How to handle commercial castings

How to handle commercial castings.

Here's a few tips I learnt from a recent discussion with some top commercial casting directors, lets start from the top shall we?

Know your director. Take the information you have been given and do as much research as you can prior to the casting - if you have the production company / commercial directors name, check out their previous productions and familiarise yourself with their style.

If you have been given a script before you arrive at the audition, learn it. It shouldn't take long as commercial scripts are usually fairly short and to the point and will already stand you in better stead than any of the other actors attending who haven't had time to learn theirs.

If you are only given your script upon arrival, first and foremost before anything else, read it and familiarise yourself with the text. Complete your head sheet only AFTER you have read your script - preparation is paramount.

If you remember nothing else of the script, be sure to remember the punch line. Selling the product is the aim of the exercise so make sure you do this convincingly above all else.

Also try to arrive 15 minutes early, this will give you time to compose yourself, and allow you to focus on the job at hand confidently and without feeling rushed, giving yourself the best chance possible.

Remember, commercial castings are a little different in that the characters are often very 1 dimensional, the director will have a preconceived idea of the actors 'look' and that is likely what you will be cast on. Do not concern yourself too much with the characters motivations and back story as you would for an acting job, unless you are given more to the story, think of the roles more as 'stock characters' i.e the loving mother, the grumpy teenager, the runner etc. If you do have questions about the characters and how the director would like the role to be played, keep them specific and to the point.

Dress the part. Directors will want to see their character as soon as you walk in the room and so take this as far as you can, if the role is of a business woman, wear a suit, if you are an air hostess, try wearing a pencil skirt and neck scarf.

If you are a woman, keep your make up minimal, pretty, and as natural as possible. Perhaps wear your hair down during your ident and up for your performance, allowing the directors to see more than one side to your style. Remember no distracting jewellery or clothes. If you are a man, depending on any specific requirements, a little neat stubble is fine, but do mention at the beginning of the casting if you have a beard, whether you are willing to go clean shaven.

If the casting has asked for specific skills, make the most of what you have and show off to the max, impress the directors as much as you can with your confidence. If you are unsure about the level of skill required before attending your casting, call the casting director and check, its always better to be prepared and confident in your skill before entering the room.

When delivering you ident speak directly to the camera, if you are addressed by the casting director, do not feel the need to look at them during this segment, focus firmly on the camera until your 'acting bit' at which point perform as you would during any other audition.

You will often be asked to do 2 takes in your commercial audition, this is to see if / how well you can take direction. If you are not happy with your take or know / feel you can do better, ask if you can have another shot at it, if there isn't time they will simply say no but don't be afraid to ask.

When / if you are asked to show your hands, hold them up to your face, palms facing you initially and wait until you are asked to turn them over at which point open your hands to show the camera your palms, you can also hold them either side of your face at this point to frame your face nicely one more time for the director.

When / if you are asked to show your profile turn and hold you hair up (if it is down) with the hand furthest from the camera to show the camera your neckline, again, wait until you are asked to turn and show your other side, repeating the same motion.

Once you leave your audition forget about it. Recent statistics suggest an actor will actually only be cast once in every twelve commercial auditions they are seen for, some maybe fewer and so don't be disheartened if this one wasn't successful, more importantly remember the director is after a specific 'look' for the brand, acting ability may not be the biggest selling point.

I hope you find these points helpful in your next commercial casting!

Written by: Kirsty-Marie Day - Visit author's website

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