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Amy Lyn Elliott

Actor: Background and Stand-in

Where Many Professionals Start Out

“Give the scene life!"

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Jobs in Film

Types of Acting Gigs

Background Actors: Appear alongside actors with lines in scenes where other people would naturally be around. Often scenes take place in crowds, so many productions need people to join set for a day and bring a scene to life.

Stand-in Actors: Stand-ins are selected to look like the lead actor in a scene. They work with the crew to set lights and plan movement, then inform actors about the director's decisions. To the left, Amy Lyn is pictured with Toni Braxton, for whom she served as a stand-in on the film "Faith Under Fire." Photo credit: Amy Lyn Elliott.

Film Actors: Actors with lines on camera typically appear in the credits. Roles are in-demand so competition is fierce. Many successful actors are personable, dedicated, and good networkers, in addition to talent in acting. 

Theatre Actors: Acting on the stage calls for different skills. With a live audience, a need to project vocally, limitations from an on-stage set, and no cameras, making the jump from stage to screen calls for a special skill set.

Becoming an Actor

Making it big as an actor is something only a few in the field accomplish. However there are lots of opportunities for actors, even teenagers, to work in background. But a warning: expect long days, sometimes 12 hours or more, where you might be asked to wait while the crew gets their job done.

Locally in Pittsburgh, considering joining the mailing lists for these reputable firms. They help big movies find background actors, and will give you valuable exposure to a movie set. You'll need your parent or guardian's permission to participate if you're under 18.

Nancy Mosser Casting application

Pittsburgh Film Office casting announcements

Movie Casting PGH website and casting announcements

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Acting is one of the top jobs people want in film. Plenty of opportunities exist to be in front of the camera and background acting gets your foot in the door, but sometimes that on-set experience leads to a career behind-the-scenes. 

Learn more about Film Jobs!

More Jobs in Film!

Casting Associate

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and directors, like film matchmakers,
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play a role.

Make-up Artist

Make-up artists most often enhance the look of an actor or on-screen talent. They manipulate color, light and the interplay with a camera for the best effect.

Production Assistant

Production assistants are the starting point for almost all careers on set,
and provide an invaluable
learning experience!