How to Prepare for a Commercial Audition:
I did a blog awhile ago on General Audition Pointers, you can see that here, but this blog is designed to help you create a process that can make your auditions SUPER successful, and will help keep your agents/managers very happy.
OBLIGATORY BLANKET STATEMENT: Schedule a lesson with your Acting Coach! They can help you break down the storyboard, go over lines with you, or even help to come up with improv simulations that are similar to what may be asked of you. CONFIDENCE comes with PREPARATION! You can schedule your lesson with me here.
Now that we have that out of the way...Once you get your breakdown you need to look closely at it, I prefer to print mine out, something about it being tangible in my hand, where I can actually hold it and highlight dates, and important details, just feels right, but you don’t have to, if you work better on a PC or your phone that fine.
First, check all the dates and make sure you are available for all of them. Casting date, callbacks, fittings, possible shoot dates, you should make sure you have NO conflicts, if you do have a conflict you need to let your agent know right away and let them make the final decision on whether or not to send you. If you are not available for all dates your agent may want to send someone who is, so as to increase their chances of a booking, it’s nothing personal.
After you check all dates, check for conflicts. Conflicts can be really tricky, and if you are multi-listed they can go unseen, so it's really important you are on the ball. If they are asking for someone who has not done a healthcare ad within the past year and 3 months ago you shot for a rival healthcare provider, you should not attend the audition. If you are in doubt, PLEASE ask your agent. You may get asked on camera about your conflicts, or worse, get booked, and then be held legally responsible. Always, Always, Always check your conflicts! Some good examples of conflicts would be (Coke & Pepsi, Competing Healthcare providers, which could be insurance, physician groups, and hospitals, Disney & Universal, Cable/Internet Providers…etc.)
Next, take a look at the details of the rate and usage. If you need some insight into some of these terms you can check that out here. Make sure that the rate and usage is fair and something you are willing to work with. Be reasonable while considering this, if your agent has sent it to you, they obviously think it’s a good fit. Also check out if you are being asked to be exclusive for this brand or not (usually it’s just for a period of 1-3 years), but this is vital information. Many times it will be used in perpetuity, which means they can use it forever, BUT you are free to shoot with competitors.
Now, take a look at your character breakdown. Try to find out everything you can about your character. There usually is a brief synopsis included, also look at the storyboard if it is included. Try to dress as similar as you can to the character type. This is SO important! I used to get so much feedback from Casting Directors, when I was an agent on how talent would come dressed. If you are supposed to be a theme park mom, dress like a theme park mom: bermudas, capris, and a nice shirt, sandals and tennis shoes, are great ideas. If you are going for a part of a nurse or doctor, do your best, you don’t want to get a full Halloween costume, but do you have a friend who has scrubs? Or a lab coat? Do your best, and remember to dress true to your character, but don’t do overboard.
MAKE SURE KIDS LOOK LIKE KIDS! No makeup, no crazy hair bows or dressy dresses! Clothing for kids (unless otherwise noted) should be cute casual. These are not fashion auditions. Cute shorts, plain tops, casual, cotton dresses, leggings, converse, sandals, these are all good options.
Lastly, make sure that you are prepared! Have at least 3 copies of your headshot and resume on hand at all times. I always tell my talent to have these in a folder and keep them in your car, that way you always have them, if needed. Make sure you are up to date on whatever casting site is being used, this means your resume too! They need to see all current conflicts. If there are lines, these need to be rehearsed and memorized.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have regarding the audition process! I can always help with preparation as well!
Happy Auditioning and Break a Leg!