You and your fellow stand-ins–otherwise known as “second team”–often function like a family.  This is to say, second team looks out for each other.

Sometimes you need the help of the other stand-ins in order to do your job.  Likewise, sometimes they need your help in order to do their jobs.  Here are some ways you can help out your fellow stand-ins and ultimately live and work more harmoniously as “a family.”

Set Up a Chair

When you’re the first stand-in to arrive to set, if you have the opportunity to grab a chair for yourself, also see if you can grab a chair for your fellow stand-in.  Setting up chairs for you and your fellow stand-ins helps to set aside an area for stand-ins to set their belongings as well as develop a positive work relationship.

Point Out Important People on Set

If you’re working with a stand-in new to your set, help your fellow stand-in know who the ADs are, the background PA, as well as the DP and director.  This will help the stand-in know to whom to pay attention and from whom to expect instruction.  Pointing out the camera operator(s) may also be of help to your fellow stand-in.

Note When Someone’s Looking

When you’re standing in, sometimes a DP or director will be looking at the scene but one stand-in’s back may be to the onlooker.  When you see someone looking at your scene, let your fellow stand-in know.  This will help the stand-in know to be extra focused in the moment and quiet stray movement and idle chitchat.

Note When There Is a Safety Hazard Behind

With grips, electrics, and set dressers moving in lights, equipment, and furniture, stand-ins are often in their path.  Alert your fellow stand-in when a safety hazard is coming in from behind.  If danger is imminent, move your fellow stand-in away from the danger.

Also, as the dolly holding the camera tracks forward, your fellow stand-in may be in its path but not know it.  Watch in case your fellow stand-in is going to be hit by the camera or dolly, and alert the stand-in that the camera is tracking in.

Note When There Is a Safety Hazard Above

Hazards aren’t just from behind; sometimes the hazards are overhead!  Alert your fellow stand-in when a safety hazard is above.  Crew members working on ladders and dropping in cable are overhead dangers that your fellow stand-in should not be under.  Advise your fellow stand-in to move out of the way if something above looks even slightly precarious.

Relay an Instruction That Goes Unheard

If your fellow stand-in’s back is to a person giving instructions, it becomes hard to discern instructions.  If the camera crew is trying to communicate with your fellow stand-in but the stand-in isn’t hearing, relay the instruction to the stand-in.  It may be difficult for your fellow stand-in to hear given the surrounding noise, or your vantage point may make it easier for you to read lips and discern instructions.

Relay to a PA or AD When a Fellow Stand-In Is “10-1”

A stand-in may make a decided effort to communicate to an AD or the background PA the need to step off set for a quick bathroom break, but there may be no AD or PA in sight.  In such a case, it may help if you accept the task of relaying to an AD or the background PA when your fellow stand-in sets off set for the bathroom.

Ultimately, it’s your fellow stand-in’s responsibility to convey the need to head to the bathroom (“10-1” is the codeword for “in the bathroom”), but you can help relay the message when there’s no one around to tell.

Offer to Cover for When Your Fellow Stand-In Is Absentee

Occasionally your fellow stand-in will be away from set when requested.  When your fellow stand-in is needed but can’t be found, offer to the crew to stand in for the stand-in until the stand-in arrives.  Sometimes the crew will oblige your request, other times not.

Watch Your Fellow Stand-In’s Actor during Marking Rehearsal

If your fellow stand-in can’t watch marking rehearsal, keep track of the stand-in’s actor during marking rehearsal and note the actor’s blocking.  Share that information with your fellow stand-in so that you can both function better during the setup of the shot.

Make a Plate

When your fellow stand-in is standing in and you’re not standing in in the current scene, it just might so happen that “Sandwich O’Clock” happens.  That is, pre-lunch or post-lunch food might be served by craft services.

The crew might partake in the food but your fellow stand-in may not get to step off.  Asking if your fellow stand-in would like some food is most considerate, and making a plate for your fellow stand-in is even better.

Got an idea how you can help your fellow stand-ins?  Is there something you wish other stand-ins would do for you?  If so, share below!