In Los Angeles there are so many talk shows, game shows, dating shows, etc that all need audience but there are only so many tourists that request tickets. When shows are in their first season or just not getting a high enough ticket requests these production companies turn to audience coordinators that hire actors to sit in the audience and smile, laugh, cheer, and mostly clap. It doesn’t pay very much, normally $8 / hour, but on slow months or weeks it sure is better to be on set clapping and watching tv being made than to flip burgers or sit at home watching tv. Most pay cash though a few pay with a check. You do have to fill out forms with your Social Security, even though you are paid cash, don’t be surprised.
There are a handful of audience companies, currently the most popular ones are
Standing Room Only (aka SRO)
Background Talent Service (BTS)
SRO & BTS both cast most of the same shows.
SRO posts on Craigslist under TV/Film jobs they take just about anyone that submits (which means any riff raff off the street… Could be sitting next to you for 8 hours)
BTS posts on LA Casting or the owner, Debbie sends out emails if you’ve worked with her before, BTS is more picky about who they use.
The real difference between SRO & BTS is pay
SRO is always $8/hr
BTS is generally $10/hr or $8/hr with a minimum rate like $64/8 (which means even if you work 4 hours you still get $64) also, BTS gives time+1/2 for overtime (CA law), SRO only gives $8/hr (no overtime)
Elite Audiences casts audience for some of the same shows as the others, their owner, Karen has a hotline you can call.
Burbank Casting is run by Susan & Michelle they are my favorites, they only post good, fun, well paying jobs, on LACasting.
So, what are currently the best shows to work audience on?
Jeff Probst: (is in it’s first season) he has a party room you hang out in before you tape with hair/makeup people for the audience, a free photo booth, a wii, a dj, computers for you to use, free snacks, coffee. Once the show starts taping the warm up girl is funny, and genuine it tapes quick and you are out the door. Films at Sunset Bronson.
Ricki Lake: fun topics, moves quick, she’s genuine, sweet and they give out hundreds of dollars worth of goodies to the audience daily. Films at Culver Studios.
The Talk: short show to work, not much money but they give out goodie bags as you leave with swag. Films at CBS Radford
Rove LA: Australian host, funny, A list celebrity guests, quick show. Films at Warner Bros.
Let’s Make a Deal: you can win tons of prizes or money if you don’t, you still get paid :) Films at Sunset Bronson
Judge Judy: quick shoot, nice crew, all you have to do is sit and listen it moves quickly and you don’t have to clap or hoot and holler. Shoots at Sunset Bronson
There are other great shows to sit in the audience for like Ellen, Conan, etc just none of those pay. The ones listed above are paid or partial paid audiences. Keep in mind that there are ticket holders in the audience that are not being paid so keep that info to yourself on set. How would you feel if you drove, parked, waited, and clapped for 8 hours then found out the reason next to you was paid money to do what you just did for free?! Be courteous of others around you. :)
I don’t want to give out email addresses or hotline numbers here. If you are interested with working with one of the companies listed above please google search them to find their info.
Any other tips about doing audience, or great shows to work on? Let us know, add your comments below. Xoxo