How to Get into the Top 1% of Commercial Actors: Part 1 of 2
When I first got to LA I thought “commercials, naaah I’m all about movies.” I only began to reconsider when I got a job running the accounting department at a TOP commercial agency in LA. Every day I processed checks for actors, some of which were making 6 figures in passive income from commercials.
I thought “…maybe it’d be good to check out commercials!”
Now I’m happy to say that in the last 18 months I’ve booked 4 big commercial campaigns and have a 3/5 callback ratio..
Before I got to Hollywood I never even considered commercials. Now I’ve come to find it’s an essential part of creating the time freedom to pursue TV/Film work.
So how can you get into the TOP 1% of commercial actors?
Step 1: Land a GREAT Commercial Agent
If you’re not going on at least 1-2 auditions per month for commercials, it might be time to change agencies.
Caveat, if your headshots are unprofessional i.e. shot by your friend or cousin or super outdated, you won’t get out for commercial work no matter what agency you are at. You know who you are 😉
Top commercial departments are open to signing talent with little to no experience if you present yourself as highly marketable (part of this includes your headshots, which I detail below).
Before you submit to any agency, check for conflicts. It’s ok if a commercial department has a few conflicting clients with your type. But if there are a LOT of clients in your category, the agency has your type covered and probably won’t take a meeting. Use IMDb to go through each agency’s commercial client list and ensure you are a missing piece in their roster.
Caveat, if one of those conflicts is name talent or an actor that works a lot theatrically they don’t count. Most likely, their theatrical schedule takes them out of the commercial game. The agent may keep them as a client for prestige.
If you’d like some awesome insider tips & tricks for landing a great rep, check out our free online training, Get Signed: 3 Insider Strategies to get an Agent or Manager.
STEP 2: Get Rich in your Niche: Take Specific Headshots
The commercial world is all about specificity. Watch commercials and get to know where you fit in. Everyone has about 4 types they play in the commercial world which fit into different categories.
For instance, check out my commercial shots below. Each headshot reflects a different type.
Millennial Hipster Think Taco Bell, McDonald’s
Genuine Aspirational Girlfriend, Barista Think Toyota
Quirky Intern, Entry Level Co-Worker Think Google
Friendly Customer Service Think Best Buy and Verizon
Your commercial types may not be the same types you play theatrically. Talk to your agent. Any top commercial agent should be able to give you specific types they want you to have.
PRO TIP: Ask your agent for examples of headshots from clients that get called in a lot and imitate those shots 😉
-Coach & Diagnostic Expert Alysia