I think you all know how I feel about Hamilton. If not, it’s how you feel about Hamilton, if you’ve had the opportunity to be “in the room where it happens”. Everyone, everyone, everyone loves it. And rightfully so. But what now? Where do all the Hamilton lovers go, besides back to the theatre to see it again and again, inevitably leaving them homeless and penniless? The Kirk Douglas Theatre may have a solution for those suffering Hamilton withdrawls. Ladies and Gentlemen, may I suggest Spamilton, An American Parody! read more
I always like to keep things in perspective when casting. A favorite phrase of mine: We aren’t curing cancer, we are casting a commercial. This is important for me, personally, to keep in mind because things can get stressful quickly in the world of commercials and sometimes it feels like the walls are caving in. As things move quicker and quicker and demands become more insane, actors will be increasingly finding themselves in the position to save the day.
Commercial actors should never miss an opportunity to become a casting director favorite.
The Actor’s Gang is a Los Angeles treasure. The theatre has been around since 1981, specializing in original works and reinterpretations of the classics. They have a Prison Project that is currently in eleven California prisons and they can also be found in a few lucky Los Angeles public schools providing in-school immersion and after school programs. What is not to like? I couldn’t be more serious. The Actor’s Gang deserves your support, every opportunity you get.
I just scrapped my planned subject for this column. Why? Because I was going to address some nuances… some (seemly) silly subtleties of the commercial world. Unfortunately, it’s become clear over the last few casting sessions I’ve had that some bigger issues should take precedence. Knowing the finer nuances of the commercial audition will prove worthless if you are performing (knowingly or not) some giant jerk moves. You may think you know the golden rules of commercials, but I’d urge you to read with refreshed eyes and consider once again if you are causing a small to large crisis in the world of a commercial casting director.
Commercial actors should never… break the golden rules of the commercial audition.
If you are an avid theatre patron in the City of Angels, you’ve likely seen a show or two at the lovely Falcon Theatre (and if not, for shame!) in Burbank. The Falcon has very recently closed its doors after a 20 year run and re-launched as a non profit organization in honor of Garry Marshall, the late founder. The theatre has a new name: The Garry Marshall Theatre, not to mention a new attitude. And it’s a great one.
There are many, many different commercial audition scenarios. Just when you think you’ve experienced them all, I guarantee there will be a new curveball thrown your way. And it’s part of the fun, yes? But there are consistent scenarios that you can expect to encounter on a regular basis and those are the ones you want to know how to handle like a pro. If you are a commercial actor, you will be partnered up and placed into families on a regular basis. There are ample opportunities to shoot yourself in the foot when attending a family or partner audition, and I’m not sure actors always know when they are doing it. So let’s discuss.
Commercial actors should never… sabotage themselves in partner or “family” auditions.
Come on! It’s Hamilton. Musical Theatre geeks across America have either already made the trek to New York, the theatre homeland, and spent their life savings on tickets, or they’ve waited impatiently for it to arrive at the major metropolitan city closest to them. The fine folks in Chicago and San Francisco have had their turn and, well, it’s finally time for Los Angeles. And we are EXCITED.read more
You might be familiar with the idea of “being impeccable with your word”. It comes from Don Miguel Ruiz’s book, The Four Agreements. Or perhaps Robert De Niro’s character in Meet the Parents and the “circle of trust” talk with his future son-in-law played by Ben Stiller may be more familiar to you. Surely one, if not both rings a bell and strikes a chord. Trust, and your impeccable word plays a huge part in your reputation as a commercial actor. You gotta keep your word. Period.
Commercial actors should never break trust.
I’ll admit, I’m a little excited and a little scared. I’m attempting to tackle a topic that doesn’t have a clear answer: How an actor finds commercial representation. I’ve had many actors ask and my answer is always something close to shrugging my shoulders. But that’s a cop out. There are MANY ways an actor can obtain a commercial agent and I know of plenty of them. The painful part of the process is no one can say which one or which ONES will work for you. There are variables that are in your control and out of your control at any given time. In the end, you just need to try things and work at it. But making informed decisions is a good thing, and that’s where I (hopefully) come in with some help.
I’ll be honest, I don’t remember the context of the conversation, but I very clearly remember having it. I was talking with an actor who has been at it for quite some time. He isn’t famous but has been hired plenty of (MANY) times over the years—you know, where lots of actors find themselves, somewhere in that grey, middle area of the success arena. He told me, “When I go to a theatrical audition, I know I can book it. When I go to a commercial audition, I never think I will.”
Commercial actors should never give up on commercials without realizing it.