4 Tips for a Successful Day on Set

APRIL 18, 2022
Principal and Background Actors in formal looks on set.
The Rookie (ABC)

Were you just booked for your first background acting job? Or maybe you’re returning to background work after some time away? Either way, these tips will help you prepare for your workday and have a successful day on set.

1. Read and confirm your details

Your booking details can come in the form of a Details Blog, as a message from our online self-service platform, or as another type of communication. It’s important to confirm you received your details as soon as possible so your Casting Director knows you have your work information. We know you can’t always read your details immediately; we just ask that you promptly confirm you have them.

Keep in mind, Casting Directors receive booking information as it comes in from multiple departments within production, so it’s likely you will not receive your details until later in the evening before your workday.

Reading your details fully and carefully is key to having a successful day on set. You will often be asked to arrive camera ready with your hair styled, makeup on, and dressed in your best look.

2. Be on time

One of the best ways to show you’re a professional Background Actor is to arrive to set on time and ready to work. It may seem simple, but productions have a lot to get through in a day and showing up on time helps them keep on schedule.

That said, call times can and often do change, which is why we recommend checking for call time updates before you go to bed, when you wake up, and before you leave for set. Your details will include information on how to get your call time changes.

Don’t forget to bring a photo ID, any hair or makeup products to maintain your look, and any other items mentioned in your details. If you’re a member of SAG-AFTRA, be sure to bring your membership card with you.

3. Understand background acting basics

While on set, you will mostly be directed by the Second Assistant Director, but may also interact with a Second Second AD or a production assistant. Your responsibilities can vary by scene, but will often involve pantomiming with other Background Actors, moving around the set, or crossing the camera.

Follow directions and pay attention to where and when you move in a scene so you can match your movements across multiple takes. If you haven’t worked in the entertainment industry before, you may be unfamiliar with common production terms like “back to one” and “cross.” Our guide to production terms will help you learn a lot of the lingo used on set.

4. Act professionally

Working as a Background Actor with Central Casting is fun! After all, you get to be a part of making some of the most popular movies and TV shows. Just remember, you’ve been hired to do a job and are expected to act professionally at all times.

We know working alongside principal actors is exciting, but remember they are there to do a job just like you. Please do not approach principal actors, take photos, or ask for autographs. Everyone on set contributes to the success of the movie or TV show, you can do your part by remaining professional, being present, and following directions.

For more ways to have a successful day on set, read our articles 5 Key Background Acting Tips and How to Make the Most of Your Time on Set.

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By Meghan Dubitsky

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