The commercial world of auditioning is bustling, even despite the pandemic. Most, if not all, are happening via Zoom, so it’s a great time to learn some key audition tips when it comes to commercial auditioning in our digital world.
1. Be on time for your audition.
Even if your appointment is virtual, you still have to show up to the allotted time slot. Casting directors spend a lot of time creating their day’s session, and being on time shows that you are professional and dependable. Audition appointment times are usually provided the day or two before the audition. Do your best to be available for the time provided for you: schedule childcare, rearrange your work schedule, or reschedule your nail appointment. Chances are that if you’re not available, they’re not going to be able to provide you with another appointment time slot.
2. Be prepared as possible.
When your agent or the casting director confirms your appointment time, they will typically provide the breakdown too. Make sure you read through everything listed and fully understand the character description. Make sure to dress the part, but don’t put on a full costume. For instance, if you’re playing a clown, you wouldn’t put on a full clown suit and red nose, but you might wear bright colors to suggest the character’s essence. Preparation in the digital age means double-checking your tech elements too: is your internet connection reliable? Have you chosen a room that has relatively no distracting noises? Do you have the correct lighting and background? And always check your Zoom picture to make sure your framing is set up before you go live!
3. Don’t say yes to the audition if you’re unavailable for the shoot date.
Some actors mistakenly think “being seen” by casting is the most important part of the process. However, if you’re not available for the shoot date, and you carry on with the process so you can be seen by the casting director, all you’re doing is eroding the trust of that relationship. This business is all about relationships, and relationships are all about trust. So it’s better to say no if you aren’t available for the shoot date, then risk burning a bridge with a casting office.
4. Follow directions.
Remember that auditioning for commercials is very different than auditioning for a three-act play. It’s typically straightforward, and you don’t need to improvise unless asked to by the casting director. Follow the copy provided. If they want a different take, they will ask for it in the audition.
5. Limit your self-tapes.
Before you can even get to the live Zoom audition for commercials, many times you are requested to send a self-tape from the breakdown provided. You do not need to send several options in this case, just one self-tape. You’ll also drive yourself crazy if you do dozens of takes and have to try to decide which take is the best take to send to casting. Don’t overthink it. If you follow these rules, you’ll be on your way to a live zoom callback in no time!
6. Send an accessible link.
If you’re requested to send a self-tape – either to your agent, manager, or the casting director – you must send a link that is accessible. This means the link should be viewable without requiring casting to download anything. The idea is to make the process as easy as possible for casting so they watch your performance and aren’t frustrated by your tech elements! Before you know it, you’ll be booking all kinds of commercials!