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Background Artistes

Background artistes, represented through the Film Artistes' Association (FAA) section of BECTU, are a growing part of the union. Request an application form.

Email to find out more about the union's support.


New ratecard sets out 3-year deal 

The latest PACT/BECTU rate card (also attached to this page) comes into effect on 1 March 2017 and will run for three years. There will be an increase of 8% over the three years on the basic day and night rates, and 2.9% on travel payments, with future increases tied to TFL increments. 

Peter McInerney (FAA branch chair), Ian Williams (vice chair) and Willie Lesslie (now retired national official) successfully concluded negotiations with PACT over the structure of the PACT/ FAA agreement.

Background artistes will find rates for a standard day, a standard night call, a shift call, travel allowances and more. Talks are held every other year and the next new agreement is expected in 2020.

Rates app for members

Once members have downloaded the app, they simply enter the details of their engagement (length of day, travel, any special requirements for example) and the app calculates the sum due. Use of the app will not only help with accuracy but should speed up the checking out process at the end of a day’s shoot.

Members have been asked to send feedback and/or any observations on functionality to That said, the branch committee is also keen for members to read and understand the PACT/BECTU agreement covering background artistes. The app will be updated in time for the introduction of new pay rates from 1 March 2017. 

More about background artistes

As freelance workers, background artistes, often known as extras, provide an essential service to film makers and independent producers. Whilst these workers may not be in the foreground of a particular shot, their skills are vital to the quality of the final work.

Email to find out more about BECTU's support for background artistes and to request an application form. 

Whether we are talking about powerful crowd scenes in the latest blockbuster, the historical accuracy of a period drama, or a group shot in a favourite soap, background artistes bring vital skills, flexibility and knowledge to the production process.
The FAA, through BECTU, works to ensure that background artistes are properly recognised and justly rewarded for their contribution to film and programme-making.


Perhaps the biggest industrial issue facing background artistes is the poor practice of many agencies which charge upfront fees to register artistes but fail to make the necessary efforts to place people in work.
The union was instrumental in the establishment of the National Association of Supporting Artistes Agencies. Sadly the organisation is no longer in operation but the fact of its existence, even for a short time, shows a will amongst the reputable agencies to promote best practice to deliver better support to the artistes on their books. The best agencies continue to operate however the less good continue to disappoint.

Industry consultation

BECTU is a regular contributor to consultations affecting its members. Read BECTU's latest submission to government on behalf of background artistes (November 2015).

Additional member benefits

In addition to collective representation, the union's background artiste members, also have individual access to the full range of Benefits and Services provided by BECTU. Key benefits include:

  • a free listing on Crewbus, the union's online freelance directory;
  • access to EarlyBird, a listing of upcoming productions published regularly
  • advice on reputable agencies;
  • legal services covering work-related issues, including personal injury;
  • legal services covering issues outside work;
  • a copy of the FAA /PACT agreement listing full entitlements and rights for background artistes on PACT productions;
  • representation in the event of a dispute on a production;
  • advice on Schedule D and NI issues (Tax Guide for Freelances, downloadable from this page for logged in members only);
  • support with debt collection;
  • union journal, Stage, Screen and Radio.

If you are serious about working as a background artiste and about being treated as a professional, we invite you to join the FAA section of BECTU. Request an application form.
Contact assistant national secretary, Paul Evans, to find out more about BECTU's support for background artistes.

Last page update 19 January 2017. 

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