This week’s Your Turn features two quickies following up on last week’s column on commercial targeting.

Hey Bonnie,

I am in the process of trying to find a commercial agent. However I am not sure exactly to go about submitting myself for one. I know that mailing my headshot, resumé, and cover letter is necessary but is there anything you can suggest to make my submission stand out? Also are there certain guidelines to follow when submitting? Thank you for your time!


Hi Lawrence. Okay, so once you’ve targeted your best-fit commercial agents, definitely check out their websites to see if there are any submission guidelines spelled out right there for you. If there are no submission guidelines but there is a mailing address or an email address, you may take that as a sign that either mailed submissions or emailed submissions are welcomed (otherwise that information would not be so easily accessible).

Of course, you may also call the office and ask what their preferred method of submissions from new talent is. The receptionist will let you know! Just have your question prepared before you get on the phone, so that you don’t stammer or freeze once you’re on the line with someone who works at the agency of your (current) dreams.

As far as what makes a submission stand out, honestly, it’s professionalism. It’s a concise letter with no grammatical errors and no gimmicky stuff. It’s a professional commercial headshot attached to a correctly-formatted resumé. It’s following any submission instructions you found on the company’s website or that you learned about when you called.

What you can’t know (unless your targeting was so dang ninja that you absolutely went this far down the rabbit hole and do know for sure about this) is whether they need you on their roster. Whether they’re taking anyone on right now. Whether you can be sure to at least get a meeting.

So, don’t worry about that stuff. Do as much research as you can. See if you can get a wonderful referral — ideally someone who will pick up the phone and call on your behalf, not just let you drop his/her name in your cover letter — and have someone else proofread your materials. Good luck and rock it out!

Next email!

What if I’m not a commercial type?

Hey, some actors are NOT commercial types. You watch TV. You know your brand. You see how often your type shows up on commercials. So, if you’re honest with yourself, you can calculate the likelihood that you’ll book commercials.

Decide how much of your time and energy you want to spend on something that may not even line up for you, currently. Think of the money you’ll save on trying to get awesome commercial headshots or taking commercial auditioning classes if you decide there’s no reason to pursue commercials right now! Hooray!

Have great tools for your theatrical headshot and of course have great training, then let commercial buyers who really want to do something different find something in your existing tools that helps them tell their story. Then it was their brilliant idea and you didn’t make yourself crazy trying to find something “round” when you’re clearly “square,” to go with the pegs of it all. 😉


Bonnie Gillespie is living her dreams by helping others figure out how to live theirs. Wanna work with Bon? Start here. Thanks!

Originally published by Actors Access at Please support the many wonderful resources provided by the Breakdown Services family. This posting is the author’s personal archive.

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