How to Prepare for Your First Stand-In Job

MAY 13, 2024
A stand-In sitting on a stool on set.

Did you just book your first Stand-In job? Stand-Ins have different responsibilities than Background Actors, including working behind the scenes instead of in front of the camera. Here’s what you should know about working as a Stand-In so you can prep for your first day on set.

Be clear on your role

A Stand-In’s responsibilities can vary depending on the type of production. Stand-Ins on single camera productions (films like The Idea of You, TV dramas like Law & Order, and some half hour comedies like Hacks) are primarily used for lighting and camera setups. For multi-cam shows (like Night Court and The Neighborhood), Stand-Ins run through the entire episode in place of the principal actor to establish camera blocking before filming. Then there are Utility Stand-Ins who may stand in for multiple actors on the same day.

Knowing the type of production you’re booked on and your Stand-In role is a key factor when preparing for your first Stand-In job. The name of the production and role will be included in your availability inquiry and details messages, this will help give you an idea of what your responsibilities may be on set.

Carefully read your details

All the information you need for your workday will be included in your booking details, which you will receive as a details message from our casting platform. In some cases, your details message will include a Details Blog link or other resource with information related to your booking. It’s important to read all this information fully and carefully so you show up on time as expected.

Your details will also include any wardrobe information you need for the shoot. When production provides wardrobe, please wear clean and sufficient undergarments and any additional items outlined in your details. If production is not providing wardrobe, you may be asked to wear color cover, which means clothing similar in color and pattern to what the principal actor is wearing.

One of the best things you can do to show you’re a professional is to arrive to set on time. Due to production schedules, call times can, and often do, change. Call time changes can be sent as a message from our casting platform or your details may include instructions for how to obtain your call time changes.

Know the basics

On set, Stand-Ins are referred to as the Second Team, while principal cast are called the First Team. Always be present and paying attention to calls for Second Team so you’re ready to hit your mark when production needs you. Depending on your role, part of your Stand-In responsibilities may involve relaying blocking information to principal actors or other Stand-Ins. You will likely receive sides (miniature script pages) or a full episode script (usually for multi-cam projects). You should bring something to write with and take notes on where/when to move in a scene and any prop directions.

A great way to ensure your first Stand-In job goes smoothly is to understand some common terms you may hear while working on set:

Upstage

If you’re facing the camera (or audience) this is the area behind you. If a Director asks you to move upstage, they want you to move towards the back of the set.

Downstage

Downstage is in the direction of the camera or audience. To move downstage, you would move to the front of the set.

Stage Left

When you’re facing the camera, this is the area to your left.

Stage Right

When you’re facing the camera, this is the area to your right.

Camera Left

This refers to the point of view of the camera. If you’re facing the camera and the Director instructs you to move camera left, you will move to your right.

Camera Right

This refers to the point of view of the camera. If you’re facing the camera and the Director instructs you to move camera right, you will move to your left.

Want to learn more about what to expect when working as a Stand-In? Read through our guides Understanding Cinematic Lighting for Stand-Ins and Camera Blocking Basics for Stand-Ins.

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By Meghan Dubitsky

Article Category:

Stand-Ins


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