Commercial Audition Tip #6




If you think your audition has gone into the crapper wait until you get out of the room before having a nervous breakdown.

Short of the Director telling you that you were terrible, you can’t presume to know where they’re at. The worst response is to slump your shoulders and look unhappy as you leave the audition room. On more than one occasion we’ve heard a Director say “I really like that actor but he seemed depressed.” Inevitably at that point they’re beginning to like you less.

Selling them on how badly you did is one sale you don’t want to make.

As to not assuming anything, here’s a prime example: At a callback session, the director was trying to work with an actor who was so nervous that we had to stop twice to get him water. Jon kept thinking: Please let this guy go. He’s in a panic. You’re never, ever going to hire him.

Long story short, something about him clicked with the director and client and the nervous actor got the job.

Do your best not to make assumptions. Sometimes actors think they’ve missed the mark, but without realizing it, a creative moment will bring it all to life for the Director and you’ll BOOK THE JOB.

Posted byActing Workshops with Jan and Jon at 7:21 PM 0 comments  





Ok, this isn’t exactly an audition tip but we feel there’s an important aspect of the business of acting that sometimes goes overlooked.

We all know that auditioning for commercials can be fun.

But there are some frustrations:

You never get to see yourself on-camera (Unless of course you book the spot).

You seldom get feedback.

Whether you choose our classes or not…

We highly recommend periodically taking an on-camera commercial workshop.

In a guided way, it’s a chance to take a look at what you’re doing. It’s very easy, over time, to unconsciously slide into habits that run counter to booking the job. Habits you are not aware of, until you see the playback.

Also, and we’re happy to say we’ve seen this many times in our classes, you can discover strengths on camera that you didn’t realize you possessed; this holds true for the experienced actor or newcomer to the business.

A once-a-year investment in an on-camera class is invaluable.

Posted byActing Workshops with Jan and Jon at 3:54 PM 0 comments  




It’s not unusual to see an actor deliver a fine audition but
there’s just something missing.

We all know that every casting studio occupies a neutral space.

It’s up to you to create the scene’s environment in your imagination.

If, for example, it’s an office scene create the space in your imagination – How many desks are there? Carpeted? Windows? Dark? Light filled?

When Kate Winslet is preparing a role she covers her office wall with post-it notes, does months of research, and endlessly analyses the script, including fully imagining a sense of place.
When she arrives on the set the background work she’s plugged into her imagination will help her to make the reality of the moment that much fuller.

Obviously commercial auditions are on a smaller scale but the process is the same.

Posted byActing Workshops with Jan and Jon at 1:50 PM 0 comments  

Audition Tip #3

Audition Tip #3

At an audition, before you look at the script, before you look at the storyboard remind yourself “This is a story about me.”

The actor’s job is to bring the story to life.
Hey, what better person to do that than you yourself.

Say it’s a scene where you’re unhappy with your credit card interest fee (And who isn’t!).
Well, anyone can frown and look unhappy.
What are you like when you’re unhappy?

The more you can put yourself into a scene the more creative you’ll be.
The experience of auditioning will be more rewarding.
And you’re chances of success will be that much greater.

Acting is listening, reacting and responding in a way that’s true to yourself.

Posted byActing Workshops with Jan and Jon at 3:00 PM 0 comments  

Commercial Audition Tip #2

The Commercial Script – Read It
Sounds obvious, right?
But actors frequently arrive at an audition, scan the script, quickly assess what they have to do in the spot and then proceed to visit with friends, go back to texting, or pace impatiently waiting to go into the studio.
The time can be better spent actually looking at the whole script; check out everyone’s lines and read the left hand column where the camera moves are laid out.
Why bother?
Why, because it’s to your advantage to have a full idea of what they’re going for in the commercial and how you fit into that overall picture. The goal should be to creatively personalize your audition in a way that fits the needs of the script.
You’ve driven all that way to the audition and no doubt struggled to find a parking spot. Why not make the most of it.

More on Personalizing The Audition in future blogs. Stay tuned.

Posted byActing Workshops with Jan and Jon at 1:26 PM 0 comments  

Commercial Auditions #1

June 21st, 2011
Going to a commercial audition?
First of all, get the word ‘commercial’ out of your head.
You’re auditioning for a short film.
If you were auditioning for a role in a short film would you be:
Looking at your watch, thinking I’ve got to get to the gym before the afternoon rush?
Visiting with friends?
Scanning your cell phone? Texting?
No, you’d be preparing to go in for the audition:

You’d be thinking about the environment of the scene, focusing on what you’re character wants in the scene, wins and losses, in short doing what’s necessary to prepare yourself to make your audition believable.
Well, it’s no different with commercial auditions.
You’re auditioning for a short film. Approach it that way.

And, of course as always, don’t forget to have fun.

Posted byActing Workshops with Jan and Jon at 12:15 PM 0 comments  

Hard Times for Scammers

We’re all going through tough times.
Even the scammers.
Used to be they’d approach you at the Mall, tell you your talented 8 year-old, ‘Kelsey’ had star quality. Flattered, you’d listen, all smiles as you were told about the open audition happening that day at a seemingly prestigious address (say, for instance Century City or an office building in Universal City).
All excited, you’d show up, they’d give you a script and have ‘Kelsey’ go in and read in front of a camera. Then they’d bring you in and tell you that ‘Kelsey’ had passed the audition and was now eligible to take a special acting class, in fact a series of classes lasting 6 months or more. Pictures would be included and it would only cost you $6,000.
Well, that was way over your budget you’d tell them. Then they’d start to get tough, tell you to just break down the cost. “When you think about it each class is under $50 and photos are included. And, for a short time only, we’ll include ‘Advice for Life’, call us anytime with any question except, ‘Would it be possible for me to get a partial refund?’ Think about it: the biggest stars in Hollywood send their kids to our school. In fact, the demand is so great you have until five o’clock today to decide.”

Well, this worked fine for the scammers but when hard times really hit many family credit cards were already maxed out.

What’s a poor scammer to do?

Then someone came up with the Big Idea: Go for Volume.
Charge less – twenty dollars sounds about right – draw in hundreds of star struck parents to gather for a huge seminar in a giant auditorium on “How to Break Into Show Business” (featuring a well-known celebrity…depending of course on availability.). Then there are pictures. ‘Kelsey’ must have a headshot. Ordinarily you pay $450 but with help from our management company you pay only $250. Yes, we’ll keep you going with classes, advice on clothing, contacts, seminars, pictures. Before you know it we’ll have hundreds of kids like ‘Kelsey’ under exclusive contract. Over time, with an obligation to only study with ‘our’ teachers we’ll still take thousands of dollars from you
All with minimal if not zero results.

Simple advice from Jan and Jon: whenever the total is ultimately going to be in the thousands it’s time to walk away. Always, always Google the name and check with the Better Business Bureau.

We love teaching acting. Yes, it’s a business but it’s also a calling and it’s our firm conviction that you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to help your child pursue their dream.

At the same time your good common sense can help create permanent hard times for scammers.

Jon Smet

Posted byActing Workshops with Jan and Jon at 12:55 PM 0 comments