In the glamorous world of movie-making, countless individuals work behind the scenes to ensure that every scene is shot perfectly. One such crucial role is that of a stand-in. But what is a stand-in actor in film production? Is it an understudy? Are they like body doubles or perhaps a stunt double? Read on for a full explanation of these unsung members of the crew.

What is a Stand in Actor in Film Production?

First, let’s define stand-in actor

Stand-ins are often unsung heroes of the film industry, working tirelessly behind the scenes. They play a pivotal role in ensuring a smooth and efficient filming process. Let's take a look at their role by looking at the definition of a stand-in in film.


What is a stand in actor?

A stand-in is a person who substitutes for an actor before filming for the purpose of setting up the scene's lighting and camera setup. They are not stunt doubles or body doubles, who replace actors in scenes that require specialized skills or nudity. Stand-ins often have similar physical characteristics to the actors they are standing in for, like height, hair color, and complexion.

What Does a Stand-in Do?

  • Lighting arrangement assistance
  • Camera setup support
  • Rehearsal participation contribution

What is a Stand in Actor Used For?

What does a stand-in do?

Stand-ins are an integral part of production, providing valuable support in technical areas. They take on a wide range of responsibilities to ensure a seamless production process.

Being a Stand In

Lighting Setup

Stand-ins help the lighting department by standing in for the actor while the crew arranges the lighting for the scene. This process can be time-consuming, and using stand-ins allows the actors to save their energy for the actual performance.

Camera Setup

Similar to lighting setup, stand-ins play a crucial role in assisting the camera department. These dedicated individuals step into the actor's position, allowing the camera crew to meticulously adjust their equipment to capture the perfect camera angles and shot sizes. By mimicking the actor's presence, stand-ins help create a seamless and visually captivating cinematic experience.

Actor working behind the scenes on a film production

Stand-in Talent


Stand-ins, also known as understudies, play a crucial role in rehearsals by stepping in for actors, allowing the director and other actors to gain a better understanding of the scene's blocking

They help visualize and fine-tune the intricate movements and positions that actors will adopt throughout the scene, ensuring a seamless and captivating performance. With their invaluable contribution, stand-ins contribute to the overall success and cohesion of the production.

Stand in Movie Jobs

How to become a stand-in actor

Want to become a stand-in? Well, you don't need formal education, but having experience in film production can really give you an edge in this field. Let's dive into some steps to get you started on your exciting journey as a stand-in.

Gain Experience

The first step is to immerse yourself in the world of film production. Start by taking up background extra work, which will allow you to become familiar with the workings of a film set. This experience will give you valuable insights into the industry and help you understand the dynamics of being on a set.

What is a Stand In Actor Stand in on a Film Set

Stand-in on a Film Set


Building a strong network is crucial in the film industry. Connect with casting directors, crew members, and other stand-ins to expand your professional circle. Attend industry events, workshops, and film festivals to meet people who can potentially provide opportunities and guidance.

Networking can open doors to new projects and collaborations, helping you establish yourself as a stand-in.

Physical Characteristics

As a stand-in, it's important to closely match the physical attributes of the actor you will be standing in for. This includes factors such as height, body type, and even facial features.

Pay attention to these details and work on maintaining a similar appearance to increase your chances of getting selected for stand-in roles.

What is a Stand In Actor Stand In Actors

Stand-In Actors

If you're looking to make it as a stand-in in the film industry, here are some steps to boost your chances of success. Keep honing your skills, stay dedicated, and persevere in this competitive field. 

What is a Stand in Actor Paid?

Stand-in salary

Stand-in salaries can vary widely depending on the budget of the film, the actor they're standing in for, and the location of filming. According to ZipRecruiter, as of 2023, the average annual pay for a Stand-In in the United States is $50,000-$70,000 a year.

Stand-in Actor Jobs

How to Find Stand-In Jobs

Stand-in jobs are usually listed by casting agencies, so it's crucial to get registered with these agencies. In addition, websites like or ProductionHub provide listings for stand-in positions.

Remember, persistence and networking are key in this industry. So, keep applying, stay patient, and make as many connections as you can.

Stand-ins are often overlooked, but they can be a massive asset on a film production. They help with lighting, camera setup, and even aid in rehearsals. In short, stand-ins play a crucial role in creating smooth production experiences and ultimately a better film. 

Up Next

Discover more filmmaking roles

Stand-ins are an all too often overlooked part of film production, playing a valuable role in the technical aspects of filmmaking. To continue through our series of the various filmmaking roles and positions, you can explore similar jobs like Gaffer, Production Assistant, or Grip. Or you can jump over to our Film Crew Index to browse the entire range of filmmaking roles. Understanding what everyone’s role on a film set is will help make you a better overall filmmaker and a more efficient crew member.

Up Next: Explore more crew positions →
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  • Kyle DeGuzman graduated from San Diego State University with a Bachelor of Science in Television, Film, & New Media. He currently resides in Denver, Colorado spending his time writing, filmmaking, and traveling.

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