Oh, commercials. The highly-coveted, well-paying, national-exposure-warranting field of commercials. Secretly, every actor is hoping to hit gold in this profitable sub-section. And Liz Lewis Casting Partners is one of the offices you'd have to be in to make that happen. As a bi-coastal casting agency with offices in New York and Los Angeles, they cast indie movies, episodic series, and voiceover. However, it's been known in the industry for years that you can't get far in commercials without passing through its doors. Managing Director Angela Mickey agreed to sit down with me for "Actors Next Level," and I was surprised by how simple she made it sound. She broke down booking commercials to basically four elements.
1. Make a strong choice on your first take. "It's really important that you make a strong choice – and appropriate choice, but a strong choice – on your first take," Mickey says. "Because then I know what I have to work with." Making a strong choice lets the casting director know how to coach you. Give them some personality and your own read on the material straight off the bat.
2. Ask Questions. Yes! If you need it for the audition, absolutely ask. Commercial casting is one of the fastest-paced forms of casting. Often times the casting director is so overwhelmed – rescheduling appointments, getting calls from the client, expecting to have casting done in 24 hours – they forget to give you direction that might really help your take. If anything confuses you in the text – or even if you're not quite sure – ask about it. A number of times I know I've interpreted the comedy of commercial copy one way, but once I asked, found out they were looking for something totally different.
3. Have No Fear. "A lot of it is also just not having any fear. It's kind of saying, 'I'm gonna go in, do my best. I'm here. I'm going to let my personality show and not worry too much about it. I'm not going to watch myself and guard myself,'" Mickey says. "People just tend to respond to that strongly."
4. Improv."I think it's hugely important in commercials," says Mickey. Ad execs tend to love improv actors because they are so creative. Aside from being called in more (most commercial CDs have their own improv actor list), it also lets you be more creative in the audition room. When you're dealing with only three or four lines of copy, improv skills will add a lot to the script
Jewel Elizabeth is the executive producer and host of Actor's Next Level, an interview show with the industry's top casting directors and agents. As an actor she's appeared on "All My Children," "Celebrity Apprentice," Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and the Upright Citizen's Brigade. See all episodes at www.ActorsNextLevel.com.f
Jewel Elizabeth is the executive producer and host of Actor's Next Level, an interview show with the industry's top casting directors and agents. As an actor she's appeared on "All My Children," "Celebrity Apprentice," Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and the Upright Citizen's Brigade. See all episodes at www.ActorsNextLevel.com.