How to Land a Role in a TV Commercial

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Some of the best TV commercials showcase memorable characters that cause you, the audience, to instantly think of the product or brand when you see that character.

Being the actor that brings that TV commercial character to life can be exhilarating.

But how do you break into TV commercials?

At the beginning of your career, be prepared to spend most of your time auditioning with few to no bookings or callbacks. TV commercial acting is a competitive business! You’ll need to get used to rejection and not let it hold you back.

Remember, in these early stages, you are learning how to audition, what types of roles you should apply for, and you’re making connections. You’ll need to harness your passion, stay focused on your goal, and keep trying.

Try these steps to help you land TV commercial jobs.

Take Commercial Acting Classes

If your main goal is to be in TV commercials, start with classes focused on being in TV commercials. You may also want to take improv classes as some auditions may not have set dialogue. Instead, you’ll be required to improvise.

If you view commercials as a stepping stone for your career, then consider also taking general acting classes.

Get a Commercial Headshot

For commercials, casting directors are seeking a particular look to help sell a product or brand. You’ll want to have a headshot that helps show your look. You may want to think about what types of products may be a good fit for you, such as luxury brands or everyday items. You’ll also naturally fit a certain age range, which doesn’t necessarily have to be your actual age if you look older or younger.

You’ll also want to have your headshot taken by a professional. You want casting directors to know that you’re serious about being a commercial actor. They can tell the difference between someone who has taken the time to get a quality image done versus a selfie taken at a local park.

Since the goal of commercials is often to have a broad appeal, have a friendly smile on your face. Be sure that the background of your photograph won’t distract them from focusing on you.

Be sure your headshot is up-to-date. You don’t want the casting director to be surprised when you show up at an audition with short green hair when your headshot showed you as a longhaired brunette.

Lastly, a commercial headshot is different from a theatrical headshot. Commercial casting directors are looking for someone other people can relate to, often a friendly face that can appeal to a wide audience.

Create a Professional Resume

You’re applying for a job, so you’ll need a resume. Keep your resume ideally to one page. Casting directors are busy and don’t have time to read through pages of text. A resume features the highlights of your experience, not your whole life story!

If you don’t have experience yet, put down activities that showcase your skills. For instance, if you’ve volunteered in someone’s student film or if you took a commercial acting course, be sure to put that on your resume.

Some professionals advise against putting your actual age or date of birth on your resume. It might cause casting directors to think of you as fitting only specific roles, even if you appear older or younger.

Lastly, don’t forget to include your skills. You never know when your ability to ride a horse may be important!

Contact Casting Agencies

To help you find work, you’ll need to contact casting agencies. Look for those agencies that specialize in commercials to help you find the types of work you’re seeking. It’s essential to keep your name out there, so keep applying!

Finding work as a TV commercial actor can take time, but with patience and determination, you can succeed.

Aaron Ayhan