What is a Stand-In Actor? 10 Beginner Tips to Get Hired

Did you know a stand-in actor is very important participants on film sets. They act as a visual reference for other actors, often when the camera cannot see them, or to mark spots for other actors to find them more easily in the scene. Stand-in actor jobs are great for actors!

Stand-ins are also known as stunt doubles, stand-in performers or body doubles. Their function is to take the place of another actor so that their own face, hair and clothing can be captured by the camera from another angle or with different lighting.

To work as a stand-in actor you need to know what is stand-in acting and how to become a stand-in actor.

Does this Acting Job Sound Interesting?

What do you think of when you read the word “stand-in”? Perhaps you think of a person who stands for another person, like a replacement or proxy. Alternatively, it could be someone with experience in the film industry who is used to assist other actors during filming, but only temporary. As it turns out, both of these assumptions are partially true. 

Stand-ins are primarily used to assist the director and crew during filming or rehearsals. They provide another body that looks like the actor they are representing so that lighting and camera angles can be fine-tuned before principal photography begins. In addition, stand-ins are also helpful if an actor has to leave set unexpectedly (e.g., due to illness).

Stand-in actors are part of a tv or movie film crew. Making marks, lighting and camera shots possible before shooting a scene.

What is a Stand in Actor?

A stand-in actor is a person who fills in for another actor during filming. The stand-in is usually dressed as the actor would be dressed for the scene, often wearing a costume, wig and makeup. They are used for lighting and camera blocking purposes, and sometimes for safety reasons, such as for stunts. They are also sometimes referred to as a “body double” or “stunt double”.

On some occasions, the actual actor may go through the process of being lit and “blocking” the scene (positioning their body to best suit the scene) so the director can see how the “lighting” looks on screen.

If you are wondering if a stand-in actor gig is right for you, consider that every good show (and many movies) need people for this position. The pay is great too!

10 Beginner Tips to Get Hired as a Stand-In Actor

1. Know the Script

You will need to read the script multiple times in order to fully understand the story and its characters. Also important is the scene order and the relationship between characters. You will be called upon to repeat your lines when the actors are working through the scene, and you will also be expected to know almost all of the lines of the other actors. Many stand-in actors read right from the pages as well, as they work with the crew detailing how things will look.

Knowing the script is also important for figuring out what needs to be done in each scene, such as props and blocking. If you know the script, you will be able to understand what your director is asking you to do, and you will be able to do your job well.

2. Get to Know the Crew Members

When you become a stand-in actor it is a good idea to get to know the lighting and camera crew members, as well as the wardrobe department. The more you get to know these people, the better you will understand their language, and the easier it will be for you to work with them.

When you know these people you will also be able to ask them questions and get advice on how to be a better stand-in actor. It will also make it easier for you to build a network of connections in the film industry.

Some camera and lighting crew members even prefer to have the stand-in actor around when they are doing their job even if the director doesn’t want them there. This is because it gives the camera crew more time to focus on their job.

3. Know the Basics of Film Production

Since you will be spending time on different film sets and in different film studios, it is a good idea to learn the basics of film production. You will learn about the different stages of film production, as well as all the equipment that is used in the process.

You will understand what is required of you as a stand-in actor at each stage of the production. You will also be able to work better with other staff members, as well as with other actors. It is important to understand how the camera works and how it sees things.

As you might imagine, it’s important to understand how the lights are used to create the lighting that is seen on the screen. You also need to understand how various props are used in film production and how they affect the final product.

4. Have Great Communication Skills

Communication is a very important skill for stand-in actors because they are often responsible for relaying information between the director and other actors. You will need to be able to repeat the instructions that the director gives and understand the needs to help block a shot.

It is important to be able to understand and repeat the instructions in the correct way, so no one gets confused or misunderstands anything. Moreover, you need to be able to have a good relationship with all the actors, as well as the other film crew members.

Constantly dealing with different people, and you need to be able to communicate your thoughts and ideas to all of them. Communication is also important when it comes to dealing with wardrobe, props, and lighting crew members. You need to be able to understand what the crew members are trying to say, and you need to be able to clearly explain what the actors need to the others.

5. Participate in Props and Wardrobe Sessions

Being a stand-in actor you will often be invited to attend props and wardrobe sessions. During these sessions, you can observe how the props are selected and how they are used on set. You can also watch how the wardrobe staff works with the actors to choose their outfits and see the fabrics used.

You can take notes and ask questions about the things you see and understand. Participating in these sessions is a great way to better understand the work that goes into creating props and costumes for film sets. You can also propose to visit other department sessions, such as sound and visual effects, as well as set construction.

This way you will be able to get to know all the people who work on the film set and understand all the work that goes into creating a film. This will help you work more efficiently, as well as make you more useful on set.

6. Understand Lighting and Camera Placement

Knowing how the lights are used to create the right lighting, as well as knowing how the camera is placed to capture the best shots is important for a stand-in actor. It will help you know how to position your body while the lights and camera are being set up.

It will also help you understand how your body is being captured and what you can do to make it look better. You need to know if you should be standing straight, or if you should be turned at an angle. This will help you pose better when the real actors are in front of the camera. It is important to understand how the lighting is used to create the mood for the scene. Plus how the camera is used to capture the best angles. This will help you position your body in the best way to create the desired results.

7. Research Your Role

During the time when you are waiting for the crew members to set up their equipment and lights, you can study up on your role. You can go over your lines, or you can study the script to better understand the story.

You can also look up facts on the internet about the historical period the film is set in, the locations where the film was shot, or the actors who are in the film. Knowing about the things that are related to your role will help you be more prepared.

Of course you won’t be seen by the audience, but you will offer a great perspective to the crew. You will have more things to talk about with the other actors, and you will be able to relate to them better. You will also be able to understand the film better and why certain things are done the way they are.

8. Be Aware of Camera Angles

As a stand-in actor, you will often be standing in for the lead actor, or the person who the camera is mostly focused on. You need to be aware of the different camera angles that are used, so that you can position your body correctly and make sure your face looks good in the shots.

You can look up the camera angles used in your film, or you can ask the director or cinematographer. This will help you position your body correctly, so that the shots look good.

You can also talk to the director or cinematographer about the camera angles, and see if you can suggest ways to improve the shots. This will show that you care about the quality of your work and that you want to do everything you can to help the director create a great film.

9. Know Your Mark and Where You are on Set

During the filming, you will have a mark that you need to stand on. It is important to know where this mark is, as well as the distance from the camera. This is because you need to stand in the same position every time you are in front of the camera, so that the lighting and camera angle look the same in every shot.

You also need to know the general layout of the set. This will help you know where you have to go when the director tell you.

Stand in workers are never seen on final films or TV shows.

10. Is a Stand-in Actor an Extra?

A stand in actor is not the same as an extra. Extras are people who are cast in a scene, but their faces are not shown. Stand in actors are used for camera blocking and for helping other actors find their marks during a shoot. Their job is not to be in the final footage and will never be seen in public, unlike extras.

Stand-in actors also might be asked to act out certain scenes. They might even say a few lines when the director is looking for different inflection in a scene. So, basically, a stand in is a person who helps the director and crew assemble the scenes visually so that they can be put together properly later when the actual filming takes place.

As such, a stand in actor is not only an extra, but also a crew member in a production. As such, they get the same treatment as other crew members, and are often contracted under the film’s payroll.

Find a Casting Agency Working with Stand in Actors

The best way to get started with being a stand-in actor is to find a casting agency that regularly uses stand in actors. A casting agency is a good source for finding work as a stand in actor because they will often have information about upcoming productions, and be able to give you details about what auditions are open for stand in work.

These agencies will also be able to provide you with information about how to get started as a stand in. While there are not any centralized databases where you can sign up with information about yourself and your availability, there are several websites and forums where you can meet casting directors, agency managers and other actors who might be able to connect you with work as a stand in.

Be Willing to Work with the Director

Like any other type of job, being an actor comes with its share of workplace politics. Since a stand in actor will be closely involved in the director’s vision, you will have to be willing to work with the director.

There may be times when the director might request you try something slightly different, or put minor tweaks on a scene. You have to be willing to work with the director and be flexible, even if you are not used to being a stand in actor. Most directors hire stand in actors because they want to get a better feel for the scenes, or want to try out different angles for a scene.

The director’s job is to create a vision for a production, and they want different options to choose from when filming a scene. When you are hired as a stand in actor, the director will want you to try out different actions and tones for a scene.

Watch for Casting Calls for Stand-In Actors

Most stand in actors get work through word of mouth, but you can also keep an eye out for casting calls for stand in actors. These will typically be posted on casting websites, and may be posted on websites where you can find auditions and casting calls.

There are websites that specialize in posting stand in actors’ calls, and casting websites that feature stand in actors’ calls. Some websites also have forums where you can ask other actors about work and finding auditions for stand in actors. Finding work as a stand in actor is not difficult, but it does take persistence, as you may have to keep looking and checking websites to find the right auditions for you.

Stand-in Actor for TV

TV shows often need stand in actors for motion capture scenes, or to help actors and actresses get into costumes and makeup. You may be hired as a stand in for a TV show if you are of similar height, build and skin tone. You will find almost all of these jobs in Los Angeles where it is required to show up at a studio set to audition.

You may also be hired as a stand in for TV if you have a skill that the production needs. If you have a skill, like martial arts or dancing, you may be hired as a stand in for TV.

Stand-in Actor for Movie

A movie stand in actor is someone who helps the director, cinematographer and other actors and crew members set up certain scenes. A movie stand in actor often has a particular role, like standing in for the lead actor, or for the villain. You may be hired as a stand in for a movie if you can match a particular actor’s height, build, skin tone, hair color and/or hair length.

You may also be hired as a movie stand in if you have a skill that the director wants to use in scenes. If you have a skill, like horseback riding, martial arts or speaking a foreign language, you may be hired as a movie stand in.

In Conclusion

A stand-in actor is hired to help a production team visualize a scene before they begin filming. As such, they often have to fill in for other actors, and perform different actions to try out different angles for a scene. You may be hired as a stand in if you are of similar height, build and skin tone as another actor, or if you have a skill that the director wants to use in the production.

Stand in actors get to see how a scene is filmed from a different perspective, and often also get to interact with different actors and members of the production team. You can get hired as a stand in actor by keeping an eye out for casting calls for stand in actors, and by being willing to work with the director and try out different actions and tones for a scene

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