The Dos and Don’ts of Photo-Doubling

By | 2012-12-09T18:01:47+00:00 December 19th, 2012|Concepts, Lessons, Principles, Tips|0 Comments

In the entertainment business, stand-in work and photo-doubling work are in the same category and are often grouped together. When finding stand-ins for actors, casting may aim to find a stand-in who can also photo-double for the actor.

However, there are times when casting is looking for a person to solely photo-double for the actor. Here are some dos and don’ts for submitting  and preparing for photo-double work.

SUBMITTING YOUR SIZES

DO list your current sizes. Even if the casting notice says it is for a hand double, it is likely that you will have to dress in the actor’s clothing and it is important that you match the actor’s sizes.

DO take out a tape measure and record your current sizes if you are unsure.

DO list sizes for your height, shirt, dress, pants, bust/waist/hip, as well as your shoe size and any other sizes requested in the casting notice.

DON’T lie about your sizes. If you can’t fit into the clothing, production may not be able to use you. You will be embarrassed, and you will waste your time and production’s time. This will probably be reported to casting as well, and it may jeopardize your reputation with their office.

DON’T lie about tattoos. You can never be sure what the insert shots are going to consist of and what may be shown. For example, you may have a tattoo on your ankle that can be seen on camera if you are sitting down in the insert shot and have bare legs. Tattoos cannot always be covered up completely with makeup and may be a problem. Casting and production need to be the ones to decide if your tattoos will interfere or not.

SUBMITTING YOUR PHOTOS

DO read the casting instructions carefully. Do they want photos of both the front and back of your hands? Photos of your feet? Other body parts?

DO submit current photos. If your nails are shorter than in the photos you send, that could be a problem. Mention that in the notes.

DON’T edit the pictures of your hands or other body parts. If you have prominent freckles, moles, scars, or tattoos, they should be visible in your pictures.

DON’T withhold any changes about your hands or other body parts. If you currently have a cut or other blemish, mention it in the notes. It is possible it can be covered up with makeup and will not cause a problem, but casting and production have to be the judge of that.

SUBMITTING FOR SPECIAL SITUATIONS

DON’T say you are willing to cut or color your hair unless you are completely comfortable with any changes production may make. The details of the changes are usually listed in the casting notice.

DON’T submit for any kind of work you may be uncomfortable with. If the photo-double work requires special situations, it will usually be listed in the casting notice. Some of these situations may include nudity or implied nudity, simulating sex, being in water, or lying on the ground outside.

DO ask questions. Find out more details about the work if you feel unsure about any aspects of it.

DO ask if there is a bump in pay for any special situations.

PREPARING FOR PHOTO-DOUBLING WORK

DO prepare your hands and nails. You may choose to get a manicure, but this is not necessary. If you do get a manicure, don’t get your nails cut short. Production can always cut your nails shorter on set if needed.

DO come in with clean, polish-free nails.

DO come prepared to photo-double other body parts if casting mentioned the possibility — like feet, legs, back, etc.

DON’T ask production to reimburse you for a manicure unless you were instructed by casting to get one. Production will usually cover the cost for you in this case, but verify this with casting when you are booked.

DON’T try to cover up cuts, scars, or tattoos on your hands or other body parts with make-up. If you were approved by production and were honest about the status of your hands and other body parts, they will do what is necessary to prepare you for what they need.

Do you have any tips on submitting for photo-double work? Any suggestions about how to prepare for photo-double work? Please comment below!

About the Author:

Sara DeRosa (Senior Contributor, Stand-In Central) has worked as an actor and a stand-in on numerous television and film sets in New York City. She is a member of SAG-AFTRA and a graduate of the two-year conservatory program at The New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts. Sara has been featured as an unsung hero on Entertainment Tonight and in the ELLE Magazine Women In Hollywood issue for her stand-in work. Sara loves living in New York City, and her favorite sets she has worked on are Madam Secretary, Gossip Girl, and The Amazing Spider-Man 2. http://www.saraderosa.com

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