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. Where SAG-AFTRA covers the work of background actors, it typically also covers stand-ins.  These stand-ins are entitled to wages determined by union contracts negotiated with producers.

For TV/film stand-ins, contracts vary depending on the production. With these contracts come different rates for stand-ins.

Current Rates as of July 1, 2021

In recent years, union wages have annually increased for TV/film stand-ins on July 1st.

As of July 1st, 2021, stand-ins on films and many television shows working under a SAG-AFTRA contract (specifically, under Schedule X, Parts I and II), make $214 for 8 hours. Stand-ins on other television shows under a Legacy AFTRA contract (aka “Exhibit A”) make $220 for 8 hours. SAG-AFTRA may permit productions known as “New Media” to hire stand-ins at lower rates than these.

The productions listings on the SAG-AFTRA website list the contract a particular production is working under (though the information can be needlessly vague). Production listings can be found on specific SAG-AFTRA Local pages under “Career Resources” (where available and when you are logged in). For example, you can find the New York-area production listings by clicking on “Production Listings” on this page. (Because of the coronavirus pandemic and less SAG-AFTRA staff, production listings are incomplete.)

The SAG-AFTRA website also includes wage tables for films and for television in the “Contracts & Industry Resources” section. These wage tables show the rates stand-ins make under various contracts. You do not have to log into the website to view the wage tables.

Stand-ins on commercials, stand-ins on promos, et al., work under much different contracts, so they work at different rates not covered in this article. (For stand-in pay on commercials from April 1, 2019, to March 31, 2022, click here.)

Also, individual projects may negotiate non-standard contracts with the union, so stand-ins on those projects may make non-standard rates as well.

Additional Compensation

As union members, stand-ins can also make additional money in various ways. Some of these methods may include:

  • working overtime
  • earning meal penalties (when crew does not break for a meal after 6 hours of work)
  • working at night (when working during premium time periods)
  • when also photo-doubling (when a stand-in is on camera in place of another actor)

Given the overtime many stand-ins put in, TV/film stand-ins may regularly gross $300-$400/day or more. Of course, some stand-ins regularly work “straight 8s,” meaning they gross only their base rate because they work no overtime hours. After taxes, their paychecks may be as low as $140 for 8 hours or less of work.

Time Commitment

While the pay may be attractive, the amount of commitment involved when standing in may make standing in unappealing to the average person.

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.

Oftentimes, a stand-in must be fully available for a full day, several weeks, or even several months — with absolutely no outside conflicts (at least in theory if not in practice). It is not uncommon for stand-ins to work 12-14 hours in a day — or longer — for five days a week — and sometimes for more days than that. These long hours can infringe upon family and social life, not to mention health and happiness.

This is to say that for someone looking for work, although the pay may be an attraction, the sacrifice involved in working as a stand-in may make the job impractical or even wholly undesirable.

Have questions about the pay rates of stand-ins? Post your questions below! (Note: To get the best answers for stand-in pay rate questions, ask SAG-AFTRA directly.)