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How to Prepare for Pilot Season

MEGHAN DUBITSKY
BY MEGHAN DUBITSKY  |  MARCH 11, 2019
Prepare for pilot season by registering with Central Casting

Are you ready for pilot season? It’s that time of year when the networks are ordering pilots to prepare for the new TV season. That means there are opportunities for Background Actors, Stand-Ins, and doubles to get booked on these potential new shows. If you want to increase your chances of getting cast, here are some ways you can prepare for pilot season.

What is a pilot?

For most people, a pilot is someone who flies an airplane, but to those in the entertainment industry, a pilot is a stand-alone episode used to sell a new TV show to networks. Pilot season is one of the busiest and most exciting times in the industry, where there are often dozens of pilots in production while many established series are still filming. That means there are plenty of opportunities to get on set!

The top networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, and The CW) have ordered over sixty pilots so far, but more could be announced as the season progresses. Due to increased orders by streaming channels and year-long programming trends, pilots are shot throughout the year, but the bulk of production tends to happen from January to April. For Background Actors and Stand-Ins, pilot season not only offers an influx of a variety of job openings, but the chance to work with different ADs and crew members. You never know where new connections and opportunities will lead you.

Register with Central Casting

To get on set, you’ll need to register with Central Casting. We cast hundreds of Background Actors, Stand-Ins, doubles, and other roles every day. If you have never registered before, it’s free and easy to get started. Check out your nearest office’s Register page for more information on how to become a background actor in your location.

Re-register to ensure you’re eligible to work

Has it been a while since you registered? If so, the best way you can prepare for pilot season is to re-register. Everyone who has registered with Central Casting must re-register every three years to be eligible to work on the projects we cast. Remember, Re-Registration is only for registered talent, if you have not registered before, you must first complete the online registration process.

You can learn more about Re-Registration in our article, When Should I Re-Register and Update? If you’re ready to come in, check your location’s calendar for upcoming sessions. Reservations may be required depending on your location.

Update your file and photo

At registration, we take a headshot and a full body shot of you for our casting system. Since Casting Directors use these photos to determine if you’re right for their roles, it’s important to make sure your profile headshot is always reflective of how you look right now. Even changes that are seemingly small to you may matter to Casting Directors. That’s why we recommend updating your photo every six months or anytime your look changes.

It’s also important to keep your file up to date. Your file contains important information we use when casting, like your sizes, SAG-AFTRA status, and contact information. You wouldn’t want to miss out on a text message from a Casting Director because you didn’t update your phone number. You can make file and photo updates during a Re-Registration and Updates session.

Keep an eye on our Jobs page

Now that you’ve registered or updated, you’re ready to submit for jobs. You can find all the latest roles we’re casting on the Jobs page of our website. When you’re looking for jobs, it’s important that you read each post carefully because they contain specific information on what the Casting Directors are looking for. If you don’t read the entire post, you may miss important details and end up submitting for something you don’t fit, which doesn’t help you or the Casting Director.

After Hours Availability List

If you’ve tried all methods to get work, but are still not booked for the next day, you can submit your name to the After Hours Availability List to be considered for rush calls and for when additional roles open up overnight. You should only add your name to the After Hours Availability List if you are available the entire following day and night. To access the availability form, click the “after hours avail list” button on the Jobs page during these designated times:
  • Los Angeles: 7pm-9pm
  • New York: 7pm-1am
  • Georgia: 7pm-1am
  • Louisiana: 7pm-1am

Update or make a Stand-In resume

If you want to work as a Stand-In, pilot season is a great time to try to land those roles. When looking for Stand-Ins, Casting Directors will often ask for a resume. Your Stand-In resume should be one page and formatted like a standard resume, with the name of the show you worked on, how long you worked on that show, the name of the actor(s) you stood in for, and if the project was single or multi-cam. Be sure to keep your resume handy so you’re ready to submit when a Casting Director asks for one.

Being successful is more than just knowing how to prepare for pilot season. Check out these five background acting tips and how to make the most of your time on set.

Categories: Industry Essentials

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