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January 2020 - Extras: A Voice for New Mexico Background Actors

Many background actors were used during the production of Daybreak filmed in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

They are sometimes the unsung heroes when it comes to film and television production. Background actors are necessary to make a scene work. In terms of treatment, the background community felt they needed to speak up. A new initiative was proposed in October of last year by The New Mexico Background Community to provided New Mexico background actors SAG-AFTRA-like provisions. Some of the points of the campaign include having the right to a living wage and a reasonable time of payment, providing a safe and free environment from harassment and protection from the elements, supplying a secure place to store their belongings and access to clean water and restrooms, and the right to organize.

Braden Anderson, a spokesperson for The New Mexico Background Community, informed New Mexico Entertainment magazine that they received word that the top casting agencies in New Mexico, as well as the New Mexico Film Office, have agreed to adopt the Bill of Rights. “It will always come down to individual productions to adhere to the rights. The intermediary players, like the casting companies and Film Office, are on-board. It's a New Mexico industry-standard in theory as of now,” shared Anderson. “We'll keep on eye on things and see how it goes. But currently, we've set a standard for Background Actors working in New Mexico, while avoiding, for the time being, any involvement with a union. That means no dues for the same or similar protections. For now, we feel it's a big win. We will continue to monitor the progress of implementation, and encourage feedback from the local industry.”

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