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Commercial Audition Techniques: Profiles

PROFILES: IN MOST EVERY ON-CAMERA COMMERCIAL AUDITION, AFTER SLATING, AN ACTOR WILL BE ASKED TO TURN SIDEWAYS AND SHOW THE LEFT AND RIGHT SIDES OF HIS/HER FACE AND BODY SO THAT THOSE WATCHING THE VIDEO AUDITIONS CAN SEE WHAT THEY LOOK LIKE FROM THE SIDE.

The reason “Profiles” are done is so that those doing the casting can get a clean look at the side views of the actor’s body. Most auditions especially those with dialogue are done facing the camera but in many commercial, actors move sideways or are working or speaking in profile.

So, the “creatives” need to see if actors are: Round shoulders, have a large or small chest, have a belly, receding chin, big nose have tattoos, the length of their hair, the shape of their head, etc..

If actors have any body issues that can be perceived as a distraction in the TV commercial, doing “profiles” will reveal them and that is why those making the casting decisions require them.

The profiles are done after the “slate.” The “slate” is done in a close-up or medium close-up then the camera zooms out as the actor does their “profiles.” Simple enough, right? It should be but many rookies don’t always understand what is needed.

UNPROFESSIONAL SLATES
Turning just your head (not your body) is technically a “profile” but is not what is needed at commercial auditions. Turning your head only to a 45 degree angle to camera doesn’t give the “creatives” what they need to see (which is the full body in profile). Other rookies profile mistakes that sends a very negative message is when actors are: Being ultra cutsey, turning too fast ore too slow, fidgeting, looking angry, confused, bored or has an attitude. Profiles done any of these ways make the actor look like an amateur. Why would those casting even bother to take the time to watch the audition work of an actor who can’t even do simple profiles in a professional manner.

GOOD PROFILES

To do a Professional “Profile: Be relaxed with a positive and confident energy. Turn your body to the right at a 90 degree angle, stand for a second, face the camera then turn you body to the left at a 90 degree angle, hold for a second face the camera then turn toward camera and smile. Although you are relaxed, be sure to stand up straight- shoulders back and tighten your stomach muscles.

SIMPLE IS PROFESSIONAL

You might be thinking, “how boring”. Well, it is regimented for an important purpose. Your personality and essence will be present in your slate and your audition. The profile just needs to be done simply and professionally then it will send the right message about you.

You probably assume that now that you have read this article that you understand how to do it and will have no problem with doing your “Profiles.” Just to be sure, I suggest that you video yourself doing your “Profiles.” If it is not clean, practice a few times and record yourself once again. To see how to do professional PROFILES watch, my FREE video, PROFILES at mastertalentteachers.com

There is a lot involved in learning to do your best at commercial auditions. For additional insights and tips, check out my book Hit The Ground Running @ www.hitthegroundrunningbook.com and for more information on Commercial Acting Classes: http://carolynebarry.com/workshops/commercial/

Commercial Auditions: Slating

At the start of an on-camera commercial audition, actors are requested to “slate” their name – a “slate” is the actor introducing himself or herself to the camera before beginning their audition. Saying your name seems so simple, which is why many give it no real thought. This can be a mistake because the slate provides important information about you. It depicts confidence or lack of, essence and personality and often gives those making casting decisions a reason to watch or not watch your audition.

There is a lot involved in learning to do your best at commercial auditions. For additional insights and tips, check out my book Hit The Ground Running @ www.hitthegroundrunningbook.com and for more information on Commercial Acting Classes: http://carolynebarry.com/workshops/commercial/

On most initial commercial audition videos there is usually a minimum of 50 to 200 actors per day who are viewed. It is about two and a half hours worth of auditions that the powers-that-be who do the casting will watch in an average of just 30 to 45 minutes. So more than half the actors are not thoroughly viewed or seen at all. Granted, actor’s looks are a strong determining factor in getting callbacks and bookings, but their presence and how they connect on the slate also has influence. Because normally during those few seconds that it takes to do the slate, those watching will determine whether they will view that actor’s audition or skip it. There is no second chance to make a first impression. This is especially true for commercial auditions. So SLATING is important.

From years of casting and teaching, I have seen most of the ways that actors make bad first impressions with their slates. When actors are:

• too perky or “cutesy” or if they have a forced smile on their slate, it appears that they are trying to be “commercial” or working too hard to be likable, which makes them seem insincere, insecure or badly trained
• moody, sullen or arrogant, it gives the impression that they are going to be a problem
• slick or uptight, they appear unbelievable or unlikeable
• not making eye contact with the camera, they seem afraid, shifty or inexperienced
• working hard to be interesting, they look amateurish
• too fast or softly, it makes them appear nervous
• too slowly, it often comes off as patronizing or monotone
• too loudly, it suggests they have done more theatre than film work or that they are trying to reach the camera with their voices, which makes them appear inexperienced.

Although the camera is ten to twenty feet in front of the auditioning actor, it is framing, for most auditions, from the actor’s chest or neck to the top of their head – so the image and the audio will appear as if the camera were just three feet away. Therefore, projecting vocally is not a necessity; in fact, it is a distraction and can make actors look amateurish. Those who have done a lot of theatre tend to speak loudly.

Most actors don’t knowingly choose to do their slates any of these disempowering ways. It is usually an unconscious act, habit or a manifestation of their nerves. If you have been told or feel you are not authentically introducing yourself on your slate, then you should give it some attention.

Bottom line, a slate is a positive introduction, not a presentation, announcement or line reading.