How to Get Work in Commercials

by Ruth Kulerman

Behind the scenes of a movie set

Commercial agents are always looking for new faces and you do not have to be beautiful or handsome to book most commercials.


Short answer: Beat out the competition. How? Right look. A certain indefinable quality they are looking for. Dress somewhat appropriately (no ripped jeans if you're up for a young professional). Do something just a tiny bit original. I once booked a commercial where I was to walk a dog in a park. Most of the audition (on camera) was ad lib. I took a long chained purse, dragged it on the floor and kept gooing at my purse/dog. I am positive it was the purse/dog that booked that commercial.

The good news is that commercial agents are always looking for new faces. The even better news is that today you do not have to be beautiful or handsome to book most commercials. In fact the more "ordinary you are" the better. (Their euphemism is "real people.")

With a few exceptions, the ad is about the product and they do not want the actors to be particularly memorable. So send in your most natural looking headshot (no glamour here, unless you are stunning). Read our articles on self-submission letters, envelopes, be sure the agent does commercials and do your mass mailing. Also follow up with a postcard.

SAG commercials pay well. Even SAG extras on commercials can make a nice income. I know people who make an average of $35,000 a year as extras on SAG commercials. And please do not think you are demeaning yourself, or selling out, if you do commercials. It's all acting. And I cannot tell you how many casting people send out a call for a particular actor they saw in a commercial. So a commercial may lead to a sit-com audition. In fact, one casting director saw someone in a commercial, remembered the actor and is now tracking him down for some other job. A national commercial is a great step up the ladder, especially if you are the only person in the ad.

Do not make the mistake of thinking that booking a commercial is a shoo-in. I had a major agent who sent me out 67 times before I booked my first commercial. Yes, there were lots of "first refusals," a lot of "holds," and many "call backs" but 67 auditions before the first booking! Got to be a world record for rejection! But then can you imagine the delight in the middle of "Law & Order" of seeing yourself advertising Palmolive! So don't knock commercials. They pay well and the competition is keen and yes they really use trained actors for the most part.
Ruth Kulerman is an actress and coach, known for "The Off Season," "A Walk in the Dark," and "Satan Hates You." Her series of articles for "Actor Tips" is copyright by Chad Gracia and ActorTips.com, Inc. All rights reserved. For more articles on acting, as well as free monologues and acting supplies, visit www.actortips.com.
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Reader Comments

Hello this is Sylvia I really want to be in commercials...I am 27 yrs..i am from India..I always gets lots so compliments for my hai and for my eyes..and the way I talk everybody telling me you should try to get in commercials.. I was wondering where can I start...who can I talk to abt this?

Posted by Sylvia Baksh (2016-04-11) 7303

Hello!
My name is Dalibor Micic.I am 7ft4 tall and I would like to
do some commercials!I have my Web page.let me know if you are interested.
Thanks

Posted by Dalibor Micic (2016-01-03) 7265

im actualy 14 years old in highschool and have a great voice and I can act very well and I am a great model my friends and family always say I should be in movies and commercials and have singning gigs but no one I know has been able to find anything so maybe your answer will help me

Posted by Mya Kerr (2014-11-10) 7096

hello my name is Kim and i would really like an opportunity to do i commercial on TV .I M TIRED O STRUGGLING NEED HELP I WANT TO FEEL BEAUTIFUL I WANT SOME TO SPECIAL E ME PLEASE GIVE ME ANY HELP PLEASE

Posted by kimberly jackosn (2013-10-24) 6566

Hello, never been in any commecial, but im sure I got what it takes four a new challenge.I resign in Atlanta georgia.

Posted by Nancy salvador (2013-04-21) 6475

Hello I'm just wondering about something... I am 32 years of age and have a really unique voice I sound like I'm a little kid lol I work as a waitress right now and everyday people are telling me you should try to get in commericals because of my voice I was wondering if you could tell me how to go about getting in them??? Or if you guys ever need help with kids voices???

Posted by Sarah Finley (2012-12-06) 6350

I really want to be in commercials....where can i start...who can i talk to?

Posted by Dazjhanique Richardson (2012-11-07) 6324

I'd like to be in many commericals as possible. Live out my dream.
I live in Arizona. I travel to LA, alot.
If you can contact me i'd appreciate it.
Thank you for your time.

Posted by Jessica Sanchez (2012-01-03) 5329

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