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Fill in for Actors during camera and lighting setup.

What does a Stand-In do?

As a Stand-In, you take the place of the lead Actor in a TV or film shoot for purposes of lighting and other technical elements. The great unsung heroes of the entertainment and advertising worlds, Stand-Ins almost always know all the lines and movements that the people they’re standing in for will be performing throughout a given scene. Going through these motions helps the Director of Photography and crew ascertain lighting and camera angles for when the actual Actor will do the scene for real. You, like Actors and pretty much everyone else involved in the movie and TV world, work long days and have unpredictable schedules for the most part.

Unfortunately, some of the most important attributes of a Stand-In are ones that you have almost no control over. You must be roughly the same height, weight, and build as the person you’re standing in for. Skin color and tone, as well as hair color and style, must also be a close approximation. All these things are critical to making sure that the technical crew can create lighting, camera, and sound setups that will work when the real Actor is in the shot.

You don’t just take the place of real Actors, though. You can also take the place of fake ones. In situations where computer-generated or animated characters are going to be inserted later and must interact with real, flesh-and-blood human Actors, a Stand-In may be used. This gives the real Actors something to play off of, and shows both them and the Animators who will be inserting the artificial character later just where it will be occupying the space.

Whether it’s an old-school movie shot on analog film, or a cutting-edge TV show with computer-generated effects, Stand-Ins are needed all the time.