When you first move to Los Angeles you will want to make some quick cash so the first thing you should do is sign up to do paid audience work. Television shows that are not established and do not have a following need people to sit in the audience and that is what you will be paid to do.
I joined Standing Room Only, better known as SRO. SRO is an audience and casting company that provides television shows with audience members. I went to their website and created a profile that included a photo and then I looked at their list of audience opportunities. I chose a show that had a call time and location that I could get to easily and I applied to be an audience member. The next day I received an email that informed me that I had been booked for that show. I then called a hotline to get the details of that show, the exact address and wardrobe requirements. I showed up on time, spent 6 hours ($10 per hour) at the show in the audience cheering and I made $60 for the time I spent there, paid in CASH after the show.
Men and women of all ages can become audience members all you need is:
- Valid identification (It does not have to be a California ID)
- Closed toed shoes (women) Any shoe that is not a sneaker (men)
- Wardrobe that includes bright colored plain tops or business professional clothing without logos, words or weird patterns
- The ability to follow directions
- Access to a computer so that you can apply for work daily
- An email address to receive notifications that you have been booked
When I tell people about this opportunity they inform me that they applied and were never chosen. Those people are lazy. Once you apply you do not sit back and wait for them to call you, you must visit the website daily to look for opportunities and apply for them. If you don’t apply, no one will contact you. For rush calls (last minute calls to fill seats in audiences) they say they send out emails to registered members but I have yet to receive one so it is best to check on your own for opportunities near you.
The biggest issue I had with participating as an audience member was the fact that you are not allowed to bring your cell phone with you during an audience job. Since I do not have a car I sometimes use the Lyft app to get to the locations if I think I might be late or I am confused about the location (USE CODE MTLA when you download the Lyft app and get your first Lyft ride FREE). The second time I went for a paid audience gig I was turned away by the coordinators for having my phone. The next time I went one of the SRO coordinators kindly suggested that I ask another person there if I could store my phone in their car until after the show. This idea worked and I met a really cool woman to chat with in the process.
Being a paid audience member is a lot of fun. Most shows understand that if the audience is happy, the show will be better so they treat the audience with kindness and respect. They will have a live DJ to keep us pumped and they will offer snacks like granola bars sometimes too. Most shows do not offer refreshments and last between 4-6 hours so refresh yourself before you show up.
Even if you are not chosen to participate in a show it doesn’t mean that you can’t work that day. There is an option to work on spec, which means you show up fully dressed as though you are going to participate in the show and you wait in a spec line to see if they need you. If they do not have enough people for the audience they may ask you to go in. If they do not need you, you go home. You can get a feel for the locations that have shows at a regular time and choose one that is easy to get to and show up every day to see if they will let you in.
This is just like day labor jobs except it’s for actors. As long as you can smile and clap on cue you are qualified. One audience member described a different perk to being paid CASH for a day’s work of being in a studio audience. She said that it’s, “a great way to earn weed money.”
Here is a video of a young woman who used SRO’s paid audience member jobs to earn cash to get a deposit on her first apartment after sleeping in her car and in motels when she first moved to Los Angeles.