This information went out of date after June 30, 2014. For updated rates, see this posting.
– The Editor
A common question for people visiting Stand-In Central is how much stand-ins in film and television are paid.
Usually stand-ins are members of SAG-AFTRA, the labor union merged in 2012 from the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA). As union members, stand-ins are entitled to union wages, which are determined by negotiated contracts. To date, contracts are not SAG-AFTRA contracts but instead SAG contracts and AFTRA contracts (depending on the set), and with these contracts come different rates for stand-ins.
In recent years, union wages have gone up for stand-ins on July 1st. As of July 1st, 2013, stand-ins for television and film make $163 for 8 hours on most SAG projects, and $169 for 8 hours on most AFTRA projects. There definitely are exceptions to these base rates (such as when standing in on a commercial, standing in on a CW project, personally negotiating a higher rate, etc.), but these are standard rates as of July 1st, 2013.
As union members, stand-ins also make additional money in overtime hours, meal penalties (when crew does not break for a meal after 6 hours of work), night premiums (when working during particular times), and photo-doubling (when a stand-in is on camera in place of another actor). Given the overtime many stand-ins put in, stand-ins may regularly gross $300/day or more. Of course, some stand-ins regularly work “straight 8s,” meaning they gross only their base rate because of the lack of overtime they work.
While the pay may be attractive, the amount of commitment involved when standing in may make standing in unappealing to the average person. Oftentimes a stand-in must be fully available for a day, with absolutely no outside conflicts. These long hours can impede on family and social life, not to mention health and happiness.
Standing in is not a “day job” in the typical sense; usually, a stand-in cannot leave for an appointment and come back as one might at a typical desk job. This is to say that although the pay may be a consideration for someone looking for work, the sacrifice involved in working as a stand-in may make the job impractical or even wholly undesirable.