Why Background Acting is One of the Best Summer Jobs

JUNE 13, 2022
Background Actors working summer jobs during a beach film shoot.
Film shoot in Malibu, CA

Summer break is almost here! For some students, that means sunshine and pool parties, but for others it means looking for summer jobs. Fortunately, working as a Background Actor gives you the opportunity to do both.

What is a Background Actor?

A Background Actor is someone who performs in a show in a nonspeaking role, usually in the background. Background Actors are essential to making movies and TV shows feel authentic.

Central Casting casts Background Actors to appear in movies (like Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Senior Year, and The Gray Man), TV shows (like Law & Order: Organized Crime, Tom Swift, and Good Trouble), and many other types of productions.

We also book a variety of other roles, including Stand-Ins and doubles. A Stand-In is a person who takes the place of a principal actor for rehearsals, camera blocking, or lighting setups. A double is used in place of a principal actor to perform specialized tasks (like playing an instrument), when the actor plays two or more characters in the same scene, when the actor is in the background but not the focus, and for a number of other reasons.

Benefits of working as a Background Actor

If a flexible schedule and working on set are what you’re looking for in a summer job, then background work is a great fit for you. As a Background Actor, you can choose your own availability, so if you have a fun trip planned or you just want to head to the beach for the day, you can choose not to pursue jobs for those dates. That said, once you accept a job offer and are given details, you are expected to show up to set on time and ready to work.

Background work gives you a front row seat to how movies and TV shows are made and an opportunity to work with some of the biggest names in Hollywood. Whether you’re pursuing a full-time career in the entertainment industry or just want a peek behind the scenes, you can learn a lot by being a Background Actor.

How to onboard with Central Casting

To become a Background Actor with Central Casting you’ll need to gather your required I-9 documentation (we cannot register you without these original unexpired documents) then make a reservation for a Talent Onboarding session at one of our offices in Los Angeles, New York, Georgia, or Louisiana. During Talent Onboarding, you will fill out forms, then take a photo for our casting platform. To learn more and make a reservation, visit your location’s Sign Up page.

Interested in signing your child up for background acting roles? Central Casting also books babies 15 days old to teenagers 17 years old and there are plenty of opportunities this summer for your minor to get on set. Our article Ensure Your Minor is Eligible to Be Booked by Central Casting has all the information you need about documentation and reserving a Talent Onboarding session.

How to find work

There are two main ways to find work through Central Casting: replying to messages from Casting Directors and submitting for work on our Jobs page. We use the information in your online profile when booking our projects; the more accurate and thorough you are when filling out your profile, the easier it is for Casting Directors to determine the types of roles you can portray. If you to fit the requirements for a role, you may receive an availability inquiry asking if you are available and interested in working on a certain date. Remember, these messages are only asking if you are available and are not guarantees of work.

You can also proactively submit for jobs by finding roles you fit on the Jobs page. These posts include specific information about the role, like portrayable age, portrayable ethnicity, SAG-AFTRA status, sizes, and other specifications. If you fit the description, submit according to the instructions given, then a Casting Director may reach out with an availability inquiry.

Ready to work on your favorite movies and TV shows this summer? Learn how to be a pro on set in our guides 4 Tips for a Successful Day on Set and 3 Things to Know About Getting Cast.

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By Meghan Dubitsky

Article Category:

Industry Essentials


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