What is the Difference between a Guest Star, Costar, Series Regular, etc.? As an actor, what are your options when auditioning for roles?

For aspiring actors, the journey to stardom often begins with auditions for a variety of roles in television and film productions. In this blog post, we’ll explore the different types of roles actors can audition for, including guest stars, co-stars, and series regulars, and delve into the options available to actors as they navigate the competitive world of show business.

What is the Difference between a Guest Star, Costar, Series Regular, etc.? As an actor, what are your options when auditioning for roles?

Guest Star:
Prominent role, often in a single episode or multiple episodes, integral to the plot. Co-Star: Smaller role, brief interaction with main characters. Series Regular: Main cast member, central to the show. As an actor, options include targeting roles aligned with experience, preparing for auditions, getting representation, networking, building a portfolio, diversifying skills, and persistently pursuing opportunities.

Acting RolesDescription
Guest StarProminent role, often in one or multiple episodes, central to the episode’s plot.
Co-StarSmaller role, brief interaction with main characters, limited impact on the plot.
Series RegularMain cast member, appears in every episode, integral to the show’s storyline.
Auditioning OptionsDescription
Tailoring AuditionsTargeting roles that align with an actor’s experience and career goals.
Audition PreparationDiligent preparation, script study, character analysis, and line practice.
RepresentationWorking with talent agents or managers for finding auditions and negotiation.
Building a PortfolioCreating a portfolio with headshots, resumes, and reels to showcase talent.
NetworkingAttending industry events, workshops, and casting calls to connect with industry professionals.
PersistenceContinuously auditioning, honing skills, and seeking opportunities.
Diversifying SkillsExpanding acting skills through theater, voice acting, or improvisation.
Self-TapingCreating high-quality self-tapes for remote auditions in the digital age.

The Hierarchy of Acting Roles

In the entertainment industry, acting roles are categorized into several distinct tiers, each with its own level of prominence and significance. Here’s a breakdown of these categories:

1. Extras:

Extras, also known as background actors or background extras, play non-speaking roles in the background of scenes. They contribute to the atmosphere and ambiance of a scene but do not have speaking lines or character development.

2. Bit Players:

Bit players have very small speaking roles with a minimal impact on the story. Their lines are brief and typically involve delivering information or interacting briefly with main characters.

3. Co-Stars:

Co-stars have slightly larger speaking roles than bit players. They often interact with main characters and contribute more significantly to the plot. Co-stars may appear in one or more episodes of a TV series or have a brief but memorable role in a film.

4. Guest Stars:

Guest stars have more substantial roles and are usually featured prominently in an episode or scene. They often play characters integral to the plot and may appear in a single episode or multiple episodes of a TV series.

5. Recurring Guest Stars:

Recurring guest stars are characters who appear in multiple episodes of a TV series but are not part of the main cast. They have recurring storylines and interactions with main characters.

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6. Series Regulars:

Series regulars are the main cast members of a TV series. They are central to the show’s storyline, appear in every episode, and have character arcs that evolve over the course of the series.

Auditioning for Roles: Options and Considerations

As an actor, auditioning for roles is a crucial part of your career. Here are some options and considerations to keep in mind:

1. Tailoring Your Auditions:

Understanding the hierarchy of acting roles allows you to tailor your auditions to roles that align with your experience and career goals. For example, if you’re just starting, co-star or guest star roles may be more realistic targets.

2. Audition Preparation:

Prepare diligently for auditions by studying the script, understanding your character’s motivations, and practicing your lines. Confidence and preparation are key.

3. Representation:

Many actors work with talent agents or managers who help them find audition opportunities and negotiate contracts. Having representation can be beneficial, especially for securing higher-profile roles.

4. Building a Portfolio:

Develop a portfolio that showcases your talent, including a headshot, resume, and reel. This portfolio is essential when submitting for auditions.

5. Networking:

Networking is crucial in the entertainment industry. Attend industry events, workshops, and casting calls to connect with directors, casting directors, and fellow actors.

6. Persistence:

Rejection is common in acting, but persistence is key. Keep auditioning, honing your skills, and seeking opportunities.

7. Diversifying Your Skills:

Consider diversifying your acting skills. Training in theater, voice acting, or improvisation can open up additional opportunities.

8. Self-Taping:

With the rise of digital technology, self-taping auditions has become common. Learn how to create high-quality self-tapes to submit for remote auditions.


What are the different types of acting auditions? Different types of acting auditions include open auditions (open to anyone), closed auditions (by invitation only), self-tape auditions (recorded and submitted remotely), and callback auditions (additional auditions for selected actors).

What is a guest star in acting? A guest star is an actor who plays a prominent role, often in one or multiple episodes of a TV series, and is central to the episode’s plot.

What is the difference between a guest actor and a supporting actor? A guest actor typically appears in a specific episode or limited number of episodes and plays a pivotal role, while a supporting actor is part of the main cast and appears throughout the series.

What are the 4 types of actors? The four types of actors are:

  1. Amateur Actors: Act for personal enjoyment rather than as a profession.
  2. Professional Actors: Pursue acting as a career.
  3. Aspiring Actors: Seeking to become professional actors.
  4. Child Actors: Young performers in the industry.

What are the three types of actors? The three types of actors based on their approach to acting are:

  1. Traditional Actors: Follow established acting techniques and methods.
  2. Method Actors: Employ emotional memory and personal experiences for authenticity.
  3. Meisner Actors: Emphasize reacting truthfully to their scene partner’s actions.
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What are the two types of acting? The two main types of acting are:

  1. Stage Acting: Performing in live theater productions.
  2. Screen Acting: Acting for film, television, or digital media.

What is the difference between a guest star and a regular? A guest star is a temporary role, often for one or a few episodes, while a regular is a permanent part of the main cast, appearing in every episode of a series.

What does a series regular mean? A series regular is an actor who is part of the main cast of a TV series, appearing in every episode and playing a significant role in the show’s storyline.

What is the difference between recurring guest star and series regular? A recurring guest star appears in multiple episodes but is not part of the main cast. A series regular is a permanent member of the main cast and appears in every episode.

Do guest actors get paid? Yes, guest actors receive compensation for their work, which includes a fee for their appearance in the episode, residuals (payments for reruns or streaming), and potential bonuses.

How much do TV guest actors make? The pay for TV guest actors can vary widely, from hundreds to thousands of dollars per episode, depending on factors like experience, popularity, and the production budget.

What is a regular role in acting? A regular role, also known as a series regular, is a significant and consistent part of the main cast in a TV series, appearing in every episode.

What are the 5 parts of acting? The five parts of acting are:

  1. Objective: The character’s goals and motivations.
  2. Obstacle: What prevents the character from achieving their objective.
  3. Tactics: The strategies the character uses to overcome obstacles.
  4. Given Circumstances: The context and background of the scene.
  5. Relationships: How the character interacts with others in the scene.

What are the different types of acting roles in film? Different types of acting roles in film include leads (protagonists), supporting roles (secondary characters), character roles (distinct and unique characters), and extras (background actors).

What are the three main tools of an actor? The three main tools of an actor are:

  1. Body: Physicality, movement, and gestures.
  2. Voice: Speech, tone, and vocal expressions.
  3. Mind: Emotional and psychological aspects, including character analysis and motivation.

Navigating the Journey

The world of acting offers a spectrum of opportunities, from background extras to series regulars. Understanding the hierarchy of roles and the nuances of auditioning can help you navigate the journey to becoming a successful actor.

Remember that persistence, preparation, and a passion for your craft are essential elements of a rewarding acting career. Whether you’re just starting or have years of experience, the entertainment industry welcomes dedicated and talented actors ready to bring characters to life on the screen and stage.

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