Casting talent for a commercial shoot is an oft-misunderstood process. Oddly enough this is true more so for the actors than the agency.
Recently CCT Advertising conducted a casting call for one of our clients, Clarity Media. Here are some do’s and don’ts for commercial talent looking to land a role. Mostly don’ts. Sorry.
Rule #1: For God’s sake, don’t kiss ass. Some actors walk in a room with an apple polishing grin and then serenade the director and the agency with conversation in hopes of wooing them in their favor. It’s not about that. It’s about the work, plain and simple.
Rule #2: Do know your lines. Don’t over rehearse. Yes, an actor needs to be prepared, but some will lock into their interpretation of a role so tightly the director can’t wrench them out of it. This is a collaborative medium and should be treated as such. Let the director do most of the driving.
Rule #3: No costumes please. I’ve seen actors walk into a session in everything from a sailor’s hat to an Auntie Mame getup. Relax. Wardrobe will come soon enough.
Rule #4: Don’t belt it out to the back row. Many actors are theater trained and that’s fine. But commercial performances are about subtlety. Comedy in particular. Talent should start small and let the director bring them to a broader place.
That said, I do really love talent. It’s a craft, a difficult one, and those who master it are very special. Actors are willing to stand in front of a room full of strangers totally naked and that takes, what did Sarah Palin say? Major cojones.