How to Get on TV

AUGUST 8, 2022
A principal actor and Background Actors on set of Law and Order: SVU.
Law & Order: SVU (NBC)

Do you have dreams of being the next TV star? Or just want a chance to see how your favorite shows get made? If you want to get on TV, Central Casting is a great place to start. Here’s what you need to know, from attending Talent Onboarding to filling out your online profile.

What is Central Casting?

Central Casting is the leading background casting company in the entertainment industry. Since 1925, we’ve been casting Background Actors, Stand-Ins, doubles, and other roles in blockbuster hits, Oscar-winning films, your favorite TV shows, Emmy-winning series, and everything in between. With offices in Los Angeles, New York, Georgia, and Louisiana, there are plenty of opportunities for you to get booked and on set.

New to the industry and unfamiliar with background work? Here’s an overview on common roles we cast.

  • Background Actors are non-speaking roles that typically appear in the background of scenes. Without Background Actors, football stadiums in All American, New York streets in Law & Order, and classrooms in The Wonder Years would all look like Hollywood sets instead of authentic scenes.
  • Stand-Ins take the place of principal actors for blocking, lighting, and camera set-ups. Depending on the type of production and role, a Stand-In may need to match the actor’s height, build, hair color, and complexion.
  • Doubles replace a principal actor on screen, though their faces are rarely (if ever) seen. Doubles are used when a character is in a scene but not the focus, when an actor can’t convincingly portray a skill, and a variety of other reasons.

Make a reservation for Talent Onboarding

Ready to become a Central Casting Background Actor? The first step is to make a reservation for a Talent Onboarding session at your local office. After successfully making a reservation, you will receive a confirmation email with detailed instructions on the onboarding process and what to bring with you, including your original and unexpired Form I-9 documentation (we cannot register you without these documents).

Your confirmation email will also include a link to complete your online application. Your online application must be filled out before attending your Talent Onboarding session, including all mandatory fields that are marked with a red asterisk. Anyone arriving without these mandatory fields, including the measurements section, filled out will be turned away and unable to onboard.

During Talent Onboarding, we will review your required documentation, you’ll fill out paperwork, and we’ll take a headshot and full body shot for our casting platform.

Want to register your minor? Central Casting onboards minors from 15 days old to 17 years old to work on our productions. Our article How to Get Your Child on TV and Movies has everything you need to know about attending Talent Onboarding with your minor and finding them background work.

Update your online profile

After completing Talent Onboarding, you will gain access to your Central Casting online profile. By filling out your profile completely and accurately, you can help Casting Directors determine the types of roles you can portray. Please be honest about the information you add, including your sizes, appearance, skills, and other details. When you’re booked, you will be expected to show up to set with the same look described in your online profile. If you need help figuring out your correct sizes, watch our easy-to-follow guides on the Measurements page.

The headshot and fully body shot you take at Talent Onboarding are the main photos in your profile, but we recommend adding additional photos of you in unique and distinct looks, cars you own, and pets you are willing to work with. It’s also important to add a photo that represents your current looks every six months or anytime your look changes so Casting Directors always know what you look like right now.

Now that you know how to get on TV, learn how to find work through Central Casting and how to prepare for set.

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By Meghan Dubitsky

Article Category:

Industry Essentials