In the entertainment industry, you can’t start any project without going through an interview process, usually called an “audition.” Auditions vary from project to project, however, usually has the same format. For example; Commercial auditions are a bit different than movie and TV auditions. The etiquette still stands, which is: show up fifteen to thirty minutes ahead of your scheduled appointment so you have time to sign in, act courteous, be professional & always respect the space you’re in. But in order to get your name and face out there in the world of television commercials, you should obtain a commercial agent. These agents specialize in advertising castings and will help you every step of the way.
It’s a long process however it’s worth it. It all starts when a casting director or your commercial agent lets you know an audition has come up that you fit the criteria for. When describing the character or the person you are going to be auditioning for, they will be vague. They will tell you the basics of what they are looking for like the hair color, eye color, height and maybe a personality trait, but that’s usually it. Don’t let this discourage you or make you nervous; if they contacted you for an audition then your look is in the ballpark of what they are trying to find so make sure you keep that in the back of your mind as you prepare.
When you first get to your commercial interview, make sure you locate the nearest casting assistant and fill out an application, card or whatever piece of paper provided with your name, measurements, special skills & hat size. And remember, the main audition etiquette rule, use your manners and follow all directions from any casting director or assistant.
The casting office will usually give your agent (or you, if they contact you directly) a few describing words about what kind of role your audition is for like, “cool, outgoing, mom.” With this information, you should start determining what to wear to the meeting in order to portray a “cool, outgoing, and mom” or whatever it is that they told you about the role. Asking your agent for advice about this subject is always a great idea but going with what you think is best and makes you feel the most comfortable is okay, too.
The #1 rule when it comes to commercial auditions is to always remember that you are not only acting, but you are selling something as well. Although you are playing what seems to be a “character”, you must come off as natural and relaxed as possible. That way, the viewer believes the advertisement and ultimately becomes a customer and buys the product. You, as an actor are the companies driving forces to sell their product. Try to envision yourself as a virtual salesman or saleswoman. While you’re auditioning, just pretend like you’ve already purchased the item and are talking about it amongst your friends and family. This will help you relax.
One good thing about commercial auditions is that they are a bit looser than auditions for TV shows and movies. During commercials, it’s common for there to be a group of friends or a family in the ad so in order to find out what actors work best together, casting directors will usually place a group of people together at an audition. This will help take a little bit of pressure off you and help you focus more on the audition piece rather than your nerves.
Sometimes you don’t get so lucky. When you are asked to go through with the interview alone, there will be 2 types of performances you will be asked to give. There is what is called the “Salesman performance” and the “Character performance.” The salesman performance is usually for an ad or commercial in which you will be talking to the camera directly, Like a Dad telling the camera how fantastic this new toothpaste works. The character performance is where you would play the role of a subject through the eyes of the camera, like 4 girls going into a department store to try on dresses. When you are a “character performer” you don’t usually look at the camera or notice that it’s even there.
Depending on the type of audition and the project you are interviewing for, you might just be asked to perform both styles. The greatest advice we can give you is to just be yourself either way. Businesses want to hire actors that are great at playing real people because they are hoping for “real people” to buy their product. If you use too much enthusiasm and over act, the commercial will seem unnatural and could throw the viewer off. Since you’ve been chosen for the audition already, that means they already like the look you have, so keep on being you, and hope that your verbal performance at the audition will be the last step to booking the gig.
Image Copyright Jade Castle Productions