What Background Actors Need to Bring to Set

MAY 23, 2022
Woman holding up a blazer in a clear garment bag.
A Background Actor bringing wardrobe to set in a garment bag

If you recently onboarded with Central Casting or are new to background acting, you’re probably still figuring out the basics of getting ready for work. In addition to hair, makeup, and wardrobe, there are other materials you’ll need to bring with you to set.

Identification and other documentation

Bring a photo I.D. every time you go to set and if you’re a member of SAG-AFTRA, you also need to bring your membership card with you. If you recently joined SAG-AFTRA, don’t forget to update Central Casting by filling out our SAG-AFTRA Updates form.

Always confirm and read your booking details carefully before getting ready for work. Some bookings may require you to submit additional documentation before going to set or when you check-in. For example, when working on productions using Central Casting’s SmartVoucher, you will need to log in to your online profile to complete forms during the check-in process.

Arrive camera ready

Most of the time, you’ll be asked to come to set camera ready with your wardrobe on, hair done, and makeup applied. Other times, you’ll be asked to bring your wardrobe with you instead of wearing it to set. In these cases, be sure your clothing makes it to work clean, unwrinkled (unless your details instruct otherwise based on your role) and hung in a garment bag.

For some roles, like period pieces and featured background, production may provide wardrobe. Always wear clean and sufficient undergarments and any other clothing instructed in your details. For instance, if you are playing a nurse, wardrobe may provide the scrubs, but ask you to wear a specific color and style of shirt, socks, and shoes.

If your role requires makeup, bring whatever materials you need for touch ups and to maintain your look throughout the workday. Some roles will require you to emulate a very specific makeup style, if you’re not sure how far to take your look, apply a solid base and bring your makeup with you to finish your look with notes from the makeup department.

Like with makeup, you should bring any styling supplies you need to keep your hair camera ready. For some looks, especially period styles, you will likely be asked to come to set with your hair in rollers, then style it yourself or with the help of the hair department while on set. Make sure you have everything you need to finish your look before heading to work.


When you’re not needed on set, you’ll be taken to Holding. You can bring snacks and entertainment with you to Holding, just make sure to bring your own battery packs or portable chargers. Please be respectful of those around you, including using headphones to not disturb production.

Don’t forget to take everything with you when you’re wrapped for the day. Central Casting is not responsible for anything you bring to set that may be lost or stolen.


If your minor is booked as a Background Actor, they must be accompanied to work by a parent or guardian who is not also 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.

If your minor is booked in Los Angeles, you will need to bring a copy of their work permit for production to sign and enough homework to keep them busy during school on set. For minors working in New York, you will need to bring a tangible copy of your child’s performer permit and trust account for production to keep. Central Casting obtains work permits for minors in Georgia and Louisiana; there is no additional documentation you need to bring unless otherwise stated in their details.

Now that you know what to bring to set, learn how to show you’re a professional Background Actor in our guides 5 Key Background Acting Tips and 21 Production Terms Every Background Actor Should Know.

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By Meghan Dubitsky

Article Category:

Industry Essentials