Standby Painter

Keep film backdrops and sets ready for their close up.

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$22,000 – $58,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Standby Painters do?

Movies and television shows have the impressive ability to always make everything look perfectly shiny and new (unless they shouldn’t, in which case everything is perfectly dirty). Faces of Actors, walls of houses, and even outdoor spaces look like they just got a fresh coat of paint. And usually, that’s because they did get a fresh coat of paint, thanks to a Standby Painter (well, except for the Actors’ faces, which should be credited to a Makeup Artist).

As a Standby Painter, you do pretty much exactly what your title says: You stand by to quickly paint anything that needs a touch-up. To do that, you hang out on set, and before each shot is filmed, you check in with the Cameraman to make sure they’re getting a clean, good-looking shot. You repaint something if it looks dingy or off-color, or if it reflects light in a way that creates a glare for the camera.

Though occasionally, the work you do entails nothing more than slapping a quick coat of paint on a wall, you should also be prepared to do jobs that require more skill. This can include stenciling pictures on a wall or creating the look of marble with nothing more than paint.

Standby Painters also take on more random responsibilities. For example, it’s your job to fog up windows when a scene gets hot and steamy — a task you accomplish with specific products rather than a lot of breath. You also serve as an assistant to the Cameraman, helping straighten tilted signs or pictures on set walls.

Should I be a Standby Painter?

You should have a certificate degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Levelheaded: You hold your emotions in check, even in tough situations.
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.
  • Leader: You're good at taking charge, giving directions, and inspiring other people.

  • Also known as: Apprentice, Painter, Statuary, Painter and Decorator, Silo Painter, Stippler, Structural Steel Painter

    How to become a Standby Painter

    Standby Painters often have a Certificate or higher. Chart?chd=s:9dpaap&chl=no+college+%2864%25%29|certificate+%284%25%29|associate%27s+%2816%25%29|||doctorate+%2816%25%29&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,64,64
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