By Beverly Welsh
Getting the call for a TV or Film audition can be high speed, overwhelming and a bit confusing. I know how intimidating agents can seem at times that we don’t even want to bother them with “silly questions”. So what ends up happening is…they call with ”OK I have an audition for you today at 4pm, your going to see tata, tata, at tata, tata tata, and it’s only a Day-player…but it’s for a great director.” Geez!!!
When I first started out, I remember thinking…Day-player? What? Day-player?……..what the heck is a Day-player??? Of course I could have said…”Um, excuse me… what is a day-player?” Instead I wanted to sound professional so I’d say ”Ok great!” Does this sound familiar guys?
I’m going to break it down for you so that you never have to pretend you know what your agent is talking about when it comes to roles. This is what I have gathered along the way. I am going to put this in order of top billing.
Series Regular- The main characters on a television show who usually appear in almost every episode of the season. Ex: Jennifer Aniston and Courtney Cox were series regulars on “Friends”.
Guest Star- A character that has a significant part in the storyline of the episode and usually appears in multiple of scenes. Your name will appear in the opening credits. Ex: Reese Witherspoon was a guest star when she played Rachel’s sister on an episode of “Friends”.
Co-star- A supporting role that usually has less dialogue than a guest star and is there to support the main actors. Theyare usually in one scene and help move along the storyline. Your name will appear in the closing credits. Ex: The bellboy who chats with the main actor before he gets into his car.
Recurring- A character that appears in more than one episode, it can be a guest starring role or co starring role. Ex: Tom Selleck, who played Monica’s boyfriend on “Friends” was a recurring guest star. Gunther the guy who worked at the coffee shop on “Friends” was a recurring co-star.
Under 5-This role usually has under 5 lines. At times, these roles can be bumped up to co-star.
Featured- This when the actor does not have lines but is given special focus. Ex: the injured patient in a coma.
Extra- Actor does not have lines and is used in the background.
Lead- The main characters in a film. Ex: Abigail Breslin and Toni Colette in “Little Miss Sunshine”.
Supporting- A significant character in a film who supports the lead actors. Ex: Paul Dano in “Little Miss Sunshine”.
Cameo-Usually a smaller role in a film played by a well known celebrity.
Day-player- A small part in a film that is usually shot in one day. Ex: The waitress who takes the order at the restaurant where Olive, in “Little Miss Sunshine”, is hesitant about ordering the ice cream since it might make her fat.