Super short post today! I very randomly had the opportunity to be a stand-in on ABC Family’s Switched At Birth this week and thought I’d share my experience. I say very randomly because I did not apply or submit to do this job at all. Two years ago, a friend and I thought it would be fun to sign up for Central Casting, a casting agency that books a lot of extras for TV shows, since a lot of our friends were doing it including my sister. After signing up, however, I never actually submitted myself for any work because my schedule was already busy enough. Well, they called out of the blue and asked to directly book me as a stand-in. Since I recently left my law office job due to health reasons, I had the day off and decided why not – it wouldn’t be very strenuous work, they would pay me a union rate, and it would be neat to see what a TV set is like.
My call time was originally scheduled for 2:30pm but I received a call around 8:45am saying it had been moved up to 9:30am. With no makeup on, I threw on some clothes and booked it to the studio. Upon arriving, the crew was so nice and thankful to me for rushing over. They sent me to wardrobe which dressed me in a J.Crew trench coat, Steve Madden boots, and a ring. Afterwards, the hair stylist put a wig on me to look more like the character “Bey.” She considered curling my actual hair, but after my bayalage last month, it was too light.
Once I was ready, I met the actress for who I’d be standing in for, Vanessa Marano (super nice and pretty!), and they put me in a trailer and told me to wait until my scene was ready. I had my iPad and a book with me so I was plenty fine with waiting and it was pretty cool having my own little room. I started hearing some commotion outside the trailer and it seemed like some changes were being made. They eventually brought me out and told me I wouldn’t be needed for the scene and to return the clothes but keep the wig on just in case. They reassured me I would still be getting paid for my time and told me to help myself to the craft services table. I was super hungry since I didn’t have breakfast so I helped myself to a sandwich, fruit, donut, and bagel.
My trailer room was needed for an actor coming in so they moved me to a soundstage where the extras were hanging out (above). Eventually, they all left and it was just me…still waiting. I honestly didn’t mind but just felt bad that I wasn’t doing anything. An assistant director or other crew member would periodically check up on me to make sure I was okay which I thought was nice. I was told to go ahead and have lunch and went over to the catering truck. It was Mexican for lunch that day and wow, did they have a lot of food! I sat down at a table and was joined by the episode’s director and an actor who were both super friendly and awesome. A crew member eventually approached me and told me I was good for the day and to go ahead and get my things and officially sign out. It was about 3:30 when I finished.
That’s my first stand-in experience! I didn’t actually get used so you won’t be seeing my back or hand in a shot on TV, but it was an overall neat experience and not a bad way to spend a few hours and make a little extra money. If they randomly gave me another call, I would do it again!