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A stand-in is a person who temporarily replaces an actor during the production of a film or television show. One of the main purposes of stand-ins is to swap places with an actor during a portion of production that only requires the notion of an actor’s physical presence, such as for setting up proper lighting or determining where the actor needs to be positioned in each scene. Using a temporary replacement allows the actor to take breaks or helps the production crew set up scenes when an actor is unavailable.
One of the main requirements of a stand-in is to share similar physical characteristics to the actor he or she is filling in for. The two people will generally need to be around the same height so that the cameras can be properly positioned to ensure the actor will be lined up properly in the camera view. The person temporarily replacing the actor may also be required to have matching hair color and other physical features so the producers can more vividly imagine how the real scene will look, as well as adjust any lighting that clashes or is otherwise unflattering to the star’s coloring. For instance, if the performer has fair hair, using a stand-in with matching hair could help make sure the lighting will not wash out the actor during the scene.
Depending on the size of the production team, a stand-in may also help with other duties associated with producing the film or television show. This may include assisting with setting up scenery or other props, as well as helping position lighting. Stand-ins may also test audio equipment so that all the microphones and other sound equipment is set properly by the time the actors are ready to film their scenes.
Although stand-ins are generally not hired to perform any acting dialogue, they may occasionally participate in rehearsal script readings. This may be more common if the actors are well-known and not able or not required to attend. A stand-in may act in scenes with the other hired actors so they can ensure they have the material memorized without being delayed due to the absence of another actor.
In order to get work as a stand-in, a person will usually have to apply through the same casting agency that chose the actors for the film or television production. One of the main criteria for the position will typically be the ability to carefully follow directions and be alert at all times. Producers are often on a tight schedule and need to complete all preproduction tasks as quickly as possible, and inattentive stand-ins could slow down the process.
And you thought your job was boring! Movies sets are some of the most mind-numbingly boring places on earth. I don't know how professional actors can manage it.
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