In almost every on-camera commercial audition—after slating—an actor will be asked to turn sideways and show the left and right sides of their face and body.
Profiles are normally required so that those doing the casting can get a clear look at the side views of the actor. Most auditions especially those with dialogue are done facing the camera but in many commercials, actors move sideways or are working or speaking in profile. So, the creatives need to see if actors have: round shoulders, a large or small chest, a belly, a receding chin, a big nose, tattoos, long or short hair, etc.
If actors have any body issues that can be perceived as a distraction in the commercial, doing profiles will reveal them to those doing the casting. Profiles can determine how you are perceived so it is essential to perform them correctly.
The slate is usually done in a close-up or medium camera close-up then the camera zooms out as the actor does their profiles. Simple enough, right? It should be, but many rookies don’t always really understand what is needed and the correct technique, and I have also seen way too many professionals do it incorrectly. Doing profiles unprofessionally can make you look like an amateur. Why would those doing the casting even bother to take the time to watch the audition work of an actor who can’t even do simple profiles correctly.
Here are some mistakes actors often make when doing profiles.
1. Turning just your head, not your body. This is technically a “profile” but is not what is needed at commercial auditions.
2. Turning your head and body only to a 45-degree angle. This doesn’t give the creatives what they need to see; they need to see your full body in profile. You need to be at a 90-degree angle to the camera.
3. Turning your head and body past the 90 degree angle.
4. Being cutesy, turning too fast or slow, fidgeting, looking angry, confused, bored, or with an attitude. This makes the actor look like an amateur.
To do a good profile, these are the instructions I offer my students in my L.A. acting workshops.
1. Be relaxed with a positive and confident energy.
2. Turn your body and head to the right at a 90-degree angle, stand for a second, face the camera, and then turn to the left at a 90 degree angle, hold for a second then turn toward camera and smile.
Note: Although you are relaxed, be sure to stand up straight, shoulders back and tighten your stomach muscles.
Simple is professional. You might be thinking, “How boring.” Well, it is regimented for an important purpose. Your personality and essence will be present in your “slate” and your audition. The “profile” just needs to be done simply and professionally then it will send the right message about you.
You probably assume now that you have read this article that you understand how to do it and will have no problem with doing your “profiles.” Just to be sure, you should film yourself doing your profiles. If it is not clean, practice a few times and record yourself once again. To see how to do professional profiles and get even more information, be sure to watch my FREE Master Talent Teachers video, profiles and slates .
Carolyne was a casting director, actress, and director, considered by agents, casting directors and students, as the best commercial audition acting coach in Los Angeles.