ACTING CAREER ON COMMERCIAL TELEVISION AD

by Nisha Gehlot
(Hyderabad)

QUESTION:

I am a post graduate in Retail & Marketing, carrying an experience of 6 month as sales manager. I am very much interested to work on commercial ad on television.
I am not a professional actor or a model but still want a career in commercial ads on television.

How to apply and what should i do?

ANSWER:

Acting in commercials is very different from "legit" acting, yet the process of getting work is similar. First, you need a commercial headshot (usually a smiling shot). You can submit your headshot directly on acting websites that have commercial listings (such as Casting Networks in Los Angeles) for a fee, or preferably find a commercial agent first who will submit you.

Once you get a call, the timeline is much quicker for commercials. You'll get an audition for the next day or within a few days of the call, and if you get a callback, you may have it the next morning or again within a few days. If you're being considered for the job, you will usually be put on "avail" soon after that, to make sure you are available. If you book the commercial, you'll usually find out soon also, as a commercial shoot usually takes place close to the audition. The day before (or a few days before), you would get a "fitting", where you meet with wardrobe to decide what you will wear.

In terms of acting at the audition, you often don't need to prepare anything, as you would for theatre or film/tv roles. Once you get to the audition, the casting director will explain what you will have to do and say if there are any lines. Sometimes, there will be copy ahead of time, but most of the time, you just have to be ready to play out the beats of the commercial in the moment. You'll find that taking an improv class is very helpful for commercial auditions, as well as a commercial class, of course. Better yet, look for commercial workshops given by commercial casting directors. The thing to look for is where in your acting is the moment that sells the product, whether it's a look or a word, you have to find it in your audition. You may find your training in marketing helps...

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