Commercial Audition Classes

When it comes to landing a commercial – whether it’s local or a nationwide campaign – it might feel like it’s all just one big gamble.  After all, you’re a talented actor who has a lot to give to a commercial – so what makes a commercial director want to choose one actor over another?  And how can you use this information to start booking yourself more commercials?

Wonder no more, because Carolyne Barry, a master talent teacher in Los Angeles, is currently running classes designed to help actors land more commercials.  As it turns out, it takes more than just a pretty or interesting face to land a director’s attention; it takes knowing the following tips and hints:

  • Take a look at whether your resume photo is capturing the casting director’s attention.  Oftentimes, people will just pick the photo that makes them look the best; but that’s not what will capture the attention of a casting director.  Instead, it’s all about what’s going to make that picture pop out.  Take a look at the resumes of working actors and actresses.  Note what makes their headshots pop.  Aim for that kind of attention-grabbing headshot for your resume.
  • Ensure that you’re using a professional photographer to help you with your headshot.  You don’t have to get the most expensive photographer, but you do need to work with someone who can translate the above vision into a headshot.  Your success can be hindered by a poor photographer, so don’t let your acting career grind to a halt because of a photographer!
  • Make sure that your resume is more than a list of what you’ve done in the past.  Talk about your talents, your interests, and other skills that would make you much more interesting to a commercial director.  With this in mind, make sure that your resume is as truthful as possible.  You don’t want to claim to speak fluent French, only to end up in the middle of a shoot with a director who is furious with you for not knowing French.


If you want to learn more trade secrets on booking commercial auditions, sign up for Carolyne Barry’s commercial acting classes today! Just give us a call at (323)654-2212 or leave your information here.

What Makes the Best Acting Teacher?

You’ve had dreams of lighting up the screen ever since you were a young child – and now you’re ready to turn that dream into a reality.  Rather than winging it on your own, you’ve decided to get a little guidance throughout the process in the form of a highly experienced and knowledgeable acting teacher.

best LA acting coach

But you don’t want to work with just any acting teacher – you want the best of the best.  After all, this is your dream we’re talking about here.  That’s why if you’re looking for the best acting teacher in the business, consider using these search hints:

1) Look for Experience.  This is perhaps one of the biggest signs of a successful acting teacher. Hollywood is often tumultuous and quick to change, which means that an acting teacher with decades in the business has already proved to be a resounding success.  After all, acting teachers are only as successful as their students – and if they have decades of experience under their belts, you can bet that their students have gone on to bigger and better things.

2) Look for Publications. The best acting teachers will usually have a few publications under their belt.  These can include free ebooks and reports, as well as traditional published books and articles.

3) Look for a Supporting Cast.  If the acting teacher works with other professional coaches, you’ve found the right one.  No acting teacher is going to be a master in every acting niche – there are just too many to specialize in!  A smart and savvy acting teacher will have a staff of professionals who specialize in different aspects of acting, from landing an audition to using improve skills in a national commercial campaign.

4) Look for Happy Students.  Like with any professional, you should look for happy and satisfied students who have had their own successes.  The more successful students an acting teacher has, the more likely it is that the acting teacher is worth his or her weight in Hollywood gold.

Let us help you take the work out of searching for a master acting teacher.  Since 1982, the Carolyne Barry Workshops is one of the most successful, full training Acting Schools in LA. Ms. Barry and her acting coaches have trained thousands of professional actors. Recommended by agents, casting directors, and former students, Carolyne is recognized as one of the best Commercial Audition Acting Coaches in LA. The professional acting, commercial, hosting and musical theatre classes offered at Carolyne Barry Ent. are among the most successful training programs in Los Angeles  and have been voted the BEST several times by the Backstage readers.  Check out what students are saying here on Carolyne’s YouTube channel, and get ready to light up the big screen!

 

The 4 Factors of Booking Commercials

You get a commercial callback, and 10-25 actors are up for the same role as you. You either do a great job and don’t get booked, or you do a “so-so” job and you get the commercial. Rather confusing, right? You have to ask yourself what is going on in the minds of those making the decisions. How are they judging the actors and their auditions? Who gets booked—is it luck? Wonder what the factors are that lead to that casting choice?

Based on all my experience as an actor, casting director, and teacher, I do believe there is a casting formula utilized when booking actors for commercials. It is only my educated opinion, but I really believe that this is the formula and value percentages.

It’s 30 percent what you look like. Since there is some agreement between the ad execs and the director on the aspirational and/or inspirational looks of those being called back, your physicality is still important, but now since it is still subjective, it is about 30 percent. What’s also relevant in the looks area—especially at the callback—is when it is necessary to match actors with spouses, friends, colleagues, or family—do you look like you belong together. And often in commercials featuring several actors, it is important to have a variety of physical and ethnic types, as well as different ages of people.

Then, 40 percent is talent and creativity. What you do in your audition, how you take direction, your creativity, and talent now become the prominent factor.

About 20 percent is your attitude, personality, and essence. Those behind the table at callbacks are watching everything you do from when you walk in the room until you walk out. How you take direction, what questions you might ask, and how you relate to the director and others actors you might be auditioning with. Those decision makers are checking to see if your personality and essence is right for the role, and if there are any reasons why you would be difficult to work with.

The last 10 percent is wildcard factors. These could be anything from your wardrobe (which one of the decision-makers really likes for the spot) to any of the execs or director having subjective preferences or dislikes. I’ve heard so many wildcard reasons, i.e. one of the clients, not choosing an actress that everyone else wanted because she reminded him of his ex-wife. It could be the smallest thing like shaking hands with the director whose hands are sweaty which makes the director uncomfortable. There are too many subjective wildcard factors to cover here, but I am sure you can imagine others.

These considerations are just parts of the casting equation and are all considered. Know that if you are a great physical type for a particular spot and do a great audition, but come off arrogant or too silly then you probably won’t get the job. Also, if you have a really great personality and essence and are the perfect type, but don’t do a good job with the material or scenario then again, you probably will not get booked.

This information should help you to not take it personally or think you did a bad job when you don’t get a booking, and it should help you have the insight you need to put the odds in your favor for booking commercials. And by the way a lot of this is also applicable for booking smaller roles in film and television.

Commercial Audition Callbacks, Part 2

There are dozens of audition technique tips I have given in previous articles and can be found on my partner page on Master TalentTeachers.com that would be really beneficial but right now the most valuable information I can offer to help you to do your best callbacks is offer some insights on Commercial Callback Anxiety.

Commercial auditions can be challenging for actors but callbacks are a cause of anxiety for most. The pressure is on because the decisions-makers are in the room, you know that everything little thing you do is being carefully judged, changes of direction are sometimes made at the last minute giving actors very little time to be secure with the adjustments, the money that you can make if you booked the commercial is often needed, and because it is a callback, the pressure you put on yourself to do well can be problematic.

Every audition especially callbacks are a precious opportunity to work, make money, create contacts and fans and move a career forward. When actors fixate on these expectations before auditioning, it normally creates anxiety and pressure. Don’t focus on disempowering thoughts and questions, such as:

Did I wear the right outfit? Maybe I should have done something different with my hair. Did I work on the material enough? I hope they don’t notice that my skin is broken out. How many people will I be auditioning for? Who are they? Will they direct me before I read? What will they ask me? What should I ask them? Will they think I am physically right for the role? I wonder if the reader is going to be any good? I haven’t seen this CD for a few months – maybe she doesn’t like my work. How will I do? Will they re-direct my reading? Am I right for the role? What will they think about my audition?

Many of these thoughts flash quickly through almost every actor’s mind and especially those who are new. These are the same types of concerns that people usually have interviewing for any job. At callbacks, because the stakes are raised, the concerns get more intense for most. Actors who are unfazed at the initial audition often have callback anxiety. Now, the thoughts are

They must like me; now the pressure is really on. It’s only betweena few others and me; I have to be great. Will my agent (or manager) dump me if I don’t book this job? What did I do that made them call me back? I really need the money. My competition must be good. I hope I don’t “blow it” now. And so on.

This “brain-noise” is normal. How you deal with your questions, concerns and expectations will determine how much power those thoughts have. You must learn how to alleviate, use or quiet them, or they will take their toll on your work. I know great actors who can’t get out of their heads at interviews (and refuse to do anything about it), and their work suffers. I also know less talented ones who shine because they have very little “noise” and are excited to be auditioning.
What you think influences how you feel, and how you feel impacts your audition. With time and experience, actors usually figure out how to alleviate the self-imposed stress. In the meantime, work on your audition anxieties whether it is with self-help books, hypnosis, audition classes, coaching, therapy, talking with friends or teachers and/or developing a sense of humor about your disempowering thoughts – the sooner the better.

SUGGESTION: What you think produces feelings. The feelings are real but the thoughts you created are not real. So be careful what you are saying to yourself.

For additional insights and tips, check out my book Hit The Ground Running @ www.hitthegroundrunningbook.com

Commercial Audition Callbacks, Part 1

DEAL WITH CALLBACK ANXIETY and BOOK COMMERCIALS

There are dozens of audition technique tips I have given in previous articles and can be found on my partner page on Master TalentTeachers.com that would be really beneficial but right now the most valuable information I can offer to help you to do your best callbacks is offer some insights on Commercial Callback Anxiety.

Commercial auditions can be challenging for actors but callbacks are a cause of anxiety for most . The pressure is on because the decisions-makers are in the room, you know that everything little thing you do is being carefully judged, changes of direction are sometimes made at the last minute giving actors very little time to be secure with the adjustments, the money that you can make if you booked the commercial is often needed, and because it is a callback, the pressure you put on yourself to do well can be problematic.

Every audition especially callbacks are a precious opportunity to work, make money, create contacts and fans and move a career forward. When actors fixate on these expectations before auditioning, it normally creates anxiety and pressure. Don’t focus on disempowering thoughts and questions, such as

Did I wear the right outfit? Maybe I should have done something different with my hair. Did I work on the material enough? I hope they don’t notice that my skin is broken out. How many people will I be auditioning for? Who are they? Will they direct me before I read? What will they ask me? What should I ask them? Will they think I am physically right for the role? I wonder if the reader is going to be any good? I haven’t seen this CD for a few months – maybe she doesn’t like my work. How will I do? Will they re-direct my reading? Am I right for the role? What will they think about my audition?

Many of these thoughts flash quickly through almost every actor’s mind and especially those who are new. These are the same types of concerns that people usually have interviewing for any job. At callbacks, because the stakes are raised, the concerns get more intense for most. Actors who are unfazed at the initial audition often have callback anxiety. Now, the thoughts are

They must like me; now the pressure is really on. It’s only betweena few others and me; I have to be great. Will my agent (or manager) dump me if I don’t book this job? What did I do that made them call me back? I really need the money. My competition must be good. I hope I don’t “blow it” now. And so on.

This “brain-noise” is normal. How you deal with your questions, concerns and expectations will determine how much power those thoughts have. You must learn how to alleviate, use or quiet them, or they will take their toll on your work. I know great actors who can’t get out of their heads at interviews (and refuse to do anything about it), and their work suffers. I also know less talented ones who shine because they have very little “noise” and are excited to be auditioning.

What you think influences how you feel, and how you feel impacts your audition. With time and experience, actors usually figure out how to alleviate the self-imposed stress. In the meantime, work on your audition anxieties whether it is with self-help books, hypnosis, audition classes, coaching, therapy, talking with friends or teachers and/or developing a sense of humor about your disempowering thoughts – the sooner the better.

SUGGESTION: What you think produces feelings. The feelings are real but the thoughts you created are not real. So be careful what you are saying to yourself.

For additional insights and tips, check out my book Hit The Ground Running

Insider Tips for Commercial Auditions, II

Insider Tips for Doing Your Best Commercial Auditions and Book Jobs – Part II

Commercial auditions are challenging for most actors. Audition material or scenarios are at the most 20 seconds, which means you need to be up to speed right away. No time to get into the material. You are only in the audition room, on an average of 5 minutes. Just a few minutes to get comfortable, answer questions, take direction, hopefully get a rehearsal, slate and do one or several takes.

I believe that the following audition pointers that I formulated from personal audition experience, teaching thousands of students and observing actors who have auditioned at my casting sessions, will serve well your auditions for commercials (as well as TV and film):

  • As you walk into the audition, don’t think about anything you worked on. Let it all go. Be present to whatever happens.
  • Be respectful, positive and professional without losing your personality.
  • Give full attention to the person who is directing you: Don’t be distracted by anyone or anything. When you are being given direction, don’t be figuring out how to do what they are saying. Just listen and trust that you got it: otherwise, you might miss input.
  • If clarification is needed, ask questions. Questions are only irritating when they are unnecessary. Those running the session won’t think less of you because you request answers. Their input will help you to do a better audition for them.
  • While being recorded, if they talk to you or ask questions, don’t second-guess what they want to hear. They probably want to get to know you and see your personality. Just talk to them as opposed to trying to impress.
  • If the session director or CD is rude, short-tempered or seems ambivalent, do not take it personally. It may be their nature or they may be dealing with problems or previous actors who tested their patience. Stay pleasant, positive and do your work.
  • “Get centered” before starting your audition. Breathe, take one or two seconds before beginning or find your own way to “get centered” but don’t take a self-indulgent period of time to begin. Don’t be influenced by the anxiety or negative energy of those running the session.
  • Do not rush your audition. When actors are nervous or “in their head,” many speed up the dialogue or their improvised scenarios. When actors are connected and focused, they don’t rush. On the other hand, don’t speak really slowly or take long pauses between the lines.
  • Stay Focused. Whether you are auditioning for one person or a group, reading 
into a camera or speaking to an actor or a few actors, auditioning with a bad actor or a great one, in a small room or a large theatre, stay focused and don’t allow unexpected incidents to upset you and/ or put you “in your head.” No matter what happens, go with it and adjust quickly.
  • Motivate Out. For improvised and scripted on-camera scenes, when possible, find a way to “motivate out” your actions and/or dialogue at least fifty percent of the time to maximize your facial exposure. Most new actors constantly look at their partner(s), which keeps them in profile and they are upstaging themselves. Don’t cheat out. Learn out to “Motivate out.”
  • Look into camera. When auditioning with a reader and told to do the dialogue looking into the camera, don’t look back and forth between the two. It makes you look nervous.
  • Use the cue cards when needed. Most actors feel they will do better if they memorize the audition dialogue. That is true for many but if for one millisecond you are not sure of it, LOOK AT THE CUE CARD. It is there to help your audition. If you are convinced you know the copy and are stubborn about looking at it then you will go in your head to try to remember and will often loose the flow of your audition.
  • During the read, trust and commit to your instincts. Unless given a specific direction, don’t consciously perform anything you rehearsed. Some of the choices that you rehearsed might not feel right in that moment. Don’t interrupt your instinctive interpretation trying to perform them. Allow for your read to flow – you will most likely organically do most of what you rehearsed. When you are connected and “out of your head,” you are open to instinctive moments that are often better than those you planned.
  • Ask to do it again. When you feel your solo audition was lacking or if you have another interpretation that you would like to do, politely request, “If you have time, I would like to do it again” or “do another interpretation.” It is not a foul to ask. If they refuse, say “thank you” (mean it) and leave. It’s worth asking.

There is a lot involved in learning to do your best at commercial auditions.

For additional insights and tips, check out my book Hit The Ground Running @ www.hitthegroundrunningbook.com

Backstage experts: How To Find Your Type and Book Work

One of the biggest mistakes actors make is not knowing their type, or as often referred to as a brand. Most believe that they are actors and can play many roles. In a majority of theater, this is true because of the distance between the actor and audience. But on-camera, which is more intimate, who you really are and what your look represents is obvious, and character make-up and wardrobe can rarely shield that.

Read the entire article How to Find Your Type and Book Work on Backstage.com

4 Things to Consider When Finding an Acting Teacher

The teachers you choose to train with will be a major influence in the development of your craft, and thus will have a strong impact on your career. But so many actors choose teachers for the wrong reasons. Wither they select one who is less expensive, offering some kind of deal, located close to where they live, recommended by unqualified sources, they know actors in the class, or ONLY because the teacher is or has been a casting director. These are not good reasons for such an important decision. Don’t be one of those reckless actors who wastes money and time going in the wrong direction. Be in control of your career and those you are assembling for your team.

Commercial Acting Tips: Insider Audition Technique

Commercial auditions are challenging for most actors. Audition material or scenarios are at the most 20 seconds, which means you need to be up to speed right away. No time to get into the material. You are only in the audition room, on an average of 5 minutes. Just a few minutes to get comfortable, answer questions, take direction, hopefully get a rehearsal, slate and do one or several takes.

I believe that the following audition pointers that I formulated from personal audition experience, teaching thousands of students and observing actors who have auditioned at my casting sessions, will serve well your auditions for commercials (as well as TV and film):

  • As you walk into the audition, don’t think about anything you worked on. Let it all go. Be present to whatever happens.
  • Be respectful, positive and professional without losing your personality.
  • Give full attention to the person who is directing you: Don’t be distracted by anyone or anything. When you are being given direction, don’t be figuring out how to do what they are saying. Just listen and trust that you got it: otherwise, you might miss input.
  • If clarification is needed, ask questions. Questions are only irritating when they are unnecessary. Those running the session won’t think less of you because you request answers. Their input will help you to do a better audition for them.
  • While being recorded, if they talk to you or ask questions, don’t second-guess what they want to hear. They probably want to get to know you and see your personality. Just talk to them as opposed to trying to impress.
  • If the session director or CD is rude, short-tempered or seems ambivalent, do not take it personally. It may be their nature or they may be dealing with problems or previous actors who tested their patience. Stay pleasant, positive and do your work.
  • “Get centered” before starting your audition. Breathe, take one or two seconds before beginning or find your own way to “get centered” but don’t take a self-indulgent period of time to begin. Don’t be influenced by the anxiety or negative energy of those running the session.
  • Do not rush your audition. When actors are nervous or “in their head,” many speed up the dialogue or their improvised scenarios. When actors are connected and focused, they don’t rush. On the other hand, don’t speak really slowly or take long pauses between the lines.
  • Stay Focused. Whether you are auditioning for one person or a group, reading 
into a camera or speaking to an actor or a few actors, auditioning with a bad actor or a great one, in a small room or a large theatre, stay focused and don’t allow unexpected incidents to upset you and/ or put you “in your head.” No matter what happens, go with it and adjust quickly.
  • Motivate Out.For improvised and scripted on-camera scenes, when possible, find a way to “motivate out” your actions and/or dialogue at least fifty percent of the time to maximize your facial exposure.Most new actors constantly look at their partner(s), which keeps them in profile and they are upstaging themselves. Don’t cheat out. Learn out to “Motivate out.”
  • Look into camera. When auditioning with a reader and told to do the dialogue looking into the camera, don’t look back and forth between the two. It makes you look nervous.
  • Use the cue cards when needed. Most actors feel they will do better if they memorize the audition dialogue. That is true for many but if for one millisecond you are not sure of it, LOOK AT THE CUE CARD. It is there to help your audition. If you are convinced you know the copy and are stubborn about looking at it then you will go in your head to try to remember and will often loose the flow of your audition.
  • During the read, trust and commit to your instincts. Unless given a specific direction, don’t consciously perform anything you rehearsed. Some of the choices that you rehearsed might not feel right in that moment. Don’t interrupt your instinctive interpretation trying to perform them. Allow for your read to flow – you will most likely organically do most of what you rehearsed. When you are connected and “out of your head,” you are open to instinctive moments that are often better than those you planned.
  • Ask to do it again. When you feel your solo audition was lacking or if you have another interpretation that you would like to do, politely request, “If you have time, I would like to do it again” or “do another interpretation.” It is not a foul to ask. If they refuse, say “thank you” (mean it) and leave. It’s worth asking.

There is a lot involved in learning to do your best at commercial auditions. And for additional insights and tips, check out my book Hit The Ground Running