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Some of us have made the six o’clock news at least once in our lives. Some of us live where people are shooting ads and got to walk around on camera. The thing is that we aren’t professionals, so acting in commercials isn’t in our comfort zone.

What if someone was shooting an ad in your neighborhood, and you wanted a part in the ad? Should you just walk on the set and ask for an audition? Do you simply step into character and hope you don’t get tossed off the set? This tutorial will show you how to get into commercials on TV.

What Is A TV Commercial And The Possible Roles Involved?

A TV commercial, also known as an ad, an advert, or a commercial ad or advert, is programming paid for by a company to engage the buying public in its product or service. The ads last anywhere from ten seconds to a full minute. Longer ads of the 30 minute or more variety are called infomercials.

Of course, like cars, shoes, vegetables, and dozens of things, there are types of TV commercial:

The comparison

In this TV commercial, the brand shows the buying public what’s so special or unique about his product as opposed to the other guys.

The need

The most popular ad is showing you why you need this product. This is usually done using exaggeration (the Olympic runner wearing Brand X shoes doing double-time toward the finish line like a cartoon character.)

Testimonials

Everyone has seen actors tell us how great this product works and how it changed their lives. Sometimes it’s a celebrity that testifies to the product’s benefits

Demo

If you’ve ever seen a Swiffer or a vacuum commercial, then you’ve seen a demo-type TV ad.

Characters

You see it all the time, the cute baby or the darling puppy. They knock over a box of the product, crawl on it, or otherwise let you know you need this product because the baby and the puppy like it.

That’s the definition of a TV commercial and its different types. However, you want to know how to be in a commercial on TV. You’re planning to learn how to be a commercial actor, so you’ll need to know two things: how to audition for a TV commercial, and you should know something about agents for TV commercials.

What Roles Are Involved In TV Commercials?

What Roles Are Involved In TV Commercials cartoon of a person with a megaphone how to be a commercial actor

Because television is a visual medium, it stands to reason that people would exchange viewpoints or dialogue. In the video portion of an ad, the actor will make a statement of confidence in a product or service. He will make an emotional appeal to the consumer to do what he did and buy the product or service.

The ad could use several actors in a friend-on-friend scene, in a party or family reunion scene, or in a formal setting like a wedding, board meeting, or a celebration in a restaurant.

Some roles will be for a single actor in an ad. Other roles will be supporting characters to the main character in the advert. If the commercial is animated, your voice will be used for one of the characters.

What Is It Like Working On A TV Commercial Set?

Reading about a TV commercial shooting day might help you decide if you care about how to get into commercials on TV. If you’ve been drooling over how to get in a commercial on TV, then keep reading.

You’ll be up about 5:00 to 6:00 in the morning for a shoot beginning at 7:30. You’ll hit the catering truck for breakfast and talk with the cast and crew while you eat. When everything is set up, and by this we mean your hair and makeup is done, your wardrobe is spot on, and the lighting and sound guys have got you squared away, then you’ll begin your day.

Let’s say you’re filming in the living room of a multi-million dollar mansion in the California hills. The sound and lighting might change depending on the environment surrounding the house: the darkness of an unexpected storm, noisier than ordinary traffic, a neighbor’s dog won’t stop yowling, and you get the idea. That means dozens of takes. So when those takes are done, when it’s perfect in the director’s and producer’s eyes, and the film is at last in the can, then you can go home and gratefully fall into bed.

How Do You Get A Role In A TV Commercial?

How Do You Get A Role In A TV Commercial how to get in a commercial on TV

Now you’ve read all about it and decided you’ve just got to know how to be in a commercial on TV. You know that actors have agents for TV commercials. You are also aware that these agents will help you learn how to be a commercial actor by learning how to do a commercial audition.

Agents tell their actors the who, what, when, where, and how of TV commercial casting. Some will even tell you for which jobs you should know how to audition for commercials without an agent. An agent’s job is to know how to get into commercials on TV for their clients. It’s their job to know what’s available and for what you would be the perfect fit.

How A TV Commercial Is Cast

That’s how to get in a commercial on TV with an agent’s expertise behind you. On the other hand, what does TV commercial casting look like from the casting company’s point of view?

Hone Your Acting Skills

Hone Your Acting Skills emojis how to get into commercials on TV

Work with your local drama association or neighborhood theater group. Casting directors want to see a resume or curriculum vitae detailing your work and education. Be sure to add a professionally taken headshot attached to your curriculum vitae. It would be a good idea to videotape your performances. Video is a great addition to any resume.

Demo

Demo cartoon of a person coming out of a computer how to get into commercials on TV

Make a demo of your best performance. Send it to casting directors as well as to agents (if you don’t have one.)

Attend Events

The more people who know your face, the more chance you have of acing how to get into commercials on TV. There will be cattle calls, screenings, and other industry events. Be there. Shake as many hands as you can, pass out your card, and let them see how wonderful you are.

Patience

You won’t have the perfect “look” for everything. It may take months or even years before you land your first TV commercial. Be patient, and don’t give up!

What Is The Casting Process Like?

By the time you get to a casting call, a brand has approached a casting company. They will have offered a presentation of the product or service. The casting company will have accepted the assignment. The two of them will have come up with a script and background for a thirty-second TV commercial.

Here’s where you enter the picture since learning how to get into commercials on TV. You’ll scan the film industry advertisements for open auditions. Your agent will include your resume, demo reel, and headshot in his submission. The casting director chooses the submissions whose education and experience best fit the “look” and the subject matter.

The Main Audition

This is where you need to bring your A-game. You might only have one or two minutes to state your name and something about yourself. Your clothes, hair, and makeup have to fit the “look” for which the casting director is searching.

You’ll have a paper with your lines on it. It might only be a few seconds, but you’ll have to be in character, with the right “voice,” and movements. Remember, you only have a few seconds to make the best impression you can.

The Callback

The Callback cartoon of a person with their hand lifted how to be in a commercial on TV

Congratulations! You’ve been chosen to come back for another step in the casting process. This step films a short scene, sometimes with you reading the lines to someone off-camera. You’ll look your best, be in character, and deliver your lines the best you can. Don’t worry that it’s a brief appearance. The casting director has a lot to do that day, so just do it and go home.

Now the auditions and callbacks go to the team consisting of the casting director and the ad agency’s creative team. When you get a phone call, you’ll know you were chosen to act in the TV ad.

Tips For Auditioning For A TV Commercial Role

Tips For Auditioning For A TV Commercial Role how to be in a commercial on TV

Auditions for commercials are some of the most difficult auditions to deal with. Sometimes all they have you do is walk in, state your name, turn completely around, and leave. Yeah, it’s weird, but you have little control over your audition. Here are a few tips to help:

Before the audition

Get plenty of restful sleep. Get your look as perfect as possible. Know your lines frontward and backward. Walk-in there like you own the place and let that confidence shine through your work.

Connect

The director sees hundreds of people in a week’s time. He’ll remember you if you treat him like a person and not a faceless, soulless camera. Ask him how his day is going, tell him you like his tie, or just say a happy hello to him. When your audition is over, thank him for his time and tell him goodbye.

Before the deadline

If you’re sending in a demo reel for a commercial audition, then send it in before it’s due. Just like interviewing for a job, the early bird impresses the HR director. It’s the same when you know how to get into commercials on TV. Oh, yes: always use landscape mode on your camera, not portrait.

Follow the instructions

Don’t second-guess the casting director. Just do what you’re told to do. Sometimes sides get left out of your instructions, because the office was busy that day. Call to ask if you have everything you need, and then read everything you’ve been sent.

Memorize

Remember that your competition will have every letter memorized. If you don’t, you won’t come off as authentic. You’ll be out of character, and your performance won’t be believable. This is too vital to mess with – be sure to memorize your part.

Do you

Just be your authentic self. Anything else is just acting, and casting directors already know what the role calls for. He wants to see you, not the character you’re playing. Just. Do. You.

Final Thoughts

Acting on a TV show gives you a week to get it just right and in the can. Acting in a movie gives you upwards of 90 days to tell the story. TV commercials are different. Thus, the audition is different.

You don’t always get more than a couple of minutes for your audition. You might only be asked to stand still or turn around. You could only have one line. The most important things are your look, being on time or early, having your lines memorized, and the perfect delivery. Following these tips should help you know how to get into commercials on TV.

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