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Tips for Working as a Commercial Actor

Commercial acting can be a great stepping-stone for budding actors to get more work and experience as they transition to film or the stage. However, they can also be an excellent choice for a full-time specialization, providing the opportunity to act in a variety of short but diverse environments while earning a steady stream of income. Below are some tips to help you along your path of gaining work as a commercial actor.

  • Watch Commercials

Many people use television commercial breaks as a chance to flip channels or grab a snack from the kitchen. Instead, take the time to truly watch and pay attention to commercials from now on. Note the way actors are used to sell various products. Watch for patterns or trends to see what type of actors are cast for different kinds of commercials. Study how the actors portray the emotions the commercial wants you to feel, building trust and confidence in a single brand in a short 30-second spot. By studying those who are experienced in the field of commercial acting – and noting what works well in your eyes and what doesn’t – you’ll be armed with powerful observational knowledge when you go into your auditions.

  • Learn the Craft

Commercial acting is, at its core, like any other type of acting; it requires the ability to adopt a persona, and use your words and body to tell a convincing and compelling story from the point of view of your character. However, commercial acting also requires some specialized skills and abilities. You must be able to exude strong personality, selling a product or idea without coming across as over-the-top and “salesy”. Commercial acting requires the ability to be spontaneous, creative, and comfortable improvising. And you must to all of this, while building trust with the audience, in a very short time period. Attending acting classes or workshops specific to commercial acting can help prepare you for this line of work, and give you the skills and experience you need to nail your auditions.

  • Use the Right Agent or Agency

Of course, agents aren’t absolutely necessary to landing jobs in acting; however, many actors – particularly those who work full-time careers in addition to acting – choose to work with agents to find auditions and work. Should you choose to go this route, make sure that the agency or agent you work with specializes in commercial acting; a good commercial agent will be quickly able to match your “look” and personality with the right commercial projects.

  • Have the Right Headshot

A great headshot is essential in auditioning in any field of acting. However, commercial headshots vary slightly from ones you might use for theatrical auditions. All headshots should have a professional look, and be flattering yet authentic. But commercial headshots should also focus on portraying an upbeat, happy, and cheerful look. They should be bright and well-lit, emphasizing a smiling and outgoing personality – qualities that companies want in someone who will be selling their products.

Still Have More Questions?

KD Conservatory has acting, musical theatre, and film production programs to help prepare students for careers in the entertainment industry. Contact us with any of your questions, or check us out on Facebook for ongoing updates and information!


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