Commercials: solo dialogue

Audition Tips for TV Commercials – Solo Dialogue to the Camera

A challenge with monologue or solo dialogue commercials auditions is how to truthfully start speaking. With 10, 20 or 25-second copy, there is no time to work into it. You must be connected at the beginning otherwise those viewing your audition may lose interest and fast forward to the next actor. I believe that when you use a “who” and a short pre- life you will get an immediate connection to the dialogue.

Who: The person you have chosen to relate to with the copy. The selected “who” is one you believe that you can connect to best with a particular piece.

Pre-lIfe: the thoughts, feelings and/or action that the actor thinks, feels or does that precede and motivate the scripted dialogue or the physical action.

Both these tools are major acting and audition assets for scenario and scripted commercials as well as theatre, film and television work.

The “who” is primarily important for auditions when you are doing monologue copy to the camera, – not so much when you are auditioning with other actors. You might be thinking how can I speak to someone when there is no one there. Well, what about when you are talking on the phone? There is no one to see but you are totally involved in the conversation. And with practice, you can have that same connection with your “who” when looking into a camera.

I believe that people have a different energy, connection, tone and verbal delivery when talking to the various people in their life. For example I have a different relationship thus a different way I speak to my students than I do to my family or a loved one – also different than when I talk to someone I work for than I do with a funny friend. This is probably true for you.

Understanding this can help when you select the most beneficial “who” to speak to when preparing your audition material. Allow each piece of commercial copy to suggest a meaningful person for you to relate to.

In order to create an honest “pre-life” during your audition prep you must first DETERMINE YOUR “WHO.” Next, decide what that person said to MOTIVATE YOUR FIRST LINE. It is helpful to hear a short question. It is not only thing you can hear but it works best most of time. If you choose to see something, respond to it by having a thought or two. The pre-life happens quickly and should take one or two seconds (no more).

Now that you
Know who you are talking to,
Know what you have heard or seen,
Once you hear the words in your mind
Honestly react to it with a simple, physical, UNREHEARSED reaction.
Allow this reaction to motivate the first line.

The key to an effective pre-life is the simple physical UNREHEARSED reaction during which you might utter a little sound. If it is an honest reaction it will be different every time. When you are preparing, each time that you do a run through, allow for the “pre-life” reaction to be instinctive and different – not the same unless it organically happens. Trust, never question, your instincts while auditioning. Committing to them helps keep you “out of your head.” Don’t be concerned with how you are doing.

Auditioning using a “who” and “pre-life” should result in more callbacks and bookings. It also reinforces the craft, which assists actors in becoming better actors.

If you missed previous craft and audition technique articles and videos you will find them in the archive on my COMMERCIAL page on

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 @ and for more information on Commercial Acting Classes: