Although not all stand-ins in TV and film are actors, many stand-ins, in fact, are actors.

So, in being actors, many working stand-ins have the hope — whether apparently or implicitly — of landing an “upgrade” on their production.

In most cases, an upgrade would be a speaking role. With a speaking role, not only does there usually come a distinct character, lines, and a credit, but also a dramatic increase in pay for the day, potential residuals, and also marketing opportunities for future work.

However, if you stand in regularly on a production, it may seem next to impossible to audition for the production you’re on — simply because most of your day is spent on the production.

How to cope? Let’s consider.

Networking vs. Hoping

Some actors will tough it out and somehow network with people on the production or network with casting directors off the production in order to ensure their interest in working as an actor (… on the production …) is clear.

Others will simply hold out hope a courtesy will eventually be extended to audition or otherwise land a role on the production, in fair consideration of all the dedication to the job demonstrated by standing in.

While hoping probably doesn’t necessarily lead to anything, networking can help or even hurt upgrade prospects depending on how it’s done.

So, should a stand-in network or not network? That just depends on you and your interests.


Some stand-ins (in our opinion, wrongfully) expect long-term stand-in work should lead to production giving them a role.

In general, we do not advise viewing standing in in this way, because it will tend not to lead to those kinds of upgrade opportunities, meaning a stand-in may become spiteful on a job if not served a principal role eventually.

If only principal work is what a stand-in wants to do, we advise not doing stand-in work, or when standing in, respect the stand-in work while also aspiring for principal work.

Handling a Sudden Audition Request

But if you are offered an opportunity to audition for a role on the production for which you stand in, how do you go about handling that? You might be suddenly faced with filming an audition or going to a casting office when you are certifiably on set all day.

Scrappiness may be your guiding characteristic here. If you are presented with an opportunity to audition, and if that audition is due within just a day, figure out the soonest you can do it. Then, ask yourself: Is there a way you can do it sooner?

For example, more than likely, if you are asked to film an audition by the next morning and you are stuck on set all day, you will be filming that evening after you’re wrapped. This will give you time not only to prepare your audition scene(s), but also to scramble together in your mind the necessary equipment and personnel (like a reader) to film your audition.

But asking yourself if there’s a way you can do your audition sooner may be your ticket to a better chance at casting.

For example, you might ask the casting director if they may do a Zoom audition with you during your predicted lunchtime, or during a predicted break. If the casting director is agreeable, you may find you’re setting up your smartphone somewhere to bust out your audition while at work rather than after dragging out all of your equipment at night, tired after a long day on set.

Production may be amenable to providing you with a space like an empty dressing room or a PA to briefly help you film your audition. Simply ask an appropriate AD or a PA with whom you have a friendly relationship and see what magic s/he can pull off for you. If you have a good relationship with production, it is likely crew who learn you have an audition for this production will be excited for you and happy to help pull some strings to get your audition filmed.

If You Can Audition Anytime, Come to Work Prepared for That Prospect

Given the prospect of an audition, it becomes important as a stand-in to attend to your appearance insofar as your appearance matters in your auditions.

When you are standing in, if you can, make sure to dress in ways that might also work for an audition, so that you can pull together your preferred image at the drop of a hat.

With that said, perhaps your relationship with someone in the wardrobe department can help you pull something professional together in case you are standing in that day in something less than flattering of your appearance. (Again, scrappiness is key here.)

Casting might grant you concessions about your appearance if they know that production knows who you are. For instance, because it might be hard to shoot a full-length body shot from a smartphone camera, casting might not need one as they might for another auditionee because they know production knows who you are and what you look like.

Whom Do You Tell?

When faced with an audition, it might be worthwhile to consider whether you share that information with other people on the production or with other actors or stand-ins.

Sharing information such as auditions on a production may create envy or jealousy in other stand-ins, so having that information out there may cause problems with other stand-ins or in the social dynamic. With that said, a mature set of stand-ins more likely will be supportive of such an opportunity, and your getting an audition may be a sign they may also be presented with such an opportunity. (It may even prompt them to get on with pursuing a role on the production if they’ve been lazy or demotivated!)

But given that an audition may lead not to a job, not sharing about getting an audition for the production will spare some of the humiliation if not landing what might feel like a “sure thing” upgrade. Alternately, if you do land the job, it may be fun to reveal the surprise of your upgrade on the day it happens.

No doubt you will feel excited if you land an audition for the production on which you stand in, and you might be inclined to share. But take a moment to consider not sharing until you think through what doing so might mean.

After the Audition

After the audition, for sanity’s sake, continue to do your job as a stand-in well and generally put the audition out of mind.

You won’t necessarily know the result of your audition that day, the next day, or even soon. The script may change, the character dropped, or some other event may happen such that your audition will no longer apply.

With that said, your audition may serve you for a future opportunity — you never know! Keeping your stand-in work professional will help instill production confidence in your commitment to the production, and even potentiate future audition or upgrade opportunities if this audition doesn’t work out.


All in all, when standing in, be prepared for an upgrade by generally behaving professionally on set, making generally known you’re an actor, and caring about your appearance should you suddenly land an audition on the same day as stand-in work. Then, figure out when you can do the audition, and then ask yourself if you can do it sooner. Doing so will help you know when you absolutely can do that audition, but also help you use your “wakeful time” to turn the audition in before the casting director’s end-of-day.

How have you handled auditions on the same day you were working as a stand-in? Share your anecdotes in the comments below!