I’m sure you have watched a TV show online that had a live studio audience in the background.
Whether it’s a daily TV talk show, a game show or even a reality show, did you know that TV shows are often looking for someone just like you to simply act as an audience member and will reward you with cash in doing so?
If you like the idea of watching something somewhat entertaining and getting paid to sit down and act like a crowd member, then I wanted to share the many resources you can use today to find these opportunities as well as answer some pretty popular questions in relation to this industry.
Now, keep in mind that a lot of these opportunities are often found in Los Angeles and New York City, but it doesn’t mean you should at least look to see what’s available in your area. Paid audience work does pop up outside of these two major cities, but it’s quite rare.
And, no, you don’t need any acting experience at all. As long as you can act like a normal crowd member and follow directions, then most of the time, you shouldn’t have a problem getting accepted.
For now, if you want to get paid as an audience member, take a look at some of these options that could be of interest and hope for the best. Toward the end, I will answer some questions most people have as well.
How to Find Paid Audience Work for TV Shows
NOTE: This is how to find audience work for the average Joe. If you’re an aspiring actor, then this is a great way to make money in between jobs, but don’t expect much in terms of networking or advancing your career!
If you search for audience work, this is a company that often ranks near the top on Google, and it’s for a good reason.
Proclaimed as an “Emmy nominated company,” StandingRoomOnly does all of the dirty work for you, constantly listing audience jobs that you can apply to, all for free!
As I write this, for example, there were more than six jobs that were active as of today, all paying $13.25+ per hour in cash. Here’s a screenshot if you don’t believe me:
Registering for the website is completely free, and once you’re registered, simply log in and click on a job of interest to figure out how you can apply for the job. Just make sure that you read the description closely as it will tell you where the job is located, what you need to where as well as how you can apply.
If you’re accepted, then you will receive a job confirmation, asking you to confirm your participation and you will also be asked to sign an independent contractor form to get on the set.
Also on these job postings, you can find out how much you’re going to get paid and how long the job is going to last. At least from my research, you can expect to make anywhere from $10 to $13+ per hour, with some jobs paying more than $100 per day.
The only downfall is that most of the jobs appear to be based in California, so if you don’t live in the area, there’s a slim chance you probably won’t find something of interest. Seeing it’s free to join, at least create an account to keep in the loop for future jobs.
- Website: StandingRoomOnly.tv
Onset Productions, much like StandingRoomOnly, lets you create a free profile, where you can then find a show of interest and get your tickets to attend. It was probably one of the best options in all of my research.
Now, if you’re using this website, it’s important to make sure that you’re looking for the “$” logo as seen in my screenshot below since these shows will pay you to go. Not all of the websites on this website will pay you, so do keep this in mind.
As you can see in the screenshot above, the “Desus & Mero” show will not pay you, but if you were to apply to the “Beat Bobby Flay” show, then you could get an incentive.
And, to find out what you could get paid, all you would have to do is click on the show link and read the instructions, wherein you can see what’s expected of you as well as what you would get paid. For example, when I clicked on the “Beat Bobby Flay” link, here’s what I saw:
Everything is laid out nicely, letting you know exactly what you’re going to get paid, how long you have to attend and where you need to attend. If you were to watch “Beat Bobby Flay,” then you could make up to $70 watching the show.
Onset Productions seems to be one of the best options on this list, so I at least recommend you check out the “calendar” portion to see what tapings are coming up soon and where they are located.
- Website: Onset Productions
TVTaping.com is very similar to that of Onset Productions, only that they focus on New York City jobs only.
By now, you probably already noticed that most of your paid audience gigs are located in New York City and Los Angeles, so this shouldn’t come as a surprise to you since most acting jobs, in general, are located in these cities anyways.
If you do use this website, just make sure that you look at the “Paid Gig” section as it will tell you if the job is paid or not, as seen below:
Find a show of interest, and if you like what it’s paying, click on the “Get Access” button to learn more about the job and what’s expected of you.
Most of the jobs I saw would pay $15~ per hour, with most lasting upwards of eight hours a day.
Now, TVTaping does charge you to access their database, but it’s only a few dollars as a one-time charge. It could be worth it to you as they did have a lot more jobs in comparison to the other websites I mention here.
- Website: TVTaping.com
If you want to find a gig local to you, then the Craigslist “Gigs” section is where you want to look. You can even narrow it down to the “talent” subsection if you so choose.
In this section, simply search for something along the lines of “audience work” or “casting audience” to see what comes up. For instance, when I searched in New York City, here’s what I found…
And, this list continued on and on. You may have to weed through a few, but I promise the jobs are there.
If you see any listings of interest, click on the ad and read the directions to apply. Just remember that Craigslist is bombarded with scammers, so if you do find a job that sounds pretty good, make sure you at least research the company before proceeding to ensure you’re not wasting your time.
And, as a last thing, never pay for an opportunity as these companies will never ask for cash. Just let it be known!
- Website: Craigslist
Mandy.com is more focused on acting gigs for cast, crew and creative professionals, but you may find paid audience work here on occasions. You will just have to search for audience work using the company’s easy to use the job board.
Joining the website is 100% free, and you can even search without the need to create an account. You will just have to create one if you want to view the job postings in detail.
Again, don’t expect much in terms of audience work on this website, but you can find work on occasion. It’s just another option to consider in your job hunt.
- Website: Mandy
If you’re interested in watching shows such as America’s Funniest Home Videos, then you may want to at least add your name to the A+ Audiences database.
From what I read, they don’t have a ton of jobs, at least compared to others listed here, but seeing it’s free to at least join, why not do so?
Once you join the database, then they will notify you of any jobs in your local area via email.
- Website: A+ Audiences
AuditionsFree is more like an aggregator of sorts, not an audience work casting company.
I’m just listing this website here because they do a wonderful job posting a variety of jobs, including audience member casting jobs, throughout the week.
Now, the cool thing about this website is that not only can you view audience casting jobs, but you can search auditions, work as an extra or even get into a film.
The website is 100% free to use and no registration is even required!
- Website: AuditionsFree
Paid Audience Work FAQs
What is expected of me?
Generally, you will know of all the rules before the taping even starts, usually at the door and/or via an email/phone hotline.
Whether it’s live or taped, what is expected of you greatly depends on the show you’re attending. Some may ask you to simply ask naturally, while others may ask you to applaud whenever the “applause” light is lit up. Everyone has their own rules.
As I mentioned in the intro, you do not need any acting skills as 99% of the time, but you will be asked to act as an audience member and simply view the show. In some cases, however, the show may be looking for a particular demographic, but this isn’t always the case.
And, as the last note, always make sure you look at the dress code as most casting does ask that you wear certain colors/items in order to grant you access.
How much can I get paid?
As long as you arrive on time and the casting company accepts you, I read that an audience member can get paid anywhere from $10 to $15+ per hour or about $75~ per taping.
This really depends on the budget of the show as a hit show, such as The Price is Right, doesn’t need to pay due to its demand, whereas a smalltime Food Network show may need to pay more than average since a lot of people don’t want to attend. Remember, money talks!
Depending on the company you’re working with, some may pay you a fixed rate, whereas others may pay you an hourly rate. Again, you will know all of this information in the casting information before you even sign up. In the end, plan on making about $75~ for the day.
Most casting groups pay in cash once the taping ends, but some may pay via PayPal as well.
How does the process work if I’m accepted?
Generally, you’re going to have to sign up for one of the websites mentioned above and apply for the job.
If you’re approved, the company will send you a confirmation email, asking you to call a hotline, wherein you will learn about the details of the show, what you need to wear and when you need to show up. It’s so important that you show up on time to ensure that you get paid and accepted for the day.
And from what I read, do not bring your cellphone as you’re often denied at the door, so leave it at home or safely in your car! If you do bring it, you’re going to waste your time as 99% of the time they will send you back.
For most jobs, be prepared to show a valid ID and abide by a dress code, that’s about it. Just be cordial.
For more information, I highly recommend you check out this great VICE News piece in regards to paid audience work.
Why am I reading bad reviews?
If you already did so or plan on doing so, you’re going to find that some of these casting companies often have bad reviews, but if you look closely, it’s usually due to their own fault.
As long as you apply, look for the confirmation email and pay close attention to the details on the hotline, you will not have any issues. However, if you show up to a casting call wearing polka dot pants when they asked you to wear solid colors, then, of course, you’re going to get the boot.
Follow directions, be cordial, show up on time and you will not have any problems getting paid.
From what I researched in writing this, almost 99% of your audience work is going to be in New York City and Los Angeles. While some jobs are sprinkled elsewhere, you’re not going to find too many.
If you like the idea of sitting in an audience and getting paid for your time, it definitely can happen, but just don’t feel as if it’s a jumping start to your career. Just picture it as a fun way to make $10 to $15 per hour in your free time.
For now, I at least recommend you register for a few websites I mentioned above and see if any of the shows are of interest to you. As long as you follow the directions, show up on time and be a good audience member, then there’s no reason you will walk away with cash in hand at the end of the show!
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