A commercial audition requires specific skills, so if you want to be a commercial actor, read these audition tips on what commercial casting directors are looking for, what to expect at a commercial casting call and how to use simple techniques to nail commercial auditions.
First of all, keep in mind that commercials have a fast turnaround. Often, you’ll get a call for commercial casting calls the night before or even on the day of the audition. Often, you will not get the “copy” (the lines you will have to say) until you arrive at the audition. This is just the nature of commercials. Everything is faster.
Talking about copy…
Many commercial auditions don’t have copy at all. They just have a plot and the actor is expected to improvise (silently or vocally, depending on the commercial).
Good improvisation skills are very important in order to succeed in commercials.
So sign up for a good improv class if you want to do commercials or pick a commercial class that will teach you how to audition for commercials with and without copy.
And watch this short video where an experienced commercial actor talks about how most commercial castings are about one defining moment.
This is a very useful audition tip, especially when you have no lines to say, because you realize it’s not about the actor who makes up the most funny or original lines, it’s about concentrating on that one moment the casting director is looking for and getting that moment across in your acting.
When you arrive at a commercial casting call, there will usually be a bunch of commercial copies to look at next to the sign in sheet. Sometimes, especially when there are no lines, commercial casting directors will take actors in groups to explain the commercial to them and what they will be expected to do.
Once you enter the audition room, you may be handed a sheet with your name on it to hold up to your chest for the camera. Once the camera rolls, you’ll be asked to look front and then turn each way for profiles. If you weren’t given a sheet, you’ll also have to state your name before you start the audition.
The lines or storyboard of the commercial will usually appear on a big white board inside the audition room so you don’t need to hold any copy in your hand.
Once you finish the audition, the casting director may ask you about your availability for the shooting dates.
What really makes a commercial audition different from other acting auditions is that you are hired to sell a product, not move a story forward or dazzle an audience. The most important thing is not how good an actor you are but how personable you can be.
Here’s a short video that offers a really good tip on how to give commercial casting directors what they are looking for.
Of course, acting skills and professionalism are also important. A casting director, as well as the client who hires them, always prefer to work with the actor they think will deliver what they’re looking for in the fewer takes possible.
Looking for more audition tips? Read our general audition tips section.