How to Prepare for Your First Day on Set

SEPTEMBER 27, 2021
Being a Background Actor for the first time means choosing your own wardrobe

Were you recently booked as a Background Actor for the first time by Central Casting? Congratulations! Being booked for the first time is exciting, but now you may be wondering how to prepare for working on set.

Be clear on your details

All the information you need for set will be included in your details, which can come in the form of a Details Blog, message from our online self-service platform, or other type of communication. Casting Directors will send this information to you as it comes in from production, usually not until the evening before the shoot. Be sure to read all of your details fully and carefully so you show up to set on time and as expected.

You may also receive communication directly from production around COVID-19 testing or other COVID-19 related protocols that require timely response and submission of information. Please respond promptly to avoid unexpected delays on your workday.

Know when and where you’re going

Call times can, and often do, change. Any call time changes will be sent to you as an email and/or text message and will show up in the inbox of your online profile. One of the best things you can do to show you’re professional is to arrive to set on time. That’s why we recommend checking for call time change messages before you go to sleep, when you wake up in the morning, and before you leave for set. Don’t forget to factor in time for traffic, public transit schedules, and other delays that could make you late.

Productions film at a variety of studio lots and locations, so make sure you’re clear on where you’re working. Many studios provide maps online that can help you find the gate, parking structure, and check-in location you’re supposed to report to. Reviewing this information before you leave can help ensure you’re not delayed getting to set.

Create your look

A big part of working as a Background Actor is putting together camera ready looks for set. If you’re booked for the first time, this can seem a little daunting, but it’s also a really fun part of being a Background Actor. Your details will include wardrobe, hair, and makeup information from production. Sometimes these notes will be general or will be very detailed for you to emulate a specific look.

If you need some inspiration, our wardrobe and hair & makeup article categories are full of guides to help you get started on the perfect looks for set.

Come prepared

Movie and TV sets can seem like a whole other world and knowing what to expect can help your first day go smoothly. While filming, Background Actors are given direction by Assistant Directors. The AD will instruct you where and when to move throughout a scene; pay attention to all instructions given so you can recreate your movements across multiple takes. While there’s a lot of industry lingo, getting to know common production terms like cross, back to one, and second team will help you feel like a pro on set.

When you’re not filming, you’ll be taken to Holding. You can bring snacks and entertainment with you to Holding, just make sure you’re respectful of those around you. Remember, Central Casting is not responsible for anything you bring to set that may be lost or stolen.

Minors

If your minor is booked on a production, they must be accompanied by a parent or guardian who is not working on the production. The guardian will accompany the minor everywhere they go, from wardrobe, to school, to Holding. Even during filming, the guardian will be on set, somewhere behind the scenes, but always within eyesight of the child. You can learn more about accompanying a minor to set and how to help them be successful in our article What to Do When Your Minor Books a Job.

Now that you know how to prepare for your first day on set, learn more about becoming a professional Background Actor in our guides 5 Key Background Acting Tips and Do’s and Don’ts for Optimizing Your Online Profile.

How are you going to prepare for your first day on set?

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By Meghan Dubitsky

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