First off, I want to say Thank you thank you thank you for you column! I have read your entire archive of postings, by the way, and I feel like I have spent years in the business when I have only been researching for six months, and finally self-submitting for the first time this week. What a head start you have given me! If you weren’t already married (and neither were I), I would bow before you and ask for your hand. Getting to the point, I do have a question for you. I am trying to audition primarily for on-camera commercials and — unfortunately — I am not seeing a great deal of breakdowns coming in. Do you have any pointers to offer in the way of finding these jobs? Aside from getting an agent that is, and Actors Access?
What a fun email! Thanks so much for the laugh and the praise. Very sweet. I’m so glad the material has been useful to you. Be sure to thank the good people who run this site for keeping those scores of archives free and searchable to ALL. It’s good for them to know you value that!
Now, if you’re checking Actors Access regularly, you are seeing as many commercial breakdowns as may be available at the level of a non-represented actor. Certainly, agents and managers are getting loads of commercial breakdowns through their subscriptions to Breakdown Services. Even if you could get access to those breakdowns, you may not be able to get seen on any of the actual projects. Typically, when casting directors release breakdowns only to agents and managers, they aren’t open to seeing unrepresented actors for those projects. It’s a time-management and filtering issue.
In Los Angeles, most commercials are also listed on LA Casting, which again has different levels of subscription to make breakdowns available to actors, agents, and manager. You, being in New York, may not find breakdowns listed at LA Casting as helpful as perhaps those listed in Back Stage or on any number of free web-based resources for NY actors. I just Googled “audition listings,” “New York,” and “commercial” and found more than a few decent-looking FREE sites for such information. Just be very careful about any of these so-called services that ask for up-front fees. I’ve written about how many of these scam artists steal and modify the breakdowns from legitimate sources and resell them to unsuspecting actors.
Since you are specifically looking to get involved with commercial acting, I would recommend that you visit the local commercial casting facilities and drop off your headshot and resumé (plus commercial demo reel, if you’ve been able to compile one). Do the rounds and be sure to have enough copies of your headshot for each bin in each casting facility. Legwork can really pay off for commercial actors, as sometimes just walking in and being the right type at the right time can get you seen!
Also look into taking a few on-camera commercial acting classes with a respected instructor who also casts commercials in your market. Not only will you come away from that experience with loads of great craft and technique information, but you’ll also have begun a relationship with the casting director and your classmates, with whom you can do drop-offs in the future. Networking helps! Even online networking can be beneficial, as you’ll be able to give a head’s up when anyone from your commercial classes is the right type for a casting notice you see (and they’ll do the same for you).
Congratulations on making it through the beginning research and moving into the “it’s time to submit” stage! It’s very exciting and you may be surprised how many commercial casting notices you begin to hear about, once you’re “in” with others who share your goals. I wish you continued success as you build your career! Keep up the good work!
Originally published by Actors Access at http://more.showfax.com/columns/avoice/archives/000307.html. Please support the many wonderful resources provided by the Breakdown Services family. This posting is the author’s personal archive.