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The Difference Between Film and Television Credits

As odd as it may seem, film and television credits should be titled differently on an actor’s resume.  Why the difference?  For decades, SAG and AFTRA have credited actors differently.  Even now that they are one union (SAG-AFTRA), the two branches of the union continue to credit actors differently in their contracts.


Series Regular:  The leads of a television series (someone who appears in the main credits and posters/advertising).

Recurring: An actor who appears in multiples episodes.

Guest Star:  An actor who supports an episode.  A guest star will normally perform in multiple scenes and have a character arc in the episode.  Often times, the actor playing a guest star role will appear in the opening credits.  A good example of guest stars are the actors who play the killer in a crime drama.

Co-Star:  An actor who supports a scene or two.  For instance, a grocery store clerk or bank teller who helps a principal actor.  Co-Stars normally have lines, but on occasion a casting director will cast a non-speaking co-star.



Lead:  The main character in a film.

Supporting Lead:  A smaller part then the lead that still plays an intricate part of the story.

Supporting: A character that simply pushes the story forward for the sake of the lead or supporting lead characters.  The equivalent of a television co-star.


Soap Opera

Contract: The series regulars of the soap opera for a particular season or seasons.

Day-Player: The equivalent of a television guest-star.  Perhaps has a larger role in an episode.

Under 5:  Under five lines.  Comparable to a small co-star.

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