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Flash cut to 2021. You can find casting directors dancing with their kids on TikTok, posting pictures of their dog on Instagram, or doling out valuable audition advice on Twitter. Casting directors are telling you exactly how to book more jobs — but you have to listen. 

When it comes to casting calls, commercial auditions can be some of the most frustrating ones to attend. You don’t get much time or material to prepare. It’s rare to have more than a sentence or two of background information on your character. And sometimes there’s nothing more to do than walk into the room, say your name, do a 360-degree turn, and leave!

Let’s get rid of some of the mystery behind commercial auditions and go straight to the source — the casting directors themselves. Check out these commercial audition tips and bits of inspirational acting advice from some of the biggest names in casting. 

Connect With the Casting Director

It doesn’t matter if it’s your first commercial audition or your 500th, showing the casting director that you’re a real, relatable human makes you instantly likable. 

Veteran casting director Amy Jo Berman says, “When you make a real, human, personal connection with a casting director, that’s memorable. That makes us stop and notice you. We like that. Casting directors are human beings too. Connect.

Here are a few simple suggestions you can try:

  • Ask them how they’re doing.
  • Comment on something they’re wearing.
  • Make an observation about what’s going on in the room.
  • Talk to them the same way you would to another actor or a friend.

These are such simple things but they can make or break your entire audition. Casting sees dozens of actors a day. They not only remember the actors who gave the best performances, but also the ones that were enjoyable to be around. 

In today’s world of virtual auditions, this can be tougher. But that’s why connection matters even more. Offer up a warm hello that radiates right through the screen.

Always do your best to feel out the situation. If casting seems stressed or they’re running behind schedule, keep it brief. Otherwise, take a moment to give a genuine compliment or start a cheerful conversation before jumping into “the work.”

Always Memorize Your Lines

Bella Hibbs of Good Faith Casting shares three fantastic reasons why you should always memorize the material. 

  • If you’re thinking of the words, you’re not thinking of the character.
  • Your performance will be more believable. 
  • Your competition will be memorized.

That last one is so good! 

Next time you’re tempted to just wing it, remember these three reasons why you should memorize your material for commercial auditions. 

Deliver Before the Deadline

Most actors have completely stepped up their self tape game over the past year. Casting directors are overwhelmingly impressed with the quality of the performances they’re receiving. 

Renita Gale of Renita Casting shares tons of valuable tips for commercial and virtual auditions on her Instagram. 

“When actors ask if it really helps to get their self tape in before the deadline? I mean, no pressure, but the answer is 100% YES!”

So if you’ve been procrastinating on making that self tape, this is your sign to go do it right now!

Another bit of advice from Renita, “Landscape-mode on your camera for self tape auditions, ALWAYS….unless otherwise instructed.”

Read the Instructions

This next tip comes from DK Casting. This is a good motto to live by for commercial auditions and every other aspect of life!

“Don’t make assumptions, and simply follow instructions. This will leave a much better impression than ignoring what you’re told!”

Whether it’s an in-person commercial audition, virtual audition, or a self tape you should read EVERYTHING sent to you. Start with the casting call so you can understand the other roles and learn about the team working on the commercial. Then make sure to read the audition notice and check for attachments. Assistants are busy and sometimes they forget to send sides. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for material if it seems like something is missing. 

Commercial Audition Inspiration & Advice

Casting director Danielle Eskinazi’s Twitter is a must-follow for all actors. She’s regularly tweeting bits of inspiration, actionable advice, and a behind-the-scenes peek at her life.

Here are a few of her recent pearls of wisdom. 

“​​Listen to your instincts, fine-tune it, make notice of it. That’s your survival guide.”

“Exist in your dreams as you are. Always be your authentic self. That’s what we want, what we look for, anybody else is not you. Make sense?”

“Here we go… TGIF! Never ever give up hope, prayers, your fortitude, your path, your dreams. Never give up in this business. Eventually. no’s turn into yes and you’re off. Keep up your strength, it’s not over till You say so!”

Danielle will get you pumped up and ready to crush your next commercial audition. Who doesn’t need a little bit of daily motivation?

The Early Bird…

Paladino Casting coming in with the reminder we all needed.

“Log into your callback link 5-10 mins before your scheduled time, in case there are new directions/adjustments on setups. Just like you would arrive early to an in-person audition!”

Show up early, even for virtual auditions. Things change at the last minute and you don’t want to be scrambling before a big commercial audition callback.

More Self Tape & Virtual Audition Tips

Virtual auditions aren’t going away any time soon, so lots of casting directors are giving out self tape advice these days. 

Erica S. Bream’s Twitter is full of fantastic tips. She’s a theatrical CD, but a lot of the advice she gives also translates to commercial auditions. 

“Actors: one of the biggest (and most consistent) issues I’ve seen in self tapes is PACE. We don’t want you to rush or miss important moments, but if the scene moves slower than normal conversational pace, it can feel melodramatic/boring/un-funny/other non-delightful adjective.”

“Actors, 90% of the time, your reader is going too slow. Remind them: they may have a good chunk (or the lion’s share) of dialogue, but it’s not *their* tape. Encourage them to move through their lines quicker w/out blowing through important moments/beats that you want to explore.”

“It can be a fantastic benefit of self taping that you get to select your reader. (I know it can also be stressful. I’m not discounting the effort it takes to find someone to help you.) But in choosing your own reader, you should consider whether or not they can take direction.”

It’s easy to get frustrated when you’ve been called in for tons of commercial auditions but never booked one. A big part of your job as an actor is overcoming that frustration and continuing to work on your craft. 

An easy way to do that is to follow casting directors on social media. They want you to succeed and that’s why they’re sharing valuable info. You never know when that one bit of advice might be the breakthrough you needed to land your dream role. 

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Written by Lauren Tassi

Lauren Tassi is an LA-based copywriter and content marketing strategist. She’s got 10 years of experience in the entertainment industry under her belt and has seen thousands of auditions. During her time in the casting department at a major TV studio and in the commercial casting world, she developed a passion for helping actors succeed. Watching actors book their first jobs and seeing their careers take off is her favorite part of casting.