You must first fill in our online application form (reading and accepting the terms and conditions found with the form). Please have your basic measurements to hand, like height, chest, waist, inner leg, head etc (in cm/kg), as well as bank details and National Insurance number before you start filling in the form. You will also need a clear waist-up photo of yourself to upload in which your face can clearly be seen. You can also upload another photo of yourself which you feel may help your cause (in uniform, in action etc) though only one clear photo is required.
You will be required to fill in some basic information regarding your Military experience and skills though you will have the opportunity to go back at a later date to expand on these.
You will be given personal login details so you can keep your profile, availability, and photos up to date. With these login details you will also have access to the ‘Your Zone’ News and Information’s pages which highlight upcoming films etc.
As stated in the Terms and Conditions, we reserve the right to decline your application and/or remove your login privileges without your consent.
Production Companies will select personnel suited to their individual requirements; whilst we may have some influence, the decision as to who gets an assignment lies squarely with them.
If selected, you will be contacted by MFS by phone, email or SMS with details regarding the production. Closer to the day we will contact you with a confirmation request - this may be at short notice. Only accept confirmation if you are absolutely sure you can attend. If you subsequently have a change in personal circumstances and cannot attend please give us as much notice as possible (weeks rather than days) – if there are any doubts early on, let us know immediately – finding a replacement last minute is very hard and our entire reputation can be compromised if we have no-shows.
You will be emailed with booking details as soon as we receive them. Check your email the day before shooting to see if there are any changes and let us know if you don’t have access to emails that day – we will SMS/call you instead. When your details arrive reply to the email with your full name, as we often have many same-names on a production - this will ensure we will know that you have received and understood instructions.
Reply to text messages rather than starting a new one. Do not call the SMS number as it is may be computer generated – instead please call 0844 870 6542 if you need to talk to us.
Please make sure you reply to emails or texts with your full name - not just your first name.
If you are unable to check your email and have not received details by text, you may have to get them by phone. In this case you should call the office between 5pm-6pm the night before your assignment. You must call us between these times otherwise you may be replaced. You will be given your call time, details of location, wardrobe requirements. If you are working on a Saturday, Sunday or Monday please call on the Friday evening.
Productions often choose ex-military personnel for their reliability – please be punctual and don’t shatter their illusions of the armed forces. If you fail to attend without good reason, or are consistently late, Military Film Services will have to remove you from your booking register.
The nature of filming dictates that schedule changes often occur. This may result in your filming day being postponed or cancelled. Unfortunately this can occur at very short notice. The production is entitled to cancel you without remuneration up to 5:00pm the night before your scheduled day of work. Filming happens seven days a week so you could be cancelled on a Sunday evening for Monday’s filming.
Checking for Work
Please do not regularly check in to find out about potential work. We will post work opportunities on the News section of the Extras Zone and will use Twitter @MFSHQ to keep you posted. If you haven’t heard from us for a few months then give us a call or email.
You will often have to attend a costume fitting which may be for a few hours – you will get paid for this. Treat it as any other filming day – you will not be able to work on the film if you do not attend.
We will provide you with directions on how to get to the Set/Location after you confirm acceptance of the assignment. It is your responsibility to get to a location on time. Most starts are very early so make sure public transport cover these hours. Some central London locations may require the congestion charge – you will have to cover this yourselves. In all cases, plan well and plan early and take a copy of your details/addresses/contact numbers with you.
Issues or Emergencies
If you can’t attend a day’s filming you must let us know immediately – likewise if you have any emergency or problems en-route – this may help us help you as well as finding possible replacements.
If you have a problem on set, try to contact us first, and approach your on-set point of contact second. Be aware of the implications of disturbing filming – but conversely don’t suffer in silence.
Please see our Set Etiquette Guide for information.
Rates of pay
There are many different rates of pay dependant on location and/or production - you will be told the rate of pay prior to your acceptance of the assignment. There are also night, overtime and specialist rates which may be added to your total. Saturday and Sunday are paid as a normal working day. Some jobs may have non-standard rates applied but again this will be agreed beforehand.
The Production Company will forward your pay to us approximately 4-6 weeks from the day that you worked, however this has been known to take up to 3 months. As soon as they forward the money – we will pay you. This will be by BACS directly into the account details you have supplied to us (hence the importance of giving us the right ones). You will recieve an electronic pay slip when this payment has been made. You will also have the chance to approve your pay amount before we pay you, and you will also have access to all your payslips via your profile.
As of 18th August 2015 Military Film Services will deduct a 17.5% commission from your pay on all work carried out – this is the only way we make our money; we do not charge the Production Company for any other costs. In some cases we could take a finders fee and would not take commission, but this is very rare.
Most agencies take a one-off payment, which is deducted from your first pay pack – this payment covers the cost of your photo in a casting book and website along with other associated start up costs. The fees usually range between is £60-£80. Whilst we avoided charging this for almost 2 years, from the 5th May 2014 we have had to implement a small charge of £40. As of 18th August this has had to be raised to £50. We have ensured it is still below most other agencies and is also split over your first 2 days pay cheques. This will ONLY be charged once you have worked with us. There is no fee charged if you stay on our books without us finding you work. The fee covers you for one full year.
Tax and National Insurance
When working as a film extra, HMRC consider you to be self employed and therefore you are responsible for declaring and paying your own Income Tax as applicable to your own circumstances and submitting a tax return if necessary. The HMRC website has more details.
As of 6th April 2014 the regulations regarding working as an extra have changed. You are now classed as self-employed for National Insurance purposes and to that effect payments made to you will be gross of tax and Class 1 National Insurance contributions and you must declare these earnings as part of your normal self-assesment return.
There are two unions that look after the interests of Supporting Artistes, the FAA (part of BECTU the Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematographic and Theatre Union) and Equity. You do not have to belong to any union to work as an Extra; however there are advantages. Unions can protect your pay and your rights when you work on any production and it is their job to negotiate agreements setting out the terms and conditions of your employment - joining one could help protect you and your earnings. Unions lobby for the protection of reasonable working hours and likewise unions will can look after your welfare or help in the event of a dispute or injury. Information can be found at: www.equity.org.uk or www.bectu.org.uk