Is there a difference in process/ prep between screen and commercial acting?
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Yes and no — acting is acting, after all! But generally speaking, you get less time with commercials and they move a LOT faster. So, I’ll present to you a Typical Commercial Audition & a Typical Theatrical Audition! This will be a two parter because it got LONG! Make sure you check out last week’s post about commercials!
I receive an email from my agent at 1pm. I have an audition! It’s for VERY HILARIOUS COMEDY SHOW and their offices are ALL OVER TOWN but I lucked out, I’m going to Burbank! My agent has included the breakdown, sides, and all pertinent information. 10am, Warner Brothers, I have a “walk on” (which means I have to park and …walk on). I print the sides and read them over.
2 pages, 4 lines, nothing crazy. I start just by saying them to get the feel of it. Great. Cool. Got them memorized. I start building the character by asking myself some questions — who am I? who is the person in the scene with me? what do I want? what’s my obstacle? who does that person remind me of in real life? And this can take as long or as short as I want – this is just creative work. Play. I play with the lines with different circumstances and see what works well.
I call my acting coach and ask to schedule a quick coaching. We meet that evening at 8 at his house and keep playing. I get to choose my movement for this one, unlike commercials where I’m told what to do.
I go home and chill – time to put it down. I know it. I live it. I’m ready.
The next morning, I’m up and out the door by 9. I don’t need an hour to get to WB but you never know if there is a delay getting on the lot or what. I beat casting to their offices and just wander around for a little — hey, it’s the Gilmore Girls set! I text a friend who has a gig on the lot but he’s not in yet. Too early.
At 9:45 I roll back over and wait outside for casting to bring me in. They call me in and the entire thing is a more intimate experience than a commercial audition. They know me here, they called maybe five girls in for this part. I’ve decided to do the audition standing so I can move around and keep my energy up so they adjust the camera for me, I read with the reader, and off we go!
When I’m done, I head out knowing I did all the work and I was good — and I had fun.