Working as an Actor in Malta: A Brief Guide

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Malta is a small island in the Mediterranean with a population of about half a million people. Despite its size, it has a thriving film industry, based a lot on the climate: the weather is consistently warm in Malta which allows for virtually year-round shooting.

The country also boasts one of the largest water filming tanks in Europe, as well as various locations which can be dressed to represent many different countries and eras.

Malta is thus very popular with international productions and has been used to shoot productions such as Gladiator, Gladiator 2, Game of Thrones, Napoleon, and World War Z to mention just a few. (For a more extensive list, take a look here.)

Acting in international productions

Many international TV and film productions shoot in Malta. In general they will bring over the main actors, many of the supporting actors, and often most of the crew. (NB a lot of the crews come over from Italy.)

Local actors tend to be hired for minor supporting roles, which can be a little frustrating when they would be perfectly suitable for bigger roles, and as background artists.

These international productions are often in English, but there are often productions from various European countries and further afield as well. This means local actors can find work in speaking roles if they speak perfect English with a native British or (more often) American accent. There can also be roles if you speak good English with a “foreign” accent. Similarly, productions will sometimes need actors who speak other languages. A recent production of Das Boot for example hired both American-English and German speakers.

Pay for roles in these productions is not much, partly because the roles tend to be quite small. A day player might receive between €250 – €500 per day; an extra from €80 – €120. Very occasionally you might be able to pick up a larger role which will pay better.

Acting in local productions

There a perhaps four or five films per year made locally, mostly in Maltese, so you will need to speak Maltese for a role in films like these. Extras, on the other hand, do not usually need to speak Maltese as English is also an official language on the islands.

In addition, there is a an enthusiastic community of local filmmakers and several local film competitions throughout the year although these are for short films and mostly unpaid. Notwithstanding the non-paid status, it’s worth getting in touch with local filmmakers in order to network and get some work and footage to begin with.

Television, Adverts and Voiceovers

Then there is the local television on Malta. Again, it’s almost exclusively in Malta and the acting is very poorly paid and, often, the productions are not brilliant.

Finally, there are quite a number of adverts shot in Malta for the local TV market. These tend to pay as little as €100 – €200 for a day’s work. There are no residuals paid.

There is an opportunity for voiceover work, but again this pays little, perhaps €50 for a couple of hours work.

Local theatre

Theatre thrives in Malta and there are numerous local productions throughout the year. Although most are in Maltese, there are quite a number of productions in English as well ranging from farces to Shakespeare. These can be non-paid but often are paid, although not greatly.

Finding work

In order to find work on the international productions in a speaking role, you will need good headshots, a CV, and a decent showreel to submit. There are no agents, as such, in Malta, but a handful of CDs who cast these productions. They are the only real way to get into these films. 

For background work, there are several well known agencies who can help and a consistent extra can work perhaps 10 or more days each month as productions shoot in Malta throughout the year.

If you’ve just arrived to live on Malta, it’s worth preparing your material and then contacting either the CDs or the Extras Agencies and letting them know who you are and when you are available. Note that it’s probably not best to work as an extra if you want work as an actor, or vice versa. It’s very easy to get pigeonholed into one category or another and can be difficult to move across.

These are available to Pro Actors in Malta only as they contain names and email addresses of local agents, etc.

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