Acting Questions

After You Get an Acting Job on Set

by Niki


I’m a little nervous about after you book the job,let’s say the first day of your movie role, when you go to the studio. Then what? Who’s gonna guide you and help you know what to do? Plz explain!


That’s a good question. Typically, once you book a film or television role, you will get a call for a fitting. Depending on the show, this could be the day before or much longer before your shoot date. When you call back for the fitting, be ready to give your measurements (everything from height, clothing size, hat size, etc.) You may be asked to bring specific clothes, usually a selection, and the wardrobe person will also have a selection for you to try on.

After the fitting, you will get your call time by phone, text or e-mail. You should also get a “call sheet” which has all the contact information and call times of people working on that film or TV show on that day, along with the address and a map of “HOLDING” (where the actors and crew members wait to go on set, eat, etc.) and “LOCATION” (where the shoot actually takes place). Usually, you will go to Holding at your call time and from there walk or take a shuttle to the location.

On the day(s) of your shoot, you the actor go to holding at your call time. There, an AD (assistant director) or PA (production assistant) will take you where you need to go next, most likely makeup/hair and wardrobe. Depending on how big your role is and when your scenes are scheduled to shoot, there may be a lot of waiting involved. You may end up breaking for meals before working at all.

Once you are called on set, you take your mark and do a few rehearsals while the lights and levels get adjusted. If you have a big role, this may get done before you come on set by using another actor called a “stand-in”. You may hear “last looks”, which means the hair and makeup artist will come and powder your nose one last time and check for flyaway hairs, etc. After that, once the director is ready to shoot, you’ll hear “rolling” and “background” (for actors in the background), then “action” (your time to start).

And that’s it! After the first take and you’ve heard “cut”, you’ll most likely hear “reset”, which means there will be a second take. You may get a lot of directions that don’t seem to have much to do with acting, like to look a certain way, or hold an object at a certain angle, or time a response after an action, etc. That’s just how it is with film.

Once you hear “moving on”, you know the director got what they wanted and you can move on to your next scene (or at least the next set up). When it’s all done, it’s a “wrap”. That’s pretty much it!

Knowing in advance how things work definitely helps stay focused on the acting once you do get a part. If you’ve never been on set, it’s not a bad idea to do a few days of extra work just to get used to the process, so you can be more comfortable the day you get a speaking part.

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