Amie Farrell is a commercial booking machine. She shot three national commercials in the last six months alone and has an extensive commercial resume. Ask her about the raccoon. This past weekend, she shared tips and tricks for booking more commercials with studio members during a booking commercials weekend intensive.
Most actors have a hate hate relationship with commercial auditions. It’s usually a cold room. There’s no feedback. The auditions are quick. You can go on hundreds of auditions and not book anything. Commercials may not jive with the actor’s artistic vision. One can make a living as a commercial actor though, so it’s important to have a strong handle on the techniques if one wants to leave their desk job.
Amie focused on both the technical aspects of commercials (breakdowns, script analysis, storytelling, working the camera and wardrobe) and the subjective (slates, essence and type, storyboards, positive scene choices and redirects). Some of the learning lessons:
Slate. It matters. A lot. If they aren’t interested in your slate and there’s nothing going on in your eyes, they’ll move on to the next audition.
Type. Know it, embrace it and fine tune it. It’s your money maker.
Wardrobe. A sport coat, for example, quickly changes the character and type. Same goes for a striped cardigan. Or glasses.
You-nique. Do your thing because they’re looking for you, as you.
During the intensive, attendees worked through the most common commercial styles:
Hero/Hero product – You or the product is the hero of the day and you explain how it solves the common problems of today.
Interview – The personality test to determine if you are a fit for the product or service. Usually looking for “real people” to offer relatable experiences and advice.
Make it your own – The improvised audition where you’re given the script or a framework and after delivering the scripted lines, you go off book and “make it your own.”
Bite and smile – The classic audition where you sample food or drink and move from hopeful skeptic to convinced brand ambassador.
MOS – No sound, all action.
Commercials can sustain a Hollywood acting career. If you haven’t seen it yet, there’s a wonderful short documentary by JD Walsh called The Talent, which features both experienced commercial actors and relative new comers sharing tips and tricks and experiences booking commercials.
To learn more about our booking commercials intensive, please contact us.