How Much Do Extras Get Paid?

Female movie extra acting

Basic Pay

In Ireland, movie and TV extras earn the minimum wage (€12.70 an hour in 2024) for a 10 hour day. The calculation excludes an hour or so for lunch and breaks. If an extra wraps after just a few hours, the production company will still pay the full contracted rate of approx. €100. On occasions, an extra might be in-and-out in less than 2 hours! If the day runs longer than 10 hours, extras / background actors earn overtime at about €14 an hour.

A hot lunch, snacks, and beverages are always provided free of charge.

Payment for Special Skills

Extras receive additional payment when a set requires a “special skill” which they possess (e.g. playing a musical instrument, surf boarding, rollerblading, horseback riding, dancing, martial arts, etc.). The payment could be a multiple of the minimum wage, depending on the requirement.

Movie extra playing violin on film set

Payment for Featured Extras

A “featured extra” receives a bonus of about €50 for a day on set. This is a person who gets obvious screen time, i.e. they are “featured”. The extra might be a waitress who seats the main stars, a policeman who arrests the lead actor, or a doctor who attends to the lead, etc. Such an extra might also deliver 2 or 3 lines of script.

Payment for Costume Fittings

Where a movie or TV show requires costumes, the Costume Department may fit extras a few days in advance of shooting. The fitting takes about an hour. Extras / background actors receive approx. €25 for costume fittings.

Movie extras on horseback

Payment for Commercials (product advertisements)

There are two different types of payment for advertisements:

  • A Shooting Fee for the extra’s time (€110-€160 per day)
  • A Buyout Fee (if semi-featured or featured)

An extra will always receive the shooting fee. In addition, the buyout fee is for usage of the extra’s image in the advert. It only pays out if the producer uses the extra’s image. If the final edit does not show the extra, there is no buyout payment . The same is true if the advert never runs. Therefore, while the shooting fee is always paid promptly, the buyout fee might not be paid until several months after the recording takes place, if at all. The buyout fee varies depending on:

  • The duration of exposure of the extra’s face
  • The medium (TV, YouTube, cinema, side of bus etc.)
  • The territory (e.g. just Ireland)
  • The length of time that the advert runs (e.g. a 1-year buyout)

Semi-Featured v Featured Extras

  • If an extra’s face is clearly visible (and not in a crowd scene) for 1–3 seconds in a TV advert, they’re generally considered to be semi-featured. A 1-year buyout for TV usage in Ireland would result in a buyout fee of about €320.
  • If an extra’s face is very obvious for more than 3 seconds in a TV advert (in focus, and easily recognisable to their friends at a casual glance), they’re generally considered to be featured. A 1-year buyout for TV usage in Ireland would result in a buyout fee of about €500.

If an extra features in a TV advert with speaking lines, the buyout fee increases dramatically. For example, the buyout fee to run an advert on all TV channels in Ireland for 1 year would be €3,000-€6,000. By way of example, the main actor in a National Lottery advert (shown on all TV channels for a year) would earn approx €6,000. By contrast, the buyout fee for a modest product (shown on just TG4) might be less than €1,000.

PAYE on Movie Extras’ Pay

All payments are subject to PAYE tax at the prevailing rates.

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