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It seems like there are endless examples of when the power is out of the commercial actor’s hands.  You are all painfully aware of those.  But like a broken record, I’ll remind you of my belief that booking a commercial is not a numbers game, it’s not luck… there is plenty of power that truly does rest in your hands.  I’ve written about the importance of research, arriving on time, in wardrobe, knowing the copy, etc., etc… this is well-covered territory.  But I’d like you to be able to identify the jobs that REALLY have everything to do with you grabbing the booking that is yours (almost) for the taking.

Anytime the spot has one person…you are in luck.  It’s all about you and what you bring to the room.  It’s yours (almost) for the taking.  You don’t have to worry about chemistry with the husband or if you have the right coloring to match up with the kids.  You don’t have to sweat a “bad” partner or someone highjacking the scene.  It’s all about your wardrobe, attention to direction and performance.  It’s yours.

Anytime the spot asks for a very specific look (look-alike or from a certain period), you are in luck.  If you go for it, if you put the time into your hair, makeup, wardrobe (which may include a trip to the thrift store or two or three) you will be dramatically ahead of the game.  If you are asked to come as a look-alike, start googling and matching.  If you are asked to come as a person from a certain time (50’s, 60’s… 1800’s) go full out.  Research!  The harder or more obscure it feels, the better your chances are because actors can be lazy.  Plenty of actors will show and hint at what’s being asked for, but they won’t go full out because that requires too much effort.  Put in the effort and get the callback.  It likely won’t take but a few times to book the job.  It’s yours.

Any time the spot requires a certain delivery/voice… you are in luck.  Can you guess what I’m going to say next?  If you go for it, put the time into researching the voice you are to mimic or draw from and you will be in the minority.  Most actors won’t put forth the effort, or will spend a solid 5 minutes working on it.  Imagine if you put in 30 minutes of work?  How about an hour?  The more specific, the more difficult, the better for you, if you put in the time.  It’s yours.

Any time the spot requires a spokesperson… you are in luck.  For the same reasons as previously stated above but I want to add a few more, specific things.  How often do you  practice delivering a bunch of copy, just for the heck of it… to get better at delivering spokesy copy in general?  How much time do you spend working on a big hunk of copy after receiving your audition?  Do you memorize the copy? (I personally am a BIG fan of this)  How are you with making stiff copy conversational and casual?  Well, if you are willing to put in the time and sharpen this skill, you’ll book a job… or many jobs.  Many actors aren’t interested in putting in the time.  If and when you do, you will be rewarded.  The power is in your hands and the job is yours (almost) for the taking.

Ok, so there’s still an “ALMOST” disclaimer in my belief that the situations above are yours for the taking.  There will be a few other actors that will put in the time and effort to look/be amazing, just as you did.  You’ll see them at the callback.  And out of the small handful of great/dedicated actors, one will be chosen.  Focus on being one of those and while you will not book every job that falls under this description, you’ll book some of them.  That’s all we can ask for, isn’t it?  Claim the power and take the job.


Laurie Records (Casting Director, CCDA) has been working in the commercial realm since 2004. In 2009, Laurie launched her own company. While she casts all types of Commercials, she has broadened her horizons to include casting web content for Network Television, Television Hosts, Voice Over, Industrials, and dabbles in casting Features and Short films. Recent commercial jobs include: Head & Shoulders, Mercedes, and KMART. She also cast the new Movie Surfers for seasons 16/17 as well as online content for the Muppets.