How To Become an Actor's Stand-In

Being a Hollywood stand-in actor can be steady and lucrative work for the up and coming movie actor. There are two types of stand-in roles: one that works in front of the camera and the other is a line feeder to the top members of the cast. Both types of stand-in work come with a minimum pay scale, and may be found with union and non-union productions.

Film is shot out of sequence because the shooting schedule must be scaled down to a bare minimum to keep the film within budget. The director may not be able to get the lead actors working together for rehearsal with the lighting set in place, so a stand-in is used to feed lines to the principal actor.  This type of stand-in is not photographed, and therefore does not need to bear a resemblance to any actor.

The other kind of stand-in work is employed for front of the camera use as a stunt double, or in some cases, for body parts, when the leading actor does not wish to do a scene unclothed. The stand-in should bear a resemblance to the leading actor with basic facial dynamics such as bone structure, nose, etc. However, hair color is easy to change and not a major factor in doubling for a leading actor.

When building up your resume and portfolio, it’s essential to list your skills one at a time. That is to say, if you're an expert in martial arts, rather than stating your skills in a general category, list them individually, such as tai kwan do, judo, karate black belt, etc. In addition, be sure to list your capabilities with stunt work to include such skills as fight scenes, motorcycle jumping, etc. By simply being articulate in your portfolio, it can mean the difference in getting the job or being overlooked for another pretty face.

There should be a bio section printed under your head shot photo, which will be left with a casting or producer's office after your audition. If you have several shots in your portfolio and you have a similarity to a mainstream star, be sure to point that out to them.

The new actor to Hollywood can get steady work as an extra and stand-in by applying to a casting office that specializes in hiring out extras. There are no auditions required and they can provide full time employment for the diligent actor. You will need a head shot and a be able to work on last minute notice, seven days a week if necessary. The pay is minimum, but the opportunities are great to be assigned to a SAG production, in which case, the director will sign your SAG application to get you in to the union.


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