Lisa Claire Dickinson : Life in the Background

By Lisa Claire Dickinson

Known professionally as Lisa Claire, long time local, Lisa Claire Dickinson graduated from Winyah High School in Georgetown and graduated from Coastal Carolina University. After moving around the country with her former husband, Lisa moved to Los Angeles in 2012.  At the time, she was caring for her disabled son, Joseph, and needed a job with flexible hours to accommodate his needs. In 2013, Lisa Claire became a background actor.

“I had to go to Central Casting in Burbank, where I stood in line for several hours to register. Registration includes taking your photo, your measurements, checking your identification, etc.,” Lisa remembers.

The fledgling actress was given a profile by Central Casting, determining where she would most likely be placed. “I play a lot of upscale roles, it’s my look.” When she first started, Lisa had to call in, wait on the phone and hope she got through to get a job. “Now it’s all posted on Facebook and Twitter and you submit your profile by phone or email. It’s much more streamlined.”

Background acting is competitive, but as Lisa gained experience and the reputation of being reliable, she secured more and more work. “Sometimes a casting director will call and ask if I’m available when they need to fill a role with my type. Getting a speaking role is like winning the lottery,” Lisa continued. “Your pay goes up exponentially.”

“My first job was playing an upscale partygoer on Two and a Half Men. I was not supposed to talk, or make any noise – we’re told to mime the words, but I was so nervous I whispered. Chuck Lorre, the producer, didn’t know who was whispering, but he yelled at all of us! I was so embarrassed. One of my favorite roles was playing a zombie on Rizolli & Isles, and working on Jersey Boys was amazing – it was incredible just to breathe the same air as Clint Eastwood.”

Her list of appearances is impressive: the series finale of The Office; a half a dozen episodes of Parks and Recreation and more. “My appearance in The Office is one of the few times I’ve gotten to meet the cast. We are told never to approach the talent. If they speak to you, it’s fine, but you can’t ask for a selfie or even say hello.”

“Sometimes the hours are very long – maybe 14-16 hours. But the pay goes up – sometimes to 4 1/2 times the regular rate – so I’ve never minded. And they serve us wonderful food. It’s always called lunch no matter what time it’s served – if we eat at 2 am, it is still lunch,” Lisa said, telling me some of the delicious meals she’s enjoyed while working.

“Generally the people are great – it’s a happy business as long as you do what you’re supposed to do. It’s never boring and almost always fun!”

About this writer

  • Lisa Claire Dickinson

    Lisa Claire Dickinson

    Known professionally as Lisa Claire, long time local, Lisa Claire Dickinson graduated from Winyah High School in Georgetown and graduated from Coastal Carolina University.

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One Response to “Lisa Claire Dickinson : Life in the Background”

  1. Linda O'Connell says:

    Lisa, this sounds like an ideal job. Enjoyed reading about your experiences,

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