5 Things All Stand-Ins Should Know
Stand-In roles are often coveted for the chance to work more closely with principal actors and crew members and for the possibility of working consistently on a project. Here are five things you should know if you want to be a successful Central Casting Stand-In.
1. Always know when and where you’re supposed to be
Productions have tight schedules and need to get a lot done in a day; you can help by being on time. Be sure to check for any changes before arriving to set. Don’t forget to factor in public transportation delays, parking, and traffic that could make you late.
Being present and available on set is also an important part of working as a Stand-In. Crew members should not have to search for you when you’re needed.
2. Understand production terms
Sets have their own unique language and there are many terms you should be familiar with if you’re hired as a TV or movie Stand-In.
Here are some common Stand-In terms to get you started:
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 is in the direction of the camera or audience. To move downstage, you would move to the front of the set.
When you're facing the camera, this is the area to your left.
When you're facing the camera, this is the area to your 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 left, you will move to your 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.
3. Learn to take detailed notes
Part of your Stand-In responsibilities may involve relaying blocking information to principal actors or other Stand-Ins. Depending on the type of production you’re working on, you likely will receive sides (miniaturized script pages being filmed that day) or in the case of multi-cam projects, an episode script. Be sure to bring something to write with and take notes on where to move, when to move, and prop directions in a scene.
4. Keep your resume up to date
A Stand-In resume is a great tool to help you get booked as a Stand-In with Central Casting. Stand-In resumes should list the project you worked on, how long you worked, whether it was single or multi-cam, and the actor you stood in for. You can upload a copy of your Stand-In resume to the Casting Information section of your online profile.
We also recommend keeping a copy easily accessible so you’re ready when a Casting Director asks for one, which is common when sending availability inquiries for Stand-In work.
5. Polish your Stand-In skills
Interested in working as a Stand-In, but haven’t been booked yet? While Stand-Ins are often cast for their experience and professionalism, there are opportunities to get booked with no Stand-In experience, like when a Background Actor is upgraded on set or when you match the sizes and look needed for a role. You can learn the basics of Stand-In work by checking out the guides in our Stand-In article category, including Camera Blocking Basics for Stand-Ins and Understanding Cinematic Lighting for Stand-Ins.
Paying attention on set and talking to your fellow Background Actors in Holding are also great ways to learn more about a Stand-In’s responsibilities so you’re prepared when you book that first Stand-In job.