While standing in may seem like a simple enough job, in a number of ways it resembles an endurance sport. Stand-ins are asked to stand in place and relatively still for long periods of time, often focused in one direction, sometimes holding an awkward pose. These poses may put strain on the body and may leave a stand-in with stiff muscles or soreness from the bodily strain.
Imagine Standing for 30 Minutes Straight …
Try standing in the same place, focused on a small mark for 30 minutes or more and you’ll start to get a sense of what kind of endurance is needed for the job. After that amount of time, you may find your feet sore, your knees in pain, your back tight, or even your mind agitated. You might feel the need to move around or stretch–and given the demands of the moment when the crew is setting up the shot around you, you might not have the opportunity to do so.
Now, let’s layer on some added strain. Let’s take this 30 minutes of standing still, but let’s say your body is faced forward and your head is turned to the right and upward. After 30 minutes of this position, you will probably feel tightness in your neck and shoulders that probably won’t feel comfortable. You’ll probably need to keep in this position, though.
Or, instead, let’s say that you have to have a hand up in the air holding a small box. You probably won’t be able to accomplish 30 minutes straight of holding up a small box in your hand. After time your arm will get tired or you will get agitated. You’ll probably let the arm fall, but you’ll probably have to bring it up again and hold it out for an uncomfortably long amount of time.
Or, let’s say that instead you’re standing but you’re leaning over a gurney because your character is doing an operation in the scene. This off-balance position will become highly uncomfortable if held for 30 minutes. 30 minutes of leaning with your hands assisting is one thing, but 30 minutes of leaning hands-free is a whole other ballgame.
Now let’s put you on your knees. Do you think you can tolerate being on your knees for 30 minutes straight? I quickly request a kneepad when it looks as if I’ll have to kneel in a scene given the discomfort being on my knees gives me. Have me crouch for 30 minutes and you’ll have me uncomfortable within a minute or two if I’m not able to adjust of get up. At these times I try to request an applebox to sit on so I can emulate crouching rather than actually doing it.
Now Imagine Standing In as a Sport …
You can think of standing in like a sport. In this sport, the object is to do your best at performing the task at hand for a long period of time. Thinking of standing in like an endurance sport makes standing in fun or challenging during those times when you’re looking for inspiration at a time or boredom. It may also help to condition you as a stand-in to tolerate long periods of staying in one place or one position. Your body may become more adept at handling strain, or simply your brain may become more tolerant of the long stretches of inanimation.
Standing in can be compared to other kinds of things. Have any other ways of thinking about standing in? If so, share below!