How to Get Into Commercials

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YOU OUGHTA BE IN PICTURES! Models, Actors, Extras needed! All ages, shapes and sizes, NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY! This step-by-step method makes it easy to get started in the commercial entertainment industry. Land an agent, audition for commercials, print jobs and work as an extra or principal role in TV and movies.

Things You'll Need

  • A little money
  • Photo
  • Drama class at a junior college.
  • Resume, Bio
  • Envelopes
  • Stamps
  • Getting Started

    The first thing you'll need to do to get into Movies, T.V. or print is to get your picture taken for the number one thing you'll need the headshot. The headshot is the industry standard for all casting agents. If you've heard of Zed cards, don't waste your money on those just yet, try to get an agent first, and then discuss with them whether you will need any other type of pictures or not. I had an agent for a few years and I never had to use anything but my basic headshot. You have to have nice clothes for this picture (well, a nice shirt anyway!) But you might as well get some outfits together for interviewing and audtioning. So go through your closet and pick out 3 nice outfits that look great on you. If you don't have anything, go out and purchase them. The goodwill has a vast array of clothes that will work well on film, and at a very reasonable price. Stick to pastels. Light blue is a great photographic color. Look through ads in the newspaper, notice what the models are wearing and try to match some of those looks. Also watch TV commercials very closely, notice what the people are wearing. You can even go online and look at actual headshots and note what the people are wearing. You can get an idea that way and choose which color and style looks best to you. I've noticed that there seems to be an industry standard - as far as clothing goes - for commercials and print. If you notice, most people wear either a light or dark blue shirt or sweater, and beige khaki type pants with a brown belt and brown loafers. The colors can change a little, but I would say about 90% of the ads have this type and color of clothing. So there you go, that can be your first set of auditoning/interviewing/photographing clothes. I would suggest you stay away from low neck lines(unless you want to be casted in sexy roles only), and stay away from sleeveless shirts, it puts a lot of attention on your arms. You want the attention to be focused on your face, not your clothes. You will get more work if you have a conservative, general look. Now your ready for your photo, where do you go you ask? It's very, very simple.

  • The Headshot

    You need to find a commercial photographer who specalizes in models, headshots, etc. It's not hard at all, just open up the phone book and look under photographers. Call around and ask them how much they charge for a basic headshot. Figure out how much you are willing to spend, and then set up at least 3 appts. to check out the photographer and his or her photos. Interview them basically to find the one you really like. Sometimes, you can call a College drama department and ask them for referrals, and sometimes they even have deals going on with a photographer. This is how I found my photographer, through a drama class at a community college I was attending (which is to your advantage to take). The photographer gave our class a discount so I went to him. The pictures turned out great, and I landed an agent with it. So, set up an appt. with a few photographers, just to interview them if you will, and check out their books of photos before you actually get your picture taken. This way you can choose the best photographer for your headshot. I wouldn't spend more than $200.00 for a session. All you need is a couple rolls of film with 2 to 3 different looks (different clothing, hairdo, etc.) After you've taken the pictures, you will then look at the proof sheet. Ask the photographer to pick the picture he/she thinks is best for the headshot because they have an eye for it and probably have more experience in the business and know what casting agents are looking for. If you disagree with their choice, ask up to 3 friends, then, ask your friends and family members to pick which picture they like best and pick the one more people agreed upon. Once you have the picture, your ready to have copies made. The photographer should have information on reproducing a headshot, but I can give you that info. You'll want to put your name on the bottom of the photo, don't forget that! Don't put your phone number on it, you'll be making a resume to staple to the back which will have all your contact information. So, now you've received your copies of the headshot, they're beautiful... now what? You've got to submit them, so let's do it!

  • Submitting your Headshot to Casting directors and Agents
    If you want to work right away, there are hotlines for the casting agents which I will try to put in this article soon. Some of these places will charge you a small fee, and they will take your picture themselves. This is how I started out in movies. So, if you don't have enough money for a headshot, I would suggest you starting out this way. The casting directors are constantly looking for extras, But, if you are serious about getting into movies, T.V. and print, in bigger better roles. you MUST have a headshot, a resume and sumit your package to an agent where they can send you on go sees.

  • The Resume

    For you serious show business people out there, you need to make a resume. Hopefully you've had a resume made for work and stuff like that, but I understand some younger people don't know where to start on this resume business, so I'll explain it. You'll want to put your name at the top of the page in big bold letters. Under your name put your phone number(s) (you must have a phone number with an answering machine or service or you'll be doing all this for nothing.. if they can't get a hold of you once, they won't try again!), put your statistics, eye-color, hair-color, weight, height, waist size, shoe size, clothing size, age range (this is the ages you can portray), Then, list any and all theater work, T.V. work, movie work, print work, ect. If you don't have any experience whatsoever, get involved in a community theater. Most communities have theater, so find out where it is and when auditions are. You can start out in a small role and work your way up to bigger ones if you wish. I started in theater, and it was the best experiences of my life! Very enriching and it filled my resume and made me look good! Another thing you can do to start your resume is to take an acting class. All community colleges have acting/drama classes. Take one, I did and it helped me get into movies, tv and print work. You can also start your resume by putting down any music training or skills you may have, and special skills and hobbies. If you don't have any of these things, just write a letter explaining what your interests are and how you plan to start in theater and take acting classes. Explain your goals and who you admire in the industry. Once you have this resume or letter, you'll want to print out a lot of them and staple it to the back of your headshot. Back to back, so you see your head shot on one side and the resume on the other.

  • I recommend submitting your materials to SAG franchised agencies. These are the most reputable agencies and they have strict license procedures to protect against fraud. If you land one of these agents, you will be auditioning for the real deal. First, you need to write a cover letter of introduction and what you are seeking. You can word it like "Dear Mr. Agent (agents name) I am seeking representation in the commercial entertainment field, please contact me for an interview. Then, take your cover letter, headshot with resume stapled on the back, along with a self-addressed stamped envelope (for your rejection letter, if you do get rejected) and enclose all the materials in a large 9 X 11 clasp type envelope. Write the agents name and address clearly on the front and make sure you have the right amount of postage on the package before you mail it or else it will come back. I suggest taking your packages down to the local UPS mailing shop and have them weigh the packages to find out exactly how much it will cost to mail them. So, once you have mailed off all your packages, the waiting begins. It usually takes 4 to 8 weeks to get either a rejection letter or a call for an interview. Most likely you will receive a lot of rejection letters. Don't fret about the rejection letter, most agents are willing to have you re-submit again in 6 months. So, mark your calendar and send them out again after 6 months has passed. Update your resume and this time in the cover letter mention that you had previously submitted 6 months ago and you are still seeking representation. This will look good, and you are much more likely to get an interview. They are testing people to see how serious they are.

  • Once you have an interview with an agent, you are most likely signed! If you do get an interview with an agent, be prepared to do a cold reading. A cold reading is where they hand you a short script and have you read it aloud. One thing you need to do is to ask the agent for a few minutes with the script alone, whether it be outside or in a bathroom. Just read it alone for a few minutes to get a grasp on the character and what they are selling. When you are completely comfortable, go back in and give it your all. The agent will like that you took the time to go over the script, it shows how professional you are and how prepared you are to tackle a cold read. A lot of agents want you to do commercials for them because that is where the money is, so make sure you start reading the newspaper aloud for 10 minutes everyday. And doing tounge twisters, anything outloud to get ready for the cold read. Record commercials on tv and repeat them. You get the idea.

  • Please keep checking back as I will be updating this article with more information as I find it.

Tips & Warnings

  • Beau Bonneau Casting - Hotline: (415) 346-2278 x6
  • Do not bring other people to your interview.
  • Make sure you look your best on an interview or go see.
  • Do not lie on your resume
  • update your headshot every 6 months
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