New Background Acting Skills You Can Learn Now

JUNE 12, 2023
A woman and man practicing background acting skills.

Background acting is about more than just performing, successful Background Actors know how to put outfits together for their role, style their hair to match their details, apply makeup to create the desired look, and many other skills that make them pros on set. If you're looking for opportunities to show you're a professional Background Actor, these background acting skills are a good place to start.

Practice common hairstyles and makeup

Central Casting books a wide variety of roles set in different time periods and as a Background Actor, you're often tasked with doing your own hair and makeup. One day you may be a modern high school teacher in Never Have I Ever and the next a 1950s scientist in Lessons in Chemistry. Knowing basic hairstyling techniques will go a long way to helping you put any look together. Depending on your current hair length and cut, there are likely a variety of classic and modern styles you can create at home. Our decade hair articles are great for inspiration and to get you going on crafting your look. YouTube is also a great resource for tutorials on specific styles for all hair lengths and types.

For women booked on period shows, you'll usually be asked to come to set with your hair in rollers to be styled by production or with instruction from production. Knowing how to use rollers and how long the process takes will set you up for success on set.

Like with hair, there are many different makeup looks you will need to put together. When you're booked, your details will include specifics on what production is looking for, but being familiar with common looks from every decade will help you save time when you're getting ready for a booking.

Know how to accurately measure yourself

Whether you heard it straight from a Casting Director in Virtual Visiting, learned about it in Central Casting University, or read about it in our articles, you should know how important it is to always have your accurate measurements in your online profile. If you haven't updated your profile in a while or if you don't know how to get your accurate sizes, now it a great time to learn through our easy to follow Measurements tutorials. Don't forget to check your sizes periodically and update your profile as they change.

Learn basic clothes mending

Having a variety of wardrobe options is key to being a professional Background Actor. So is showing up to set (unless otherwise indicated in your details) in clean and unwrinkled clothes. Learning the basics of how to mend clothing will help you keep your favorite go-to options and will ensure you show up to your call camera ready. Here are a few resources to help you get started:

Knowing how to mend clothing can help you add wardrobe to your arsenal that you may have previously overlooked. Did you find a perfect thrift store blazer with a missing button? Have old jeans you can add patches to for a Daisy Jones & The Six '70s look? With your new mending skills, you can turn these into inexpensive new looks to add to your closet.

Familiarize yourself with common skills

Background Actors are cast based on their look and ability to portray a role. Sometimes your ability to portray a role includes convincingly performing a special skill on camera. This is a great opportunity to familiarize yourself with commonly booked talents. Scroll through our Jobs page or check out our credits to see the kinds of roles we commonly cast. See a lot of yoga scenes, dancing calls, or skating submissions? Being familiar with these skills may help you get on set as a Background Actor or double. Just keep in mind, if you're booked based off a special skill, you will be expected to convincingly portray it on set. Always be honest about your skill level when submitting for work or responding to casting messages.

You can learn more background acting tips in our articles 5 Key Background Acting Tips and How to Make the Most of Your Time on Set.

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By Meghan Dubitsky

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