There’s a lot to know about being a Background Actor with Central Casting. If you have recently registered, you’re probably focused on getting your first background job. Once you do get booked, do you know what you’re supposed to do next?
When you get a job, how do you know where to go, what to wear, and when to show up? At Central Casting, we refer to all your booking information as your “details.” Your Casting Director will tell you how to get your details, which will likely be in the form of a Details Blog. In some cases, like when filling rush calls, Casting Directors may relay your details over the phone when they book you. Any time you call Central Casting, you should have a pen and paper on hand so you can write this information down.
If you receive details in the form of a Details Blog, be sure to write down the show name (which may be different than the actual name of the project you’re working on) and the 4-digit passcode given to you by the Casting Director. You can use these to access your Details Blog via the “My Details” button in our website menu. Please read all of this information carefully to ensure you know what’s expected of you when you show up to set. Our article 4 Things You Must Know About Your Details breaks down each section of the Details Blog and explains why they are important.
Remember, Casting Directors get information as it comes in from production, so they may not have details until the evening before you work.
Another key part of your details is the Call Time Change Box. This number will be updated with the call time changes for your booking. Production schedules are always evolving and call times often change, so we recommend calling the Call Time Change Box before you go to bed, when you wake up in the morning, and before you leave for set. In some of our offices the Call Time Change Box number you are given will have a 4-digit extension. This is not the same code you will use to access your Details Blog.
When you get booked, Casting Directors may give you your Call Time Change Box information then have you call that number to get your Details Blog show name and passcode. You can find your office’s Call Time Change Box number in the “how to get work” section of your location’s Talent page.
A big part of being a successful Background Actor is putting together great wardrobe looks for set. If your Details Blog includes multiple categories, be sure you’re reading wardrobe instructions for your category. If you’re not sure what your category is or if you have questions about your wardrobe details, you can call your Central Casting office for clarification.
You will likely be asked to show up camera ready, which means arrive on set with your wardrobe on and your hair and makeup done appropriately for the role you are playing. Other times you will be tasked with bringing your wardrobe with you. Whatever the case, please make sure your clothing makes it to set clean and unwrinkled (unless your category calls for something different). On occasion, the costume department will provide wardrobe or supplement your options, please be sure you arrive with clean and sufficient undergarments.
Need some wardrobe inspiration? If you get booked on a TV show that’s aired episodes, you can look at what the principal actors and background are wearing to get a sense of the show’s wardrobe aesthetic. You can also check out our wardrobe articles which can help you learn more about style from different time periods and how to choose the right look for your role.
Productions are on very tight schedules and have a lot they need to accomplish in a day, so it’s extremely important that you show up to set on time and ready to work. If you’ve never been to a studio or location before, it’s a good idea to look up how to get there beforehand. Many studios provide online maps and resources that will help you find your gate, parking structure, and check-in location. Before you leave, be sure to check the Call Time Change Box and factor in traffic, parking, public transportation schedules, or other delays that could make you late.
If you’ve received a text message from Central Casting or read through our Jobs page, you’ve seen the phrase “without time restrictions.” When you accept a booking, you are expected to be available all day. Movie and TV shoots can often last up to or go beyond 12 hours and you will be needed for the duration of filming.
Categories: Industry Essentials