There are companies that are termed “Calling Services” or “Booking Services” that charge fee(s) to obtain extra work for you. These Calling Services are not contracted by production companies as Casting Directors are, rather they are independent services that work for the individual extras that sign up for their service. The fee is usually on a monthly basis, however some use a per-job-booked fee structure also.
Most Extras Casting Directors use these calling services often, especially when they are casting large amounts of extras for a specific production. It is much easier and less time consuming to make one call to a Calling Service and tell them what they need than it is to call each and every extra individually.
Once an extra signs up for a Calling Service, they provide them with photos, clothing size forms, and contact information. Then it is simply a matter of letting the Calling Service know your availability. The booking service will submit their clients based on their availability to all of the extras Casting Directors, and the Casting Directors can book as many or as few of these extras and give the booking service the call times, wardrobe requirements, shooting location, etc., to forward along to their clients. It is then the responsibility of the Calling Service to provide the details to their extras and confirm the booking.
Extras who do not use a Calling Service must constantly call recorded casting lines that the extras casting directors set up, and then call a separate number if they fit exactly what is on the recorded line. The competition to get work this way is extremely fierce. It is a generally accepted reality that extras who use respected and legitimate Calling Services are booked far more frequently than those who try to do their own booking.
The fees that Calling Services charge range from around $45 – $75 per month depending on your union status, age, and the number of days that you are booked during the month. There also may be an initial registration fee that can be as low as $20 to over $100 if they require a first month fee and last month fee in addition to the registration fee