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An actor’s stand-in is a valuable resource for a production company. The role of a stand-in is to take the place of the lead actor while the crew properly sets up the lighting and camera focus. During rehearsal, the stand-in watches so that he or she can mimic what the lead actor does. If the stand-in can efficiently recreate the moves of the original actor, it cuts down on set-up time; therefore, a stand-in is a valuable asset to the production process.
Relocate to a busy filming community. If your desire is to be an actor’s stand-in, your first order of business is living near that type of job. You are most likely to find production companies filming television shows and movies on either the East or West Coast. Being a stand-in is not usually a one-time gig, so you’ll need to position yourself where you can meet people and start forming connections in the business.
Brush up on your listening skills and learn to be detail oriented. Stand-ins take a lot of direction when doing their job. It’s important to be a good listener and follow instructions well if you want to succeed in this field. Since stand-ins observe the lead actors before they step in to take their places, you need to keep track of many details. Work on the ability to keep up with many pieces of information at the same time.
Take other acting-related assignments. Once you’ve got the basic skills down to be a great stand-in, look for any acting opportunity that is available. A common way for people to break into the field of being a stand-in is by working as a background actor. Even if this kind of role doesn’t appeal to you, go ahead and take any similar opportunity offered to you. You never know when you might be in the right place at the right time to land a stand-in position.
Network every chance you get. While you’re on set performing in another kind of role, make sure to talk to people working alongside you and make yourself known. Have a good attitude and ask questions when appropriate. The point is to make connections and learn as much as possible without coming on too strong. Be assertive but likeable, and don’t be shy about asking if your current production needs any stand-ins.
When you are eligible, join a professional acting association such as SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) to make further connections.
If you want to be an actor, you may have to put that pursuit on hold because stand-ins work long hours.
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