Book TV Commercials

You Are the Character

By: Carolyne Barry

Actors are trained to play characters. From when you first began to train, the focus was on developing and being true to the character. With theater, film and television work, the actor’s responsibility is to bring them to life. I believe it is different for commercials. Commercials are very short and the roles portrayed are targeted at a specific segment of the population. There is no time to establish a character in the majority of commercials. In a few seconds, it has to be clear whom the actors represent and their roles. Those watching must see a semblance of themselves in order to identify and be motivated to buy the product. This is why physical types and essences are almost as important as talent in commercial casting.

If you don’t play characters, how do you prepare? I strongly suggest approaching the parts as ROLES YOU play. You play numerous roles in your life? i.e: Employee, boss, friend, spouse or significant other, child, parent, neighbor, student or teacher, working person or professional, etc.

Many of these parts featured in commercials, are roles you are or have played in your life. (Those for which you are physically right but haven’t experienced should also be doable with a little work.) Approach your auditions using your feelings and reactions. Focus on how YOU would behave or react in the given situation not a character you create. It is easier, faster and you’ll have better results when starting with the premise that “You are the Character playing a role”.

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