Recently, I experienced a first in my career when I was booked to stand in for an actor portraying the body of a dead girl.

While this may seem like the simplest stand-in gig to get, there’s a bit more to it than one would think. It certainly was an unexpected and peculiar situation for me as a stand-in, but as always I learned more than I expected.

Take Special Care

Firstly, when standing in for a dead body, special care needs to be taken with respect to observing body position, on-set blood, and surrounding set pieces. The actual placement of the body is very precise on set, so as a stand-in it is even more imperative to stay on your mark than most jobs.

Take note of surrounding set pieces, crime scene adornments like blood, etc., and be mindful not to disturb them when entering and exiting set. Often these scenes involve detailed close-ups of the body; even the slightest alteration is noticeable.

What to Watch During Marking Rehearsal

During marking rehearsal, instead of watching your actor’s moves, you must notice how others move around your actor.

The cast may both verbally and physically interact with the body, and the cast’s interactions and cues taken from the body are as equally valuable to you as to them.

Be Prepared

Your personal preparation to stand in for such a situation is essential. While wardrobe will still provide you with color cover, you may need warmer and/or weatherproof clothing to protect you from water, dirt, and wind for such a job.

In my recent gig, I was lying outside in the snow (albeit on a heating pad) during a night shoot. Thus, layering was imperative for my own comfort and warmth. Also, bringing extra hand, feet, and body warmers for yourself is always a good idea for any exterior shoot!

Have any keen or helpful insights of your own for standing in for a dead body? What other considerations do you make with respect to being a stationary fixture on set? Share your ideas below!