List: Different Types of Acting Roles

Nollywood is growing and positively evolving. Every day more people are becoming interested in the film industry. If you are upcoming actor/filmmaker, you must have heard these terms before. 

There are different kinds of acting roles in film. According to centralcasting, here are the types of TV acting roles you should know; 

Background Actor

Background Actors, also known as extras, atmosphere, or background talent are performers who appear in a non-speaking role, often in the background of scenes. They help TV shows look and feel more authentic.

In Nollywood audience lingo, they are called ‘waka pass’. 

Series Regular

For TV series, a series regular is part of the main cast and is contracted to work on a show for a period of time, often for multiple years even if the show has not been picked up for that many seasons.

For example, the character, Adaku is a series regular in Funke Akindele-Bello’s Jenifa’s Diary.

Actors may be credited as series regulars even if they don’t work on every episode. The opposite is also true. Even if an actor appears in most episodes of a season or if they are part of the main storyline, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are series regulars.

Lead/Main Character

This term is used mainly in movie production. This is equivalent to a series regular as they are the main character that anchors the story.

For example, Nnamdi Okeke is the lead character of Living in Bondage (Breaking Free).


Also used for movie projects, supporting characters are all secondary characters to the main characters. However, supporting roles different in weight and importance. The best friend of the lead is a supporting character so is the housekeeper. Although, the best friend role may be more integral to the story and would have more lines than the housekeeper. 


A term more prominent with TV series productions, recurring actors appear in multiple episodes, either over the course of a season or the entire series. Sometimes these actors are under contract for a specified amount of time or are brought on as the story demands.

On Tinsel, Linda Ejiofor’s character, Bimpe is an example of a recurring character. 

Guest Star

Guest stars are actors who appear in one episode (sometimes more) whose characters are often in multiple scenes and play a significant role in the story. If the role is particularly meaningful, a show may cast a well-known actor as a guest star.

Co-star/Day Player

Co-stars and day players play characters with a limited number of lines allowed and are typically only in one or two scenes. The term co-star is used more often when describing the screen credit while day player is more commonly heard when referring to the type of contract or role.

Some examples of day players are a receptionist at a Spa which is a location in the story, or a customer asking for help, or a bartender giving advice to a cast member at his favorite bar.

Sometimes actors will refer to each other as “co-stars.” In this context, they mean “co-worker” instead of a day player who appears on a show.


A cameo is when a well-known actor or celebrity briefly appears in a scene. Depending on the reason for the appearance, the actor may or may not have a line. Cameos are used for many reasons, from creating a fun moment to honoring creators like Stan Lee in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.


A stand-in for film and television is a person who substitutes for the actor before filming, for technical purposes such as lighting and camera setup.. They ‘stand in’ place of the actor to help the technical crew finalize their settings and movement.

Stand-ins are distinguished from body doubles, who replace actors on camera from behind, in makeup, or during dangerous stunts. Stand-ins do not appear on camera. 

Most big movie stars have their personal stand-ins that follow them to every filming set.

Body Double

Body Doubles fall under the category of stand-ins. A stand-in is used in the place of an actor in nude scenes or in scenes considered too dangerous for the actor. They are also used when the actor is required to play a part  they are not particularly skilled in.

For example, sword fighting, ballet or playing a complex musical instrument. 

Did you know all these about film acting roles before? If you didn’t, now you know!


  • Feature Photo by Sam McGhee on Unsplash
  • This article is inspired by an article on

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