While searching for open casting calls, you may have come across ads stating, You have a face for film! Models, actors, extras needed for production immediately! All shapes, sizes and ages. No experience needed! If you are an actor or actress trying to figure a way to get your foot in the door and get your feet wet in the industry, this may be a very appealing option. Commercial work can be an avenue to explore that can potentially get you bigger roles, get you noticed, or just give you some camera time, experience and a little cash in your pocket. So you may begin to wonder how to be in a commercial and what to do, once you get there.
There are some things you should have done before even looking for a commercial role. This article will give you some tips as to where to look for those auditions, how to prepare, and what to expect. Let us help you learn how to be in a commercial.
How to be in a Commercial: 8 Tips That Might Just Get You There
1. Head shots
A head shot is a full color, professional (usually 8×10) taken by a photographer. I want to stress the word, professional. These head shots are similar to having a business card if you are an actor. It is a marketing tool and you will need one when thinking about how to be in a commercial. Do not take shortcuts to save a few dollars. This is you calling card and you want it to look as good as possible to stand out to the casting director when learning how to be in a commercial. You do not want it to stand out because it looks bad. A good head shot will typically run you $400-$1,200.
As far as the look you want to portray in your head shot, go for natural. Natural lighting will give you a more on camera look. Also stay away from the glamour shots look. You want to look like you. It is not about looking pretty, it is about representing yourself and your type. There are many nuances that need to be considered in your picture. Among them there are lighting, focal point, and capturing your eyes and personality. You also need a good professional photographer will know how to pull all those things together to create the perfect shot.
2. Prepare Your Resume
If you are trying to figure out how to be in a commercial, a good item to have prepared before auditioning is your resume. Just as with any other job it can give a casting director an idea of how much experience you have and thus, what they can expect from you. Even if you do not have experience, a resume can still clearly show all of your contact information.
If you have a website or any references that can be reviewed, list them. Make it simple to read and clean looking. Casting directors see tons of resumes and they may not take the time to peruse yours if it is overly complicated and they cannot skim through it quickly.
3. Get an Agent
Having an agent to represent you in any avenue of acting can be a terrific way to get ahead of the crowd. They already know how to be in a commercial, as well as other forms of film and can help you streamline your efforts. Many companies will hold open casting calls when they are looking for actors for a commercial. Also, many will show up to an audition without an agent. However, an agent, especially one that specializes in commercial work can really get you an edge. If the commercial does not work out, they can quickly get you to your next one.
Having an agent does not make your job effortless. You still need to do your best. This is especially now because you are representing yourself and your agent. Being professional and looking professional can create a great professional bond that works well and gets you into gigs while you learn how to be in a commercial.
4. Get to Casting Calls
Whether or not you can afford and attain an agent, you should still get yourself out there. Attending casting calls will help get you comfortable in the process. You will gain fist-hand knowledge of what to expect during a casting call.
The more comfortable you get, the more natural you look. Have your head shot and resume ready and get yourself comfortable presenting them to the casting director or other appropriate individual.
5. Get Some Instruction
Many people think that just because they are learning how to be a commercial actor and not a big screen actor, they do not need to put in any class time. However, it is a good idea to get some professional acting instruction under your belt.
Even if you just get some improvisation techniques down, some acting instruction can do a world of benefit. This goes especially if you are looking to advance beyond a stand in role in a commercial.
When learning how to be a commercial actor you will soon realize it is just like any other job. There will be competition, and probably more-so than your regular run of the mill job. Thus, be prepared for rejection. You will have to realize that it is nothing personal when you do not get the gig. The casting director may be looking for a very specific type and you may not fit that role. You should not let that discourage you.
Look at rejection in a positive light. You did get some good experience and maybe it will help you look for more appropriate auditions. Also, if any construction criticism is received regarding your performance, resume, or even head shot- take it seriously and use it to improve instead of taking it personally.
7. Create a Network of Support
You are not in this alone. There are others who are figuring out how to be in a commercial. These other actors can help start your network. You can assist each other in finding other gigs or help each other practice for one that is coming up. If you see an audition that you are not much of a fit, but someone in your network is, you can give them a head up on the role. Also, if they score a role, they may be able to suggest you for another role within their gig.
Maybe they have already auditioned for a role and they have suggestions and insight as to how you can do better when you go up for your audition. Or you can return the favor and give them suggestions and insight from a role you already auditioned for that they are getting ready to try out for. Having an extensive group of people including other actors and actresses, casting directors, agents, crew members etc. in your network can be invaluable.
8. Get Your Name Out There
If casting directors do not know you exists, how can they hire you? Get yourself to local advertising agencies. Introduce yourself and drop off resumes and head shots. Mail them out to audition searches. Email them to casting directors, especially ones you have worked with previously. You can even exchange sets of resumes and head shots with other actors in your network so that when a fitting role comes up. Moreover, you can suggest them or they could suggest you. What a great way to get your information into the hands of casting directors without even being there.
Find local agencies that produce commercials for television and radio too. Besides just your resume and headshots, you can also include a demo tape. Use the demo to show how versatile you can be. Give examples of representing different products, services, and calls to action using appropriate expressiveness in your voice depending on the product. Taking this step may even open doors to voice over acting gigs for radio station commercials or even television commercial voice overs.
How to be a Commercial Actor Conclusion
Becoming a successful actor at any capacity can be difficult. This is especially if you do not know where to begin or how to portray yourself. Getting some acting instruction can fine tune your skills and make you more comfortable acting in front of others. Representing yourself professionally with good head shots a clear resume and even a demo to show your ability to adhere to different types of needs, can really help you show yourself in the best light. Begin putting together a good support system early by networking with others to really gain an edge in the industry. Commercial acting can be a great way to get your foot in the door and get you to bigger and better things. So treat it like it is your path to greatness.
What did you do to break into commercial acting roles? Do you have other suggestions for actors learning how to be in a commercial? Please leave any tips and tricks below to help other potential actors getting ready for auditions.
The images are from depositphotos.com.