The acting business is based on so many variables that you don’t have control over. The good news is there are many things you do have control over. I hesitate to share this list of errors because every item seems so obvious to me, but it’s happened too many times that I would be remiss not to share. Getting these things right can make a difference in being considered a trusted professional and, sometimes even getting or losing an audition.
- Attach a resume to your breakdown. Some people do not have a resume attached to their photo submissions. If there is no resume a casting director knows nothing about you. Casting directors are choosing people who they know something about to fulfill a role, even if it’s just a look. You cannot be considered without a resume. Someone who has a resume will be chosen over someone who does not. read more
I declare this month Law Of Attraction month for you!
As an actor you want to attract the opportunities and the jobs. It’s a feat to become part of the “system”, stay in it and snag the “gold ring”, the bookings. To do this, the most important thing is to attract activity to you, and the rest will come. Fair warning, most results will be indirect and unexpected.
#1. Create and gain momentum. Stay in Motion. Newton’s law that a body in motion stays in motion, applies to your acting life. While you are in motion you can gently steer and change in a particular direction you choose when you feel it is the right time.
A neutral performance or audition is a bad audition. You need to get to the point where you know if your performance is too big or too neutral.
Acting too big and too over-the-top is a legitimate concern, resulting in a performance that is fake and not connected. However, I’m finding that when some people bring their performance to what they think is “real,” what is actually happening is their performance becomes neutral. A performance this is neutral reveals no personality and results in us not knowing who you are. Revealing nothing gives us no chance to like or dislike you. You need to cause us to react to you. You can’t let yourself disappear.
There is a huge trust factor that the commercial business is run on. If talent does not come through on their end of the trust factor, the casting process would end in failure. Here are ten factors of trust casting directors depend on from actors.
You Look Like Your Photo
If we (casting directors) do not have a reel of yours to look at, we only depend on your photo. A physical look in commercials is very important because the entire message is a “quick read”. It is devastating and maddening when you come in for your appointment and look different than your photo. Some ways you can look different are looking much younger or older, or your hair is a different style or color. Perhaps your photographer made you look prettier/more handsome or not as pretty/handsome as you really are. If you are a professional, you will want your photo to look like you, not different. Looking different than your photo has caused a casting director to give an appointment to someone who is not right for the part.
You’ve done all the things you can to have command and control over your career. You are a solid actor, you have a well-developed resume, you are comfortable auditioning and you know how to be in a room. (see blog What Hamilton and Commercials Have In Common). Even after doing all you can do to take control, there is one element you have no control over that can work for or against you. That is the element of luck.
After you do everything to create your own luck, let’s look at where this mystical area comes into play. Bringing these areas to light can eliminate the stress of fighting against something you really have no control over.
Know who you are, encompass the character you want to play, and target the shows that have your type of character.
All the hard work you put into being a good commercial actor can help you transition into a career in television.
Here are six elements from your commercial career that can help you make the transition to television acting.
1. A Commercial Spot Running
If you have a good commercial spot running, you have a body of work that may be recognized. Theatrical casting directors watch commercials and frequently search for someone they have seen in a commercial who they feel will be good for a TV role they are casting. I can tell you first hand as a casting director, I have had many television casting director friends ask me who is in such-and-such commercial.
For many years I went to improv shows to be entertained, laugh, and discover the work of clever, quick-thinking actors. I have always said, improv is important—it loosens you up, gets you ready to think fast on your feet, and strips away the self-censorship that blocks creativity.
There is More to Improv Than Being Funny
Improv is important to the art of acting itself. Improv enables you to open up the door to your creative power and is a conduit to better dramatic acting.
What do Hamilton and commercials have in common?
“The Room Where It Happens.” Everyone wants to be in the room where it happens, and in the acting world, it’s the call back room—the room with the producers.
[BURR AND COMPANY]
The room where it happened
The room where it happened
The room where it happened
No one really knows how the
Parties get to yesssss
The pieces that are sacrificed in
Ev’ry game of chesssss
For every part you audition for, you have to make choices to give personality to the character. It is a known fact that you can’t be “neutral” and give a good audition.
There are all kinds of conundrums associated with what choice to make. “Am I being too big, too small, too this or too that?” Bottom line is you have to make an intelligent choice in the venue you are working on, based on all your education and training. In commercials, there are many hints you can find in the copy regarding each character. In my Acting in Commercials workshops, I particularly teach how to apply backstories to your discoveries. Some information comes from the copy itself revealing the attitude of the character and relationships, some of which are obvious and some are not.
The big trap is the spokesperson copy.
Actors at work, focusing on what really matters
THE MOST POWERFUL WEAPON YOU HAVE GOING FOR YOU
When I am a guest at an informational event for actors, the questions are inevitably geared towards all kinds of do’s-and-don’t’s regarding how talent can ultimately get auditions, excel in their career, and be likable to casting directors—some of which include the questions listed below.
Popular Questions and Do’s and Don’t’s
What makes up a good, professional headshot?
What does a casting director look for on a resume?
What makes up a good reel?
Don’t be late for your audition.
Let casting know if you are not showing up.
Don’t wear cologne or perfume.
Read the instructions.