Freddie Smith has auditioned over 500 times and booked 15 jobs as a result—and five of those jobs were national commercials. In turn, he’s created a video listing 10 tips to help talent book commercials. The Ohio native has been a working actor for almost a decade now. Currently, Smith portrays Jackson “Sonny” Kiriakis on Days of Our Lives, and his performance earned him a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Younger Actor in 2015. He also played the recurring role of Marco Salazar in 90210 featured on The CW.

Smith’s commercials include Kay Jewelers, Carl’s Junior, McDonald’s, and Verizon. He attributes his commercial work with affording him to pursue his theatrical acting aspirations, gain valuable experience working on set, and becoming more comfortable with auditioning. 

So here’s a list of his practical audition-room tips to help you stand out amongst the competition.

  1. Wear what is suggested. Sounds simple enough, but actors sometimes minimize the importance of following the wardrobe recommendation. But dressing in the suggested attire “shows you take direction and that you care,” Smith says.
  2. Arrive early. Regardless of your career choice, if you consistently show up early, it reflects well on your professionalism. “You know there’s not going to be parking; you know you’re going to have to park seven blocks down the road,” Smith says. So he encourages talent to “Get there early … sign in, take a seat, look at the storyboard, look at the sides, learn the three lines that you may have … This way, you’re ready to go.”
  3. Have positive energy. No matter how many things might be going wrong in your life at the moment, make sure to leave those troubles outside the casting facility. Moreover, swap those worries with a cheerful, easygoing mood in the lobby and when you enter the audition room. Smith asserts, “They’re looking for you to sell a product for them—smiling, happy, fun.”
  4. Smile before slating. When you’re standing around waiting to slate, make a point to already be smiling before the camera pans to you. This way, the camera won’t catch your blank expression before it quickly turns into a smile. “You want to be smiling because it’s the first time the decision makers are watching [your face] and they want to see if this face will sell their [product],” Smith insists.
  5. Speak clearly and confidently. This might sound obvious, but some performers don’t realize how hard it is to hear them. Not only do actors need to articulate clearly, but it’s important they project their voices loud enough to be heard.
  6. Slate with clean hands and manicured fingernails. Smith says, “Your hands have to look good because you’re going to be eating … you’re going to completely throw them off if you have dirt on your hands and you’re eating their hero product.” Also, make sure to take your time when slating your hands so casting can actually see how great your hands look.
  7. Be prepared with stories. “What’s your most embarrassing moment?” is a question Smith frequently hears. Be ready with interesting stories that showcase your fun, positive energy. Other common questions include recollections of road trips, sharing your favorite song or a book you’re currently reading—or even saying a pick-up line. 
  8. Take direction and listen. Casting tells you specific information for a reason: because that’s what they specifically need to see. If you’re not sure about something they said, it’s okay to ask for a quick clarification. 
  9. Look outward and show your face. When it comes to group scenes, Smith demonstrates how only showing your profile really limits casting’s ability to experience your personal magic. “They need to see your face … you want to find a way to look out and have that money shot,” he insists. So find creative ways to make a moment happen and do so with joy. This will literally make you stand out from the crowd.
  10. Don’t throw the hero product in the trash. The contrast of pleasurably eating the featured food during the audition and then abruptly tossing it in the trash the moment you hear “cut!” does not leave the best last impression. Rather, make sure casting only sees you enjoying the product, and take the food with you as if you’re going to continue to enjoy it after the audition.
Watch Freddie Smith in his Kay Jewelers commercial.

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