How to Become a Background Actor – Updates
Our How to Become a Background Actor series takes an in-depth look at everything you need to know to become a Background Actor with Central Casting. In this article, we cover file and photo updates. Be sure to read the other articles in this series on Registration, Casting Photos, and Submitting.
Registering and learning how to find jobs may be the first steps to becoming a Background Actor, but there’s more you can do to be successful at Central Casting. You should update your photos and file regularly so Casting Directors can be confident your look is right for the projects they’re casting.
Part of the registration process at Central Casting is to take a headshot and full body photo when you come in to our office. These are the main photos Casting Directors see when they look you up in our casting system and should always reflect what you currently look like. These pictures may also be seen by Assistant Directors and production staff during the casting process.
We recommend updating your photo every six months or any time your look changes, so Casting Directors can be confident you fit the roles they are casting. Even if you think your look hasn’t changed, even little changes may matter to Casting Directors.
While the casting photo you take during registration or Updates is the main photo Casting Directors see in our system, you can also add additional photos to your file. These supplemental photos are used to show Casting Directors that you have a variety of looks.
If you do add additional photos to your file, you should only add unique and distinct looks. For example, if you want to add a photo of your formal look and you have multiple tuxedos or gowns, you only need to take a photo in one outfit. This not only shows Casting Directors that you can pull off the look, but that you own and have access to that wardrobe. Additional photos in the same look will just clutter your file. If Casting Directors need to see another example of your wardrobe, they will likely ask you to send a selfie when you submit.
Remember, there’s a difference between a look and wardrobe. Your look refers to your appearance and your ability to portray a role without the help of wardrobe. Wardrobe is often used to enhance your look based off the vision of the wardrobe department and aesthetic of the production. For example, if you have a biker, hipster, or 18 to look younger (18tly) look, you should be able to convincingly portray those roles without the help of wardrobe. Putting on a leather jacket does not instantly give you a biker look.
For more information on additional photo updates, check out our article 5 Things to Consider When Adding Additional Photos.
Your Central Casting file contains your contact information, sizes, SAG-AFTRA status, car make and model, and other important details Casting Directors use when casting their roles, so it’s extremely important to keep this information up to date.
You should update your file immediately if your phone number, email, or address changes. Central Casting uses this information to contact you for booking opportunities and to ensure we payroll you correctly.
Just like with your casting photo, you need to update your sizes any time your look changes, even if you only go up or down one size. When casting doubles and Stand-Ins, Casting Directors may need to match the sizes of a principal actor exactly. There are also times when production will dress you and they need to ensure you can fit the wardrobe they have on hand.
How to update
To make file and photo updates, you can come in during one of your office’s Updates sessions. The Talent page of our website has everything you need to know about coming in for Updates. Be sure to check your location’s calendar and Updates FAQs, as the process in different in each office.
Central Casting New York
Due to security policies in our new building, you can only visit our New York office at 5 Penn Plaza when you have a reservation. Read through our guide on how to register and update in New York to learn how to reserve your spot for an Updates session. Remember, any time you arrive for a reservation you must bring a photo ID that matches the name you reserved your spot under. This is so security can verify your identity before allowing you up to our office.