What’s a Bump and How Do I Get Paid for It?

AUGUST 23, 2018
Smoke bumps are added to a Background Actor’s pay.
Background Actors can get a bump from working with smoke | Station 19 (ABC)

A bump is money added to your base wage for doing something beyond basic background in a scene. Bumps have been added to Background Actors’ pay for things like having specialty wardrobe and working in certain conditions since the beginning of the film industry.

We know our Background Actors work hard and we want to ensure you get paid accurately and on time, so we talked with our paymasters to find out what you need to know about getting bumps.

This guide is for all payroll done by Central Casting. There are times when Central Casting casts a show, but the payroll is done by another company. You’ll know you’re being paid by us when your voucher says Central Casting and/or Entertainment Partners. If you have payroll or bump questions on a production paid by another company, you will need to contact them directly.

What kinds of things can I get bumps for?

Bumps can be determined by a variety of factors, including if you’re a member of SAG-AFTRA. In some cases, you may receive a bump for things like wearing full body makeup, working with smoke on set, or getting wet in a scene. If you are a non-union Background Actor, you may not be due bumps in these situations, and if you are given a bump, the amount may be at the discretion of production.

How do I know if I’m getting a bump?

Depending on the production and the role, you may be notified of any bumps you’re due when you’re booked. When you are notified ahead of time, the bump will likely already be on your voucher. If you are given a bump on set, your bump will be added to your voucher before you leave. It’s extremely important to work with the Assistant Director to make sure your bump is added before you sign your voucher and turn it in at the end of the day.

If you do receive a bump on set, make sure you understand and work out the details of your bump with the Assistant Director before you start filming.

How will bumps show up on my paycheck?

When you receive your paycheck, you will be paid the base Background Actor’s pay rate, your bump, and any overtime you are owed. When bumps are involved, payroll will take your base rate and divide it by 8 (the standard work hour amount). That new figure becomes your hourly rate for any possible overtime you may work on that day.

What do I do if a bump is not on my paycheck?

If you were owed a bump that is not reflected on your paycheck, contact the payroll department from 6am-6pm PT Monday-Friday at 855.500.2055. Payroll can send a request for the bump to the show, but they will be working with the production’s accounting department, not the AD’s you worked with on set, so verifying the bump can be difficult. That’s why it’s extremely important to make sure any bumps you receive are on your voucher before you sign it and turn it in. No matter the circumstance, you should always retain a copy of your voucher for reference in any pay discrepancies.

Keep in mind that paychecks are due to be mailed out on the Thursday after the week you worked, but may be mailed out earlier depending on when the production company turns in the vouchers. Before contacting payroll, double check that the paycheck in question is actually from the work date you were supposed to receive the bump.

Want to know more about getting paid by Central Casting? Check out our article What Background Actors Need to Know About Getting Paid and read through our Payroll FAQs.

Have you received a bump while working as a Background Actor?

View Results

By Meghan Dubitsky

Article Category: