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The Keys To Success

Walking into a studio to audition for a TV commercial – especially if it’s a callback—can be one of the most intimidating experiences an actor can have. But some actors have the ability to overcome their fears, get down to business and succeed. Why? It doesn’t really have much to do with talent, or even acting experience. For one thing, successful commercial actors know that the reality of what happens in the studio is far more important than the fantasy that will happen in the final, produced commercial. But more importantly, they know how to handle themselves because they have a better idea of what to expect. They function better because they know what the ad agency and the director want to see from them.

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Walking into a studio to audition for a TV commercial – especially if it’s a callback—can be one of the most intimidating experiences an actor can have. But some actors have the ability to overcome their fears, get down to business and succeed. Why? It doesn’t really have much to do with talent, or even acting experience. For one thing, successful commercial actors know that the reality of what happens in the studio is far more important than the fantasy that will happen in the final, produced commercial. But more importantly, they know how to handle themselves because they have a better idea of what to expect. They function better because they know what the ad agency and the director want to see from them. And just what is it that we want to see? Aside from being the right persona and type, we want you to demonstrate three basic qualities: Are you unequivocally, believably real? Do you understand the medium of commercials and therefore grasp the nuances of the spot you’re reading for? And last but not least, can we work with you? You don’t have to be a rocket surgeon to make yourself into an actor who increases his or her odds for success. But where do you begin? Start with yourself. Make a very serious evaluation of who you really are. Take acting, audition and improv classes and test your self-evaluation there. The goal is to find out who you really are, so that when you read for a commercial, we’ll see the real you. There’s a common misconception that since commercials are designed to sell, then actors need to be “selly” when they audition. The truth is, the more unequivocally, believably real you are, the better. Next, if you’re willing to take the time (and have some fun) studying commercials like ad agency people do, you’ll have a unique advantage over your competition. Knowing how commercials work will give you the ability to decipher scripts and storyboards. You’ll be able to make better acting choices and avoid traps. Just spending a few minutes looking at a director’s work will give you valuable insight into what he expects of you. You’ll know the right questions to ask. And ultimately, you’ll be able to play in our sandbox with us. And finally, if we sense that you’re an actor who takes this business as seriously as we do, then you’ve gone a long way toward winning our confidence. Actors who know who they are and have done their homework – the real pros – exude an attitude that says “team player.” They’re relaxed and roll with the punches. These are the people we want to work with. If you are really interested in becoming a smarter actor, my book How to Audition for TV Commercials From the Ad Agency Point of View expands on these three focal points, and will give you information you won’t find anywhere else. This web site is also filled with a lot of useful tips, advice, updates, links and news about speaking engagements. You should bookmark it now and visit it frequently. Good luck. And before you walk into the studio for your next audition, remember this: We want every actor to win.