There’s a lot to know about being a TV and movie Stand-In. Stand-Ins are responsible for taking the place of principal actors for rehearsals, camera blocking, and lighting set-ups (not to be confused with doubles, who are responsible for taking an actor’s place on camera).
Stand-In roles are often coveted for the chance to work more closely with 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 Stand-In.
Call times for Stand-Ins refers to the time you’re expected to be on set and working. When you leave for set, be sure to factor in traffic, parking, and check-in to make sure you arrive on time. Remember, call times often change, so be sure to check the Call Time Change Box before you go to bed, when you wake up, and before you leave for set.
Sets have their own unique language and there are many terms you should be familiar with if you’re hired as a TV and movie Stand-In. Our list of production terms can get you started with basic set lingo.
Here are some additional commonly used words you should know:
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.
As a TV or movie Stand-In you may be tasked with 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.
If you want to be a Stand-In, one of the best ways to help you find work is to have a Stand-In resume. Your resume 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. Always have a copy handy so you’re ready to submit when a Casting Director asks for one.
When looking for Stand-In jobs, you may find many require previous Stand-In experience. If you’ve never worked as a Stand-In before, one of the first steps to getting experience is to take our Central Casting University Stand-In class. This is your chance to learn from Assistant Directors who are on set every day. Check your location’s calendar for upcoming class dates.