How do I Become a Stand-In?

Sheri Cyprus

If you want to become a stand-in, you have to realize that it's not an acting opportunity. Stand-ins have the job of replacing an actor's physical form for the sake of photographic appearance only. In some cases, a stand-in may run lines with lead actors in a production, but this work is off camera. If you look like a popular lead actor or actress, you have the best chance to become a stand-in body double for that person.

Stand-ins may participate in rehearsal script readings.
Stand-ins may participate in rehearsal script readings.

Body doubles, once they are dressed in clothing, hair and makeup similar to the star's, may look so much like an actor or actress that they are often used on camera in some scenes. Body doubles for television stars may get long-term, full-time work. If you want to become a stand-in who is a body double, you'll have to approach the casting agents for that particular show and convince them of how much you look like their star actor or actress. It will likely take polite persistence, as well as body double looks, before you will be able to register with that casting agency.

Many television and film productions hire stand-ins that are included in some live action scenes.
Many television and film productions hire stand-ins that are included in some live action scenes.

A body double doesn't have a speaking role, but rather films some scenes in place of the actor, such as running in a park or taking a shower. Stunt doubles are professionals trained in performing action stunts, such as driving a speeding car or running out of a burning building. Most action movies employ stunt doubles, while many feature films and television series use a body double.

A calm, patient attitude plus the ability to take direction well are qualities you must have if you want to become a stand-in for the film or television industries. Keep ahead of what films or television shows are scheduled to be shot in your area and approach the casting agencies working with these productions. Your goal is to get these agencies to register you. If you have a professional, mature outlook and are prepared with a head shot, casting agents may consider you to become a stand-in for their production. A head shot is a professionally taken photograph of the face from the neck or shoulders up.

Another crucial quality for an aspiring stand-in to have is to be prepared to work on short notice. To become a stand-in, you'll have to be ready to cover for an actor or actress who gets sick or injured or doesn't show up for filming; the entire production can't simply come to a stand-still waiting for one person. Instead, a stand-in is used to substitute for the performer. The crew will then be able to position the props and set up for camera shots. If a lead actor is missing from a rehearsal, a stand-in may be asked to deliver or "feed" lines to the other actors to help them get the flow of each scene, but it's not considered an acting job.

Body doubles typically wear makeup that is almost identical to that of the main actor or actress.
Body doubles typically wear makeup that is almost identical to that of the main actor or actress.

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Discussion Comments


When I lived out in southern California, I had a chance to become a stand-in for an actor I won't mention. It was surprisingly hard work. The lighting people and the camera people told me to stand in the middle of a fake living room and move in different directions while they made adjustments. They all seemed to be in a hurry to get their work done. I spent hours just standing in different places and saying a few lines once in a while when the sound people needed to check the hidden microphones.

I learned a lot about the real film industry that day. Most of it isn't very glamorous, and it can be downright uncomfortable standing in one place while hot lights shine on you from every direction. I did finally get to meet the real actor and some other people in that scene, but I was ready to go home by that point.


It may not be an official acting credit, but I'd still like to be able to tell people I was a stand-in for a really great actor. I've had the opportunity to be an unpaid extra in some movies shot around my area, but I couldn't get near the principal actors at all. A friend of mine was selected as a stand-in because he had the same build and hair color as Richard Gere. He got to meet the man several times, and also spend an entire shooting a scene with some beautiful actresses. He's still talking about it.

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