This crucial function is a vital step in the making of a movie and allows for efficient and effective shooting. This manual is for you if you want to find out more about the qualifications, practical experience, and education required to work as a stand-in actor.
What is a stand-in?
A stand-in is someone who figuratively fills the role of an actor to assist the camera crew with lighting the scene and adjusting the blocking, composition, framing, and focus. Before a scene is shot, the principals, or lead actors, will practice it. Once blocking is complete, they depart and practice last looks for their hair, cosmetics, and attire. The stand-ins enter at this point. They observe the performers during rehearsal to learn what they do, then while the principals are occupied, they recreate it. A good stand-in helps the production save time and money.
Various forms of stand-ins include:
- Utility stand-ins – They are typically employed to evaluate lighting and shot composition. As a utility stand-in, your personal appearance is less important than your height, which should correspond to the height of the actor(s) you are standing in for (although this can be approximated with heels and step stools).
- Single camera stand-ins should physically match the actor they are replacing in terms of height, weight, hair color, and skin tone. They are also employed to perfect lighting and camera composition.
- Multi-camera stand-in: Employed for their skills rather than their resemblance to the lead actor, multi-camera stand-ins typically act out an entire episode or scene in the actor’s place so that the production crew may set up blocking and dialogue before filming.
What do stand-ins do?
For situations that call for the main actor’s actual presence during filming, a stand-in allows the actor to take a break during pre-production. For the production team to test out what it will seem like when the actor does the same, they stand, sit, gesticulate, and do any other body movements necessary for the scene. A stand-in may also assist with other aspects of production for shootings with smaller production teams, such as testing audio equipment, setting up lighting, and even practicing script reads.
Which abilities do stand-ins require?
Professionalism is a must for stand-ins, despite the fact that being on a film or television set can make anyone want to squeal with delight. “Remember to respect the performers’ personal space. In Season 4 of “Mad Men,” Jeff Kernaghan, who filled in for Jon Hamm, comments that both of you are doing a good job. Stand-ins should be able to communicate with principal performers in a professional manner and regard them as peers.
The lead actor may even ask you to serve as their permanent stand-in if you really make an impression on them with your professionalism, like Fred Astaire did for Harry Cornbleth and Robin Williams did for Adam Bryant. Marilee Lessley, Reese Witherspoon’s doppelgänger stand-in, was asked to act as both her stunt and body double.
Focus: Countless minute aspects go into producing a picture. Scene setup, desired results, and job responsibilities can change instantly. It’s critical for stand-ins to retain a sharp focus because they are surrounded by people who “really need to maintain their focus,” according to Kernaghan. Ben Hauck, who filled in for Jason Bateman and Peter Facinelli in the movies “The Switch” and “Nurse Jackie,” concurs. “You can appear horrible if you miss a few nuances when witnessing a practice,” he warns. Pay close attention to the scene itself, the director’s and the production team’s directions, and your location in the script.
Timeliness: Stand-ins need to be ready to go when called. Since production schedules are constantly changing, it’s crucial to stay on top of any adjustments to call timings so you never miss one. Consider it your responsibility to assist in maintaining the shooting schedule. Contact us for more information.