If you’re talented and skilled enough to be one of the elite dancers in this industry then it’s possible that your payment could go up even higher than what is offered by promoters or entertainment companies per show hour – according to an agreement reached between them with the proposed dancer.

So, how do dancers make money with their dancing skills? Well, there are big companies that hire the best of them. They pay these professionals as salary earners and sometimes give work on a contract basis too! Why am I telling you this? To prepare for what’s ahead of an aspiring dancer like yourself who wants some guidance before taking such a big bet into something so new (and possibly risky).

I’m going to elaborate about casting call details because knowing these beforehand can help us plan better or know if we’ll fit somewhere without wasting time trying out when it might not be worth our while after all.

Read More: Symphony X Announced “North American Tour 2022 25th Anniversary : Where to Buy Tickets

Dancers hired by a company

If you’re not ready to be tied down by a company, then consider heading to the more established and financially stable companies that hire dancers. You’ll get your chance at building up an impressive resume while still enjoying some high demand working with them.

Lately, we’ve seen this trend in corporate America: talented young professionals who want careers on both sides of the stage- they can dance for hours but know when they need business expertise too  This is good news if any aspiring dancer wants longevity because these outfits have resources like no other organization out there; plus when someone joins their ranks.

In this article, I’m going to talk about how some companies hire dancers and place them on salary. One example of these is the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre (based in New York). Another prominent company that hires dancers from all over the world for its shows or videos is ABT – The Official Company Name Here!. As you can see they both have a history of employing people who perform artsy dances during live theatre events.

Do smaller performing arts groups/or individual performers ever get paid by dance instruction only? Yes but it’s rare because most artists want income coming out of their pocket so if there isn’t any other form available then earnings will come directly as cash instead which saves tax.

Working as a dance teacher (primary, secondary or college level)

Dance is a competitive field, and it’s no surprise that many people may think they can’t reach the top. However, if you work hard enough to become an academic or company lecturer in dance then your dream will come true.

As part of being one such professor at any level of academia from assistant professor up through tenured associate dean for Arts schools across Canada are expected to teach various courses on techniques related to their specializations–this includes teaching how-to classes as well as discussing plays/ballet pieces onstage during performances so please don’t forget theater arts while looking into job opportunities elsewhere !!! Dance instructors might need more than just knowledge about choreography.

To become a teacher, you need to first obtain certifications and degrees. For those who want the opportunity of teaching full-time or just courses on an adjunct basis (which may include secondary school), professional voices should aim for higher-paying institutions such as universities where tenure slots exist within departments that require it; this will provide them more stability in their careers than working outside schools entirely would.

Work as a freelance (commercial) dancer

Here is the type of dance project that you want to get involved with once your reach commercial status. Commercial dancers are one-time workers, so it’s all about making money for them instead of building up an extensive resume or portfolio over time as some people do in other careers where they have steady work but still need income every month just because their job isn’t stable enough on certain occasions when things slow down too much financially speaking–like during economic slumps.

In this competitive world, it is important to be serious about what puts food on your table. Some days you will have dry spells where the only cash in your wallet comes from tips and other times when bills are paid comfortably with advances from employers who want nothing more than for their dancers’ careers not to fade away after just one project or job offer but instead flourish across many opportunities (this can happen).

A great way of ensuring longevity while also helping yourself financially-Dancing professionally guarantees an income; however, whether it’s because you impress them time after time again by working hard at building up networks that could help land bigger gigs down the road.

As a commercial or freelance dancer, you might end up auditioning for the sake of landing one gig. Working in this industry also has plenty to offer like working with different choreographers and building your skills; however, there is no guarantee that these opportunities will come about every time so it’s important not only to be flexible but always ready!

You could choose between going solo (on their own) as well as having an agent who helps land projects after negotiating how much commission they receive once successful-in which case we recommend doing some research first before getting into any agreement upfront just because dancers deserve fair compensation too.

How Much Do Backup Dancers Make On Tour?

Backup dancers are like the backup singers in a band. They’re freelance and often work on shorter-term projects than those of Broadway performers, so their role as a full-time job is auditioning for jobs left-right, and center.

A backup dancer’s location is not limited only to the entertainment mecca of America where music videos are filmed, but they must also give up performing altogether if their job requires them to tour. All dancers belong to the Union and set pay standards so no matter what part you travel in as a backup dancer there will always be some kind of protection for yourself.

If they stay put and work on music videos, their income is broken up into two categories: rehearsals (which take place during the day) and shoots. This way you know if an artist has a midday shoot or not without having to check what time range says in between 10 am-1 pm because those hours would be taken as part of morning/evening sessions rather than afternoon ones.

Rehearsal Time FramePay
8-hour day$250 per day
4-hour day$175 per day
Overtime$46 per hour
Overtime after 12 hours$65 per hour

An $80-per-hour job that only lasts one or two weeks of the month? Sounds too good to be true. But it’s not! That pay scale is fair and negotiated by an active union, so if you can land any gigs in this time frame your earnings will soar high into six figures per year (depending on how many jobs come up).

Touring backup dancers are paid a flat rate of $500 per show. They’re also given food and hotel accommodations on tour days, as well as the standard 150% pay increase for rehearsals or performances– meaning those who work with them can expect to be compensated between 50%-150%.

Travel costs vary depending upon how far from home each day’s performance/rehearsal site is located; these locations receive either an additional daily stipend ($35) OR reimbursement up until staying puts their own lodging bill at less than 30 dollars.

The Different Type Of Dances

The dance started many centuries ago, and it is still going strong. It represents togetherness to this day with its original intent for victory in battle or feats of strength-backed up by a confidence that comes from being content at home too.

There are hardly any music videos you will see on TV without seeing some kind of dancer moving their body (or parts!) according to rhythmically against the beat; whether slow or quick-paced doesn’t matter because both types have been choreographed so well into each song’s melody line.

  • Ballet: How can we talk about dances and not say a word about ballet? It would be an injustice to do such. Ballet originated in Italy, where it later became popular way back during the 15th century when they first began performing this art form for audiences across Europe. Excitingly many other dance styles were influenced by what’s called “the classics,” which shows just how important these movements really are.
  • Jazz: With roots in Africa, jazz is a primarily American dance style that combines elements from different cultures and time periods. The music has been around since the early 1900’s when African rhythms were first put to instrumentation like guitar or clarinet for example; at one point it even had its own category within popular culture as evidenced by this famous scene from “Singin’ In The Rain”.
  • Hip-hop dance: Hip Hop’s transformation into a more entertaining dance style was in part due to its jazz roots. This began in the 1970s with Puerto Rican and African communities, who developed this step for their own enjoyment but found that others enjoyed it too – eventually they passed on these moves via word-of-mouth like any other oral tradition before them so today we have krumping.
  • Latin dance: Latin dance is still trendy today. It’s a style that has deep roots in Europe and Africa, but the modern street-style of it began during the 19th century when people started to mix different types together for fun – not just one particular type like ballroom or salsa dancing.

Some other notable dances

  • Modern dance
  • Swing dance
  • Contra dance
  • Folk dance
  • Flamenco dance
  • Country and Western dance

How much do dancers earn and how to become a professional - November 1, 2018

Ivan Slavinsky



It is never easy, but wildly interesting.

Members of the FAM Factory dance team told Sport24 about the difference between a professional team and an amateur one, how much coaches earn and how long it takes to become a good dancer from scratch.

Our team is called FAM Factory and has been around for a very long time. We regularly perform at the largest dance championships throughout Russia, we work at major events. Our choreographer, Yevgeny Kevler, is one of the top choreographers in Russia, staged dances for "Dances" on TNT, "Dance" on Channel One, and has brought up more than one generation of dancers. Our team is diverse - students, office workers, teachers and coaches, but they all have one thing in common - an unimaginable love for dancing. nine0003

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At first, technique is not so important, it comes with experience. It is worth paying attention to physical form, especially if you prefer styles that are characterized by frequent level changes or powerful energy: you may simply not have enough strength. The breather also needs to be developed: fast choreography cannot be danced to the end if the volume of the lungs is not enough. Many dancers take up running to develop their lungs. And for the development of physical strength, functional training or crossfit are suitable - of all training, these will probably be the most useful in our business. If there is no time for this, then you need to at least minimally pump the press, do push-ups, squat. We sometimes conduct physical training classes at team training. nine0003

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and year, everything is very individual here. Many schools have their own reporting concerts and parties. As a rule, at such events, students go on stage for the first time.

If we talk about more complex numbers, then it takes a month and a half to set them up with 3-4 workouts a week for 2-3 hours. The mode of training in a serious team changes, especially if the number is complex and many dancers participate in it. A fairly common occurrence is night workouts. As you might guess, they take place at night, and, as a rule, last 5-6 hours. It's not easy, especially at first and if you have to go to work in the morning, but it's also more efficient in terms of the speed of staging the show, and the result is definitely worth it. nine0003


In the dance world, the year can be conditionally divided into two seasons - spring and autumn. All this time, championships of various levels go one after another, the most "fruitful" in this regard are April and May, as well as November and December. As a rule, all groups put on a performance a month or two in advance, but it all depends on the level of training and available time for the dancers themselves.

In general, championships are a separate and very entertaining cuisine. Dancers are constantly preparing for some kind of competition, it rarely happens that you just come and hang out aimlessly. Everything is almost like in the movie "Step Up": the whole season is the process of preparing for the competition, and in the off-season, everyone either rests, or pumps, or shoots a video. nine0003

At dance championships there is always a division according to the level of training and age: children are separated from adults, beginners are separated from professionals. And within these categories, there is also style: hip-hop, ladies, contemporary.

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Our favorite nomination is best dance show. The name speaks for itself: there are no style bindings here, the main thing is the idea and combination of styles. At some major competitions, the styles used in the show must be declared in advance, at some there are no restrictions, only creativity. Now even in some championships there is a separate Show nomination, and a separate Performance nomination. In the first case, the show should have a story and plot, in the second case, it is important who dances stronger, more powerful and cooler. And there are also solos with duets, which are not limited by styles at all, only by timing. In general, there are a lot of nominations. Beginners or people unfamiliar with dancing can get confused. But as soon as you immerse yourself in this world, everything becomes clear pretty quickly. nine0003

Refereeing at championships is always represented by top dancers: sometimes Russian, sometimes foreign, but always super authoritative. The evaluation criteria, like the judges, are also different, but they look primarily at choreography, technique, synchronism and creativity. You can earn money at good status tournaments. On average, you can get about 30 thousand per team for winning such a tournament. But it is not at all necessary that there will be prize money for winning any championship: somewhere the organizers limit themselves to cups and gifts from sponsors. nine0003

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Nutrition is a matter of personal preference. Most dancers are ordinary people, so until their legs start to fall off, few people even think about nutrition and injury prevention. Many are killed in training, and few people know how to recover, they do not take care. If you don’t eat normally, you may not have enough strength for the whole season. Protein and BCAAs often help out, but in reality, for some reason, few people use them. nine0003

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A: Regular exercise is usually enough to stay in shape. Although, of course, you need to take care of yourself, but adults who have survived a couple of injuries or dancers who work in commerce are already thinking about this.

"Sneakers kill instantly"

As for clothes, this is a separate topic of conversation, which will take more than one hour. Firstly, the style of dance and what you dance in are very closely related. No one will go dancing popping in leggings or short shorts, twerk in sweatpants, too, you know, I don’t rub, like a strip in a baseball cap. Things are, of course, very important. You can't really train in Chinese sneakers. Not even because they are uncomfortable, they just fall apart in a moment. In general, if you danced at least once in shoes, then you can say goodbye to it - it only kills if you train often and for a long time. Especially for us, jazzfunkers, because a lot of techniques are combined, the foot is actively working. And it’s good for contemporary people in general: they dance barefoot in socks, and with simpler things - they put on something very wide and similar to oversized pajamas - and you are the most fashionable in the class. nine0003

Income and expenses

As for the payment for training for teams, it is similar to amateur sports sections: in many teams, participants pay a monthly fee, which includes the rent of the hall and the work of the choreographer.

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Is it possible to make money from dancing? Of course, there is plenty of work. First, dance schools. There are now ten of them at each metro station, a novice teacher, if desired, will quickly find a job. But if you want to get into a top school as a teacher, then you need to work hard, have a name, constantly upgrade, be socially active, shoot videos and shine at the same championships. The main thing is not to be lazy. nine0003

There is also such a great thing as commerce - these are corporate parties, working with stars, large events and the like. Such projects are well paid, and it is always interesting to participate in them. We somehow opened with our show a major event of stylists - Wella Trend Vision. There was so much creativity and creativity behind the scenes that we ourselves were inspired by the most do not indulge. It was very interesting to watch all this behind-the-scenes turmoil and the process of creating images.

On March 22, 2022, by a court decision, Meta, the social networks Instagram and Facebook were recognized as an extremist organization, their activities on the territory of the Russian Federation are prohibited. nine0003

on TV shows and movies, how much you can earn


moonlights as an extra

There could have been more shootings, but I did not set a goal to seriously earn money in this way or visit the set as many times as possible. I regard part-time work on filming as my favorite hobby, which you can do only in your free time and not to the detriment of your main job. nine0003

I'll tell you how to get into the extras, how long the filming shift lasts, what is required from the extras and what is the amount of remuneration. I will also share in which film projects it is more interesting to participate and where they pay more.

How to get into crowd scenes

To make what is happening on the screen look as realistic as possible, the film crew invites crowd scene actors. In films, these people portray passers-by on the street, guests at an event, cafe visitors. And on programs and talk shows - the audience. At the end of the shooting day, extras are paid a fee. nine0003

How to find out about recruiting for extras. Every TV project has a casting manager who selects the actors. This person posts recruitment announcements on thematic sites and forums, in specialized groups on social networks and instant messengers.

Casting and recruitment announcements:,,,,
Moscow casting group,
"Castings, shooting, extras"

If you are alone once you have responded to the ad, the casting manager will add your contacts to the database of crowd scene actors. Even if you don't pass the casting, you may be invited to the next project. nine0003

In my opinion, one of the largest databases is the forum. There are constantly new announcements about people search. The sections are different. They are recruiting extras for movies and TV shows, viewers for TV shows, looking for heroes with interesting stories for TV shows. They are mainly looking for people in Moscow, but there are branches about filming in St. Petersburg and the regions.

Filming in TV shows:,,

There are also casting agencies that collect their databases, including profiles of non-professional actors. As a student, I sent applications to a couple of such agencies, but I was never invited to shoot. Perhaps I just chose the wrong agencies, uploaded bad photos, or my type did not fit the requirements for extras. nine0003

I came to the conclusion that there are more chances to get into extras if you apply for a ready-made project where people are needed right now. Instead of waiting for someone to notice the questionnaire.

Main page of the forum Casting managers create groups in WhatsApp and add everyone who has previously responded to ads

How to send an application. To sign up for shooting, you need to tell the casting manager about yourself. Usually, the announcement indicates exactly how to leave a request: write to e-mail, messenger, or simply reply on the forum. If you really want to participate and feel that you meet the requirements, you can both answer on the forum and duplicate the application by mail. nine0003

The casting manager usually asks for the following information:

  1. Last name, first name, patronymic.
  2. Age. The so-called playing age is important - that is, not the number of years according to the passport, but the visual age. If the ad is looking for young people aged 18-25, and the person is 30, but he looks younger, then it makes sense to send an application.
  3. Height, clothing and shoe size. This information will be needed if you need to change into costumes. Sometimes specific instructions are given regarding the type of appearance, height, clothing size, hairstyle, hair length and color. Since 2007, my parameters have changed, the hair color has been different. I just looked at the requirements on the project and responded if I was suitable. nine0163
  4. Photographs. Usually they ask for two photos: full-length and close-up portrait. Ordinary amateur photos will do. If you have professional photos, great. If you plan to shoot close-ups, you may need detailed shots, such as a photo of hands without a manicure. I didn’t always have normal full-length photos, in these cases I sent several others - face, waist, etc.
  5. Experience in filming. This will help to understand whether the actor can be entrusted with a cameo role and a couple of phrases. nine0163
  6. Local area or metro station. Managers try to invite people who live close to the filming location. So it is more likely that no one will be late. And if the shooting drags on until the metro closes, then a taxi to the nearest areas will cost less for the project budget.
  7. Citizenship. Some projects can only pay citizens of the Russian Federation.
  8. Phone number.

The casting manager will contact the right people and tell you in detail what needs to be done. nine0003


How to protect personal data from the employer

If the candidate's plans have changed and he will not be able to participate in the filming, then you need to tell the casting manager about this as soon as possible in order to find another extra. If you skip a project without warning, then with a high probability you will never be invited to other shootings again. I always came to the projects I signed up for, so I didn’t get blacklisted by casting managers. nine0003

Payment depends on the project budget, the complexity of the role, and the rarity of the selected type. I will talk about average prices just to show the order. So, for a day of shooting in extras in films, they offer 800-1200 RUR. And if a person is given a role with a text in an episode, then the payment can be about 3000-5000 RUR.

Actors are invited to play the role of guests in a serial wedding. The payment is standard - 1000 R per shift. You will have to shoot in your own smart clothes

What projects can you get into

Casting managers write in detail in advertisements what stories they plan to shoot and what is required from the actors of crowd scenes.

I've come across these kinds of projects.

Movies and series about our time. Actors come to the shooting in ordinary clothes. But casting managers ask you not to wear things with small stripes or checks, because they will ripple on the screen. They may be asked to bring two sets of clothes with them if they plan to shoot two different scenes with the same extras. In new clothes it will seem that people are already different. nine0003 An example of an ad in which extras are recruited for a project. They ask you to bring two sets of things with you: casual street clothes and office clothes. One person will need to play the janitor. The payment is the same for everyone - 800 R

Historical or fantasy films and series. Extras dress in costumes that are given out on the set. They may also ask you to bring something of your own if the concept is not very complicated, for example, you can come to the shooting of the 90s in your leggings and a voluminous sweater. nine0003

The payment here is standard - the same as in projects about today.

In February 2018, actors for mass scenes were recruited for the historical series Godunov. For filming at the Glavkino film studio, a city was built with the scenery of Moscow in the 16th century. Reward for participation — 1000 R per shift

TV shows. Here they are mainly looking for spectators, but sometimes you can become a hero. And it is not necessary to tell a story from your life. For example, in broadcasts about court cases, roles with text are often distributed between people who will play participants in the trial. nine0003

Here they pay about 500-1000 R for participation as a spectator and around 1500-2000 R for a role with text.

Recruitment of spectators for the filming of the program “Hi, Andrey!” on the channel "Russia 1". The announcement details the wishes for the appearance and clothing of the guests. The participation fee is indicated in the title of the topic - 500 R. And here participants are invited to a judicial TV show. A trial text of the role will be issued immediately at the casting. Payment from 1500 R to 3000 R. In this project, 3000 R is due to professional actors, 2000 R to students of theater schools and people who have completed acting courses. Amateur actors will be paid 1500-1700 R

Commercials. For advertising, they usually look for people of certain types for specific roles. For example, a manager of 25-30 years old in office casual clothes, a girl of 21-25 years old or a boy of 6 years old "with an open smart face."

For casting, photographs alone are not enough - a person must be able to act, and the director needs to know in advance how the actor looks in the frame, what tone of voice he has, whether the speech is delivered. For this, they ask for a showreel - this is such an actor's video business card. Sometimes you can shoot self-tests - the casting manager will send the necessary text, and the person needs to read it on camera the way he plans to do on the set. nine0003

For participation in the filming of advertising, they usually offer from 10,000 rubles. showreel. I decided that in my case, the efforts would not pay off, because shooting for me is just a hobby, not a way to earn money.

An example of an announcement in Telegram about the casting of heroes in an advertisement. The main characters will be paid 40,000 R for participation, and the minor ones - 25,000 R. Sometimes in such ads they indicate the percentage of agency - this is part of the remuneration that must be given to the intermediary agency in case of approval for the role

Sometimes crowd scene actors only create a background for professional actors, and sometimes they actively participate in the filming process. I am aware of several participation formats.

Extras. These are the largest projects and, in my opinion, the most fun for the participants. When about 100 actors of mass scenes are required, they are allowed to take friends with them, having previously approved their candidacies with the casting manager.

Such a number of people are recruited, for example, for the reconstruction of mass battles, filming performances in a theater with a full house, filming the celebration of the City Day. nine0003

Smaller options - capturing patrons at a club party, guests at a restaurant with a full seat, or patients in a hospital. For such filming, 20-50 people are invited.

For participation in extras, on average, they pay 800-1200 RUR.

For the TV series "Detective" they are looking for men and women 20-45 years old to play the roles of employees and visitors of the hospital. You are asked to come to the shooting in casual clothes. Apparently, this applies more to those who will be selected as visitors, and the doctors will put on issued medical gowns over them. A photo in the same clothes must be attached to the application for participation. Payment — 800 R

Grouping. Almost the same as extras, only fewer people are recruited here - usually 10-20. And therefore, there are more chances to get into the frame. Then you can recognize yourself on the screen, but this role will be short-lived - the extras will flash only for 1-2 seconds.

The grouping is selected more carefully, because these are relatively prominent characters. It can be a company of friends of the main characters, their colleagues, people at neighboring tables in a cafe.

Here they can pay a little more than for participation in extras - somewhere around 1000-1500 R.

Depending on the plot, people of certain types can be searched for in a group. For example, stately women of forty years old for the role of policemen or respectable men of 35-45 years old for the role of businessmen. In this case, the payment will be higher - in the range of 1500-3500 R.

An example of an announcement where women are invited to the roles of policemen. Black shoes and flesh-colored tights are requested for clothing. The form will be issued on the spot. Reward - 1500 R. Active people of retirement and pre-retirement age are looking for filming a music video. Applicants are asked to film how they dance at home and attach the video to the application. They will pay 3500 R, but you need to take food and drinks with you

Episode. This is a real role, albeit a short one. In the episode, they will give a role with the text - most likely, it will be one or more lines. For example, they will ask you to play a waiter in a cafe, a saleswoman in a grocery store, or a passer-by who will ask the main character what time it is.

The role is too small to invite professional actors, but for an amateur actor this is a real success. The candidate may be asked to record self-examinations. A showreel wouldn't be superfluous either.

They will pay an average of 3000-5000 R. But the amount of remuneration may be less - 1500-2000 R.

The project is looking for a man for the role of a security guard. At the end of the message, there is a detailed instruction on how the candidate can record video tests and the text of the future role. The payment will be divided into two parts: 1000 R will be given in cash at the end of the shift and 3500 R will be transferred to a bank card after signing the agreement

Duplication. Professional actors are looking for understudies when it is necessary to replace an actor in an action that he cannot perform himself.

For example, if the hero plays the piano according to the plot, then the understudy of hands, the musician, will be invited to the shooting. A photo of the actor's hands can be attached to the search ad in order to find a person with the most similar hands. nine0003

They can also look for an understudy when shooting is planned from afar or from behind, and there is no point in wasting a professional's time on this. In this case, the understudy does not have to be an exact double of the actor. It is enough to be of the same height and build, to have a common external resemblance, a similar hairstyle and hair color.

Similar facial features may be needed, for example, when a reconstruction of historical events is planned and a person is needed to play one of the historical characters.

Understudies are paid differently depending on the project, but the average range is 1500-5000 R.

They are looking for an understudy of a professional actress for several shooting shifts for a project with a payment of 1500 R per shift. We need an extra who looks like the heroine in the TV series "Kamenskaya" (seasons were released from 2000 to 2011). Apparently, it will be necessary to play the heroine in the past. For a full-length film, they are looking for an understudy who looks like the general in the photo. Participation will be paid 4000 R. And another 650 R for the fact that a person arrives on the specified day in advance to try on clothes

How the shooting goes

Each shooting is a separate creative process, but still there are common features. I will try to answer the questions that a mass worker who is not yet familiar with the world of cinema may have. nine0003

Where to change and eat. Extras can be fed if the budget allows. For example, they will offer lunch with first and second courses and an open buffet with cookies and hot drinks. Usually this is indicated in the advertisement.

If you are filming outdoors, for example, in nature or just on the street, then you will have to change clothes and apply makeup in special trailers. They are called grimvagen and suitvagen. Inside there are mirrors and armchairs, as in a barbershop, and rails for clothes with places for changing clothes. nine0003

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How long to work. A filming shift usually lasts 12 hours. But the extras are not busy all this time - most of the day is spent waiting while they shoot takes with professional actors, while the film crew moves to a new location and sets up the equipment. Therefore, the actors of crowd scenes do not get very tired and can always rest.

Sometimes extras are needed for half a shift or for several hours. This is said in advance in the recruitment announcement. Payment may be lower than for a full shift. And if the shooting takes place at night, then they will pay more. nine0003

The reward is given at the end of the shooting day in cash against the signature in the statement or by transfer to a bank card.

If a shift lasts longer than originally planned, overtime hours may be paid. If the shooting ends too late, the participants will be called a taxi to their homes. All this will be agreed in advance during the recruitment process.

An example of what a grim wagon might look like from the outside. Source: And this is how the make-up truck looks like inside: a real dressing room on wheels. Source:

Where they film. Movies are filmed in many cities of Russia, but most of the projects are in Moscow. There are the largest film studios and film sets. Extras are needed there daily and often for several projects at once.

By querying "extras - city name" or "castings - city name" in the search engine, you can find sites and thematic groups in social networks in almost all large cities. But filming there is much less frequent than in the capital. It is unlikely that you will be able to work like this all the time. nine0003

Sometimes part of the film is filmed in Moscow, and several scenes are shot in other cities or in nature - by the sea or in the mountains. To do this, the actors and the film crew arrive at a suitable location, and the extras are already recruited on the spot.

It happens that after filming, impressive scenery remains, which are not dismantled, but preserved as a landmark. For example, the filming location of the TV series Notes of a Forwarding Agent of the Secret Office in the Moscow region was turned into the Pilgrim Porto movie town, and a film park of the same name was created at the filming location of the film Viking in Crimea. nine0003


Crimea and Sevastopol: what you need to know before the trip

I acted as an extra in Crimea and Moscow because I lived both there and there. I will tell you about the most memorable projects in which I happened to participate.

In the Viking Park, scenery was used that remained after the reconstruction of the settlement of the early Middle Ages for the filming of a feature film

Feature films

The first time I got to the shooting by chance. It was in 2007 in the Crimea. In a trolleybus, a woman approached me and asked: “Girl, are you a hippie?” The youth at that time really liked to look bright. We talked with a fellow traveler, she offered to take part in the filming of a film about hippies, said that you can take one of your friends with you. nine0003

Thanks to such a simple casting, I got to the shooting of the film "House of the Sun" and took my friend with me. According to the plot, they filmed a party of hippies of the 70s - the friends of the protagonist. Filming of these scenes took place in the summer of 2007 on a semi-wild beach in the vicinity of Balaklava in Crimea.

Film "House of the Sun". About 60 people were recruited into the extras on simple conditions: they needed their own clothes in the hippie style. I wore a long geometric print skirt, a fringed top, and a plaid flannel shirt with sleeves rolled up to the elbows. On the neck - several beads of different lengths in ethnic style, on each hand - bracelets. On his head was a thin red bandage - a hairdresser. On his feet are low black and white sneakers. nine0003

The film "House of the Sun" on "Kinopoisk"

Costume designers examined all the actors of crowd scenes and could modify the costume or hairstyle. Many were asked to take off their shoes and walk barefoot on the beach, because the shoes showed that they were modern.

It was like a festival or open air. The organizers decorated the coastal area with entourage decorations: they set up Indian tents - hippie tents - and lit large fires. And we portrayed people having fun. Some of the extras were given requisite alcohol - glass bottles without labels, which contained cherry juice. nine0003

There were three shifts in total, all night shifts. For each shift they paid 60 hryvnias. At the time, this was a significant amount. In extras, it was possible to get the equivalent of a regular salary for 1-2 days. Therefore, officially employed people took days off at their own expense from their main job in order to earn extra money on the set.

900 Р

I earned for my first role in extras in 2007

I remember this project the most. Maybe because before that I had not seen anything like this and had no idea how feature films were made. And a friend who was with me in the extras, a year later went to study as a sound engineer and now she works on filming herself. nine0003 Frame from the film. This is how a scene with dancing and having fun actors of crowd scenes looks on the screen. Source: Professional photo from the shoot. Part of the crowd is resting between takes. Everyone brought beach mats with them and settled down on them. Source:

Film “Hamlet. XXI Century". I got to the shooting of this film by word of mouth. Friends said that they signed up for the project and shared the contacts of the casting manager so that my friend and I could send our photos. Everything worked out - both of us were approved. nine0003

Hamlet. XXI century” on Kinopoisk

Filming took place in the summer of 2009 in the Vorontsov Palace in Alupka, which temporarily turned into Hamlet’s castle. The extras had to play the court retinue of the main characters, guests at the funeral of Ophelia and eyewitnesses of the final battle between Hamlet and Laertes - in total, about 100 people were invited.

Mostly young people with dark hair were selected for the extras. They needed their own costumes, they asked to wear something black and unusual: casual clothes would not fit, but informal hoodies and skirts are what you need. We had such things at home, so there were no difficulties. My friend and I dressed similarly: floor-length skirts and Victorian-style blouses. nine0003

Make-up artists and costume designers worked on the site, who were responsible for the appearance of the actors in crowd scenes. Some were given special costumes, such as knightly armor.

They also provided food on this project: they organized hot meals during the lunch break, and the rest of the time there was a buffet with drinks and cookies. During the day, there was free time to relax or take a walk around the territory of Vorontsovsky Park in the vicinity of the palace.

Filmed two days of 12 hours. For each shooting day they paid 80 hryvnias - about 300 R at the rate of 2009years, but at that time this amount was also significant.

Frame from the film. The extras depict a retinue that supports the main characters before the race. Source: The bus that took extras to the filming location and back. There is an inscription on the windshield: “Movie film Hamlet, actors”


For the shooting of the first series, my friend and I were invited by already familiar casting managers in the Crimea, who had our contacts.

Series “Anna German. The Secret of the White Angel. nine0132 The plot was filmed in Italy in the late 60s. The extras had to play the guests of the music festival held in Sanremo in 1967.

Series “Anna German. The Secret of the White Angel" on Ivi

The shooting took place in the summer of 2011 in Yalta, in the Yubileiny Concert Hall. The Yubileiny website says that the hall is designed for 2,600 seats. But in fact there were fewer people - the space was not all filled. We were periodically asked to change seats so that people would sit as tightly as possible in the frame, and only empty seats would remain behind the frame. nine0003

Costumers and make-up artists examined each person and changed clothes, if necessary, and then did hair and make-up. I was in a sheath dress and shoes with wide heels. The costume designers approved. Hot lunches were offered to extras throughout the day. There was also a buffet with cold water, hot drinks and cookies.

Filmed one day - from morning to evening. For participation, they paid 100 hryvnias (350-400 R at the exchange rate of 2011), but at that time this amount was tangible. nine0003

Series pilot. In 2016, I already lived in Moscow and was looking for a part-time job on the forum.

I found the topic "Extras in cinema, series, advertising, clips", and there is an announcement about the search for actors for the pilot release of the series. The pilot episode is a test episode, a kind of trailer for the entire season. It is filmed to present a new script to a customer, such as TV producers, a film studio or a TV channel. If the pilot approves, then they start filming the entire series.

I don’t remember the working title of this project, but I do remember what was on the set and how much I managed to earn. About 30 people were invited to the extras - we had to portray passers-by and visitors in a cafe. According to the plot, the action took place in our days, so everyone came in their clothes. Filmed in a shopping center.

1000 RUR was paid for participation. Of these, 800 RUR is a reward for a full day shift. The shift lasted about 12 hours, but most of the time we just rested and waited to be invited to the set. nine0003

1000 Р

I was paid for participating in the filming of the pilot of the series

Everyone was warned in advance that the shooting could be delayed. They promised to pay 100 R for each hour of processing. As a result, we were delayed for 2 hours and received an additional 200 R for this.

Nothing was said about food in the announcement. For some reason, I thought that it would be the default, and did not specify this point separately. Apparently, the budget was enough for dinners only for the film crew - the extras were not fed. So I ate at the food court for my own money. nine0003

I realized that I need to clarify all the points of interest in advance in order to clearly understand how to prepare for participation and what to take with me.

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TV shows

On the same forum in the thread about the search for viewers, I found an announcement about the recruitment of people for the last day of filming Blue Light. My friend and I got interested and decided to participate. The casting was face-to-face - at the Mosfilm film studio. This was in the winter of 2014. nine0003

The extras were divided into 2 groups. Separately, those who would sit close to celebrities were selected. They were promised to be paid 1,000 RUR for participation. All other spectators were entitled to a fee of 800 RUR.

According to the conditions, they had to come in their dresses to the floor. My friend and I didn’t have such dresses, but we decided not to rent them so as not to spend money. Therefore, we took with us the usual elegant dresses just below the knee that we had.

At the casting, someone was in evening dresses under outerwear, and someone brought things with them, like us. We got to the end of the line, and when it came to us, we were told that the paid places were almost over. And that they can only take me alone with a payment of 800 R. I decided not to leave my friend and refused to participate. But if we wanted, we could stay and see how the shooting would go, that is, become spectators, but for free. nine0003

800 Р

I was offered for participation in the filming of "Blue Light"

I concluded that I should come to the casting early so as not to waste time in vain.


In the winter of 2018, I participated in the filming of an advertisement for an MTS promotion to buy a mobile phone. I was an extra - an understudy for actress Yulia Alexandrova. I found out about the need for an understudy in WhatsApp - the casting manager sent a message to the chat for extras: they promised 3,000 rubles for filming.

MTS commercial on YouTube

I was sure that I would not fit. I sent an application at random and forgot about it. Two weeks later, the casting manager contacted me and asked me to send the photos again, because for some reason the files attached were of low quality, everything was blurry when enlarged. After that, I was invited to the shooting - there were no other tests or rehearsals: they approved only by photo.

We planned to shoot at night on the street. At that time it was quite cold - about -17 ° C. Friends began to dissuade me from participating. I called the casting manager to see if someone else could be nominated. The casting manager reassured me: she said that there would be somewhere to warm up and that they would feed. And she also promised to pay an additional 1000 R from the casting agency. I agreed. nine0003

Before filming, I was given the same clothes as the actress and had similar hair and makeup. The items included a red coat, black trousers, a light-colored pinstriped sweater, and a white hat. And the bag, scarf and phone that we advertised were one for two. There was thermal underwear under the clothes - they gave it to me new, like all the clothes. We were also saved from the cold by heating insoles for shoes and chemical hand warmers.

In the frame, I had to do several trial takes instead of the actress so that the film crew would set up the equipment and find the right angle. I also had to run down the street - at this time I was filmed from the back. This run was supposed to be in the video, but the final version was greatly reduced, and only close-ups of the actors got into it. nine0003

As a result, most of the time I sat in a warm make-up, but the actors and crew worked in the cold all night. I could also eat at the common buffet, where there was a lot of food and hot drinks. I don’t even know if my participation in this project paid off for the organizers.

4000 R

my highest remuneration for filming

I was paid 4000 R for filming by bank transfer. Of these, 3000 R is the originally promised amount, 1000 R is an additional payment from the casting agency. It was my highest reward. nine0003 An old message on WhatsApp, where they are similarly looking for an extra - an understudy for a professional actress. The photo is no longer loading. I still have a photo of part of the script for the commercial. The final versions of the videos were greatly shortened, much of the footage was not included in them.

  • Viewers are paid the least on TV shows.
  • The highest pay is for roles with text in commercials.

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