5 Stand-In Tips to Help You Be Successful
Are you new to Stand-In work and need to sharpen your skills for set? Interested in working as a Stand-In and want to be prepared when you get booked? From the possibility of consistent work opportunities to interacting more closely with the crew, background want to become Stand-Ins for a variety of reasons. Here are five Stand-In tips to keep in mind the next time you’re booked by Central Casting.
1. Know which type of production you’re working on
Your role as a Stand-In will vary by the type of production you’re booked on. On multi-cam shows (Call Me Kat, The Upshaws, Bob Hearts Abishola), Stand-Ins run through the entire episode in place of the principal actor to establish camera blocking. For single cam productions (Good Trouble, Ramy, The Resident), the Stand-In’s responsibilities revolve more around lighting and camera setups. You may also work as a Utility Stand-In, to stand in for multiple actors on the same project of varying looks and genders.
Be clear on the type of production and your role before heading to set so you know what will be expected of you on your workday.
2. Always be on time
If you’ve worked as a Background Actor, you know how important it is to show up to set on time. As a Stand-In, you need to be ready to hit your mark at your call time. Production schedules often change, which is why we recommend checking for call time changes before you go to bed, when you wake up, and before you leave for set. Successful Stand-Ins know that production should never have to look for them and are ready to work when “second team” is called.
3. Familiarize yourself with Stand-In terms
You probably know common production lingo, but may be less familiar with terms related to Stand-In work. Here are a few to study, but you can learn all the terminology you’ll need in our article 16 Terms Stand-Ins Need to Know.
When facing the camera (or audience) this is the area behind you. If asked to move upstage, move toward the back of the set.
To move downstage, you would move to the front of the set toward the camera.
When facing the camera, this is the area to your left.
When facing the camera, this is the area to your right.
4. Take detailed notes
Taking copious notes is a big part of working as a Stand-In. Depending on the type of production, you will either be given sides or a script, bring something to write with and note where to move, when to move, and prop directions in a scene. Also writing down your wardrobe, hair styling, and other details can be useful to you, other Stand-Ins, and principal actors.
5. Be present and engaged
There’s a lot that needs to be accomplished every day on film and TV sets. Schedules can change and scene orders can shuffle, by paying attention to where you are in the script and being ready when you’re called, you can do your part to help production stay on track. It’s important to stay engaged and pay attention to not only your instructions, but what’s happening around you. Even during down time, you can show you’re a professional by not being a distraction and staying alert for when you’re needed.
With these Stand-In tips, you’ll be prepared the next time you’re on set. You can learn more about working as a Stand-In in our articles Understanding Cinematic Lighting for Stand-Ins and Camera Blocking Basics for Stand-Ins.