5 Tips for Acing Your Commercial Audition

Article Image
Photo Source: Match/Maximum Effort

Commercial auditions, while similar to film and television auditions, can often feel like foreign territory for many actors. Some differences in commercial auditioning include that the offices or Zoom rooms can be filled with many more bodies and a key aspect is pairing with strangers to play potential friends or family members. Scripts are also often given only once you arrive or just shortly before and there tends to be more improvisation in commercial rooms. Finally, as you move into callbacks and later stages of the audition process, it’s common to find the room or online audition room filled with many new faces. Those are the producers or executives who join to weigh in on the decision-making process.

So while commercial auditions can be very playful experiences and lead to a lucrative gig they can also be quite nerve-wracking. Here are some tips to keep in mind that have helped me with several commercial bookings over the past few years including my latest set of viral commercials for Match.com.

1. Always play for the product.
Be mindful of what the commercial is selling. As an example, the Match.com spot written by Ryan Reynolds featured a woman personifying the year 2020 falling in love with the devil. The spot boasted that Match is a great service where anyone can find love. It would have been easy to pick up the script and play the circumstances of what an awful year 2020 was, yet in reminding myself to play for the product I kept my focus on playing a girl who was deliriously happy and falling in love. The comedy was born out of the context and circumstance, but I had to honor the product above all as the actor hired. Whatever the product is, from beverages to cleaning supplies, remind yourself that you’re there to show the audience how amazing that product is and how incredible your life has become in experiencing it.

2. Make the product the star. 
If you’re using the product in the commercial, be more focused and mindful of displaying the product than yourself. If you have to take a drink, for example, try not to focus on what you look like drinking the product but rather the wonderful experience you have in engaging with it. The camera, and audience, want to see how that drink is experienced through you. This will make us want one too!

3. Be a team player. 
There are many, many people who will be watching tapes and performances and signing off on choices. Show up to your audition ready to help out the team in any way you can without making the process about you. How can you support the story the clients are trying to tell? How can you support the other actors auditioning? How can you support the casting director who has so many people to juggle? How can you support the product getting into the world of the audience?

4. Give yourself permission to decline auditions for products you don’t feel aligned with.
You don’t want your career to feel motivated by desperation or a lack of integrity. If something doesn’t feel congruent with your values or what you would choose to be in company with, then it’s best to give your agent that information in advance so they can help navigate that with you. Much like actors have the authority to decide if a project requiring nudity is right for them or not, you have the authority to decide what you would like to represent or not.

5. Don’t forget the power of play.
Commercials are meant to inspire us to action. If you’re truly enjoying your experience, we’ll enjoy watching you!

Looking for remote work? Backstage has got you covered! Click here for auditions you can do from home!

The views expressed in this article are solely that of the individual(s) providing them,
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.

Author Headshot
Natalie Roy
Natalie Roy is an actress, author, and spiritual teacher. She’s also a 500-hour certified yoga and meditation teacher specializing in visualization technique, positive psychology for actors, the yoga sutras and taking ancient Eastern philosophy and practices and playing them into the audition room and onto set.
See full bio and articles here!