An Open Letter to the New Mexico Film Community:
We are a community of background performers and allies who believe we deserve the fair and consistent standards that our fellow actors who work as principal performers have come to expect while working on set. Background acting is hard work and it is also an important first step for many talented performers as they develop careers as full-time, professional actors. Furthermore, making sure that background actors receive fair treatment creates a solid foundation for the maintenance of high professional standards for all actors.
As film and television production continues to flourish and expand in New Mexico, we want to ensure that background actors are treated with the same respect and dignity as the rest of our colleagues on set. To that end, we are asking productions to adhere to a new Background Actors' Bill of Rights that establishes consistent standards for safety, working conditions, fair pay and the right to organize. We have spent several years working to make sure that the growing community of background actors in New Mexico are equipped with the knowledge needed to work as a professional on set. We ask that, in turn, producers agree to treat background actors as professionals, and believe this Bill of Rights is a tool that can help them achieve that.
We believe that professional background actors deserve:
1. Compensation: Producers rely on the skill and professionalism of experienced actors in background roles. All background actors have the right to a living wage and a reasonable time of payment.
2. Safety: Background actors have the right to a work environment that is safe and free from harassment. They should be afforded reasonable protection and shelter from the elements, notification of, and right to refuse, work in hazardous conditions, and should have access to first aid and a trained medic. When extreme distance is required, they should also be provided a reasonable turnaround time between the end and start of each day.
3. Working Conditions: On every set and location, background actors have the right to a clean and protected holding to rest, a secure place to store their belongings and access to clean water and restrooms. Background actors are entitled to the same consideration and respect as others working on set.
4. Right to Organize: Background actors have the right to collectively voice concerns or form a union without fear of retaliation.
Sincerely, (The Undersigned)