Learn the Lingo: Essential Casting Terms Explained

Posted by Rebecca - 21 Sep 2021
Our handy terminology glossary makes understanding Casting terminology a breeze

There’s a lot of words that are thrown around in the world of casting, from ‘pencilled’ to ‘featured’, ‘AV’ to ‘stand in’, it can all bit a little confusing if you’re new to the industry. But now you no longer have to worry about feeling a little lost with all this lingo, thanks to our handy terminology glossary to help you when beginning your Supporting Artist journey.

Casting Language Made Clear!

There’s a lot of terminology thrown your way when you’re a Supporting Artist, so it’s easy to feel a little overwhelmed if you’re new to Extras’ work. If you’re a little unsure about some of the terms you hear, then this is the blog post for you. We’ve broken down some of the most commonly used terminology that you may come across in this line of work to help you adjust to this exciting new venture

It’s also important to remember that if you are completely new to being a Supporting Artist are in need of a little helping hand, Uni-versal Extras are here to help you. We have a tone of valuable resources all over our website, from our Welcome Pack to blog posts detailing our casting process. And remember, if you’re still unsure, feel free to just ask! Both our Casting and Artist Support teams are on hand to answer any questions you may have, just give us a call on 0345 345 0090 344.

So, without further ado, let’s jump straight into some casting lingo!

Availability Check:

Sometimes referred to as an AV, an availability check is simply when we contact you to check your availability for a role. If you are available and you meet the remaining criteria, you may be pencilled or even booked in for the role.

Non-performance dates: 

These are dates required for a role that do not involve filming. Non-performance dates could involve costume fittings or Covid-19 tests.


Being booked for a role means that you have been confirmed by production and will be required to attend all filming and non-performance dates.


You are essentially on ‘hold’ for the role meaning that you are not yet booked in, pending a final decision from production, but you are required to keep all of the filming and non-performance dates available.


You are no longer required for filming and are under no obligation to keep the discussed dates free. Please note that this is a decision made by production.

Call Details:

A text that is sent out to booked extras outlining the details for their filming date(s). This will include location information, parking information, and the time you will be required on set. At the very latest, this text will be sent out by 7pm the night before each day you’re out. If you’re due out the next day and haven’t received your call details by 7pm, please give us a call as soon as possible.

Featured Role:

When you’re hired for a role that could involve dialogue, reaction to cast members or even having your own named character.

Walk on Role: 

This is the same as a featured role, however walk on roles tend to be mainly for TV productions.

Stand In Role:

When you are hired to step in for a main actor to help set up a scene off camera.

Double Role:

When you are hired to fill in for a main actor in scenes where your face will not be shown.


For some roles, production may require you to record and send over a self-tape. This is where you will be given a brief and asked to record yourself in line with that brief. For example maybe you will be required to read a line or react to a certain action. This is usually only required for featured roles.

Jobs Board:

The Jobs Board is a platform on our website that allows activated members to apply for suitable roles in their area. For more information, check out our Jobs Board FAQ’s!

Right to Work:

In order for UVE to put you forward for work, we will require you to upload your Right to Work documents to your My Documents section on your UVE profile. For UK and Irish citizens, this can be in the form of a UK passport. For more information regarding acceptable Right to Work documents, including documents for non-UK citizens, please read our previous blog post.

Reference Word:

When we contact you regarding a role, you will be given a random reference word. This is so if you need to contact us regarding the role, you can simply use this reference and you will be put through to the correct member of the Casting Team. All reference words can be found within your text messages or it will be given to your verbally over the phone.


Basic Disclosure Certificates (DBS) are sometimes required when working on set alongside under 18’s. However, this information will be disclosed to you before filming. For more information regarding DBS certificates, you can read our blog post.

Full Body Photo:

All UVE profiles, whether they’re activated or not, require a full body photo. This is a photo of yourself from head to toe in front of a plain background. Check out our ultimate photo guide for more information.

Head and Shoulders Photo:

All UVE profiles also require a head and shoulders photo. Again, this needs to be taken in front of a plain background and needs to show yourself from your shoulders up. If you need further assistance with your photos, please refer to our ultimate photo guide above.

Pay Rate:

The amount you will be paid for a filming day. Details of this will be disclosed to you beforehand. Most film and TV productions follow industry rate schemes such as FAA or PACT, however this can vary depending on the advert. For more information about the different types of pay rates, please visit our webpage.