Yesterday I was out of the office to make an appearance on an upcoming TV commercial. I have been doing this off-and-on since 1983, when KTSP-TV in Phoenix asked me to record some audio for their public service announcements and commercials, and so my voice was, at times, heard all over the state of Arizona! Yesterday was the first time I had appeared in TV commercial in about six years.
For doing only a 30 second commercial, it literally takes all day. From the time you show up, have your wardrobe evaluated for suitability, go to makeup and show up on the set — the whole process takes 7 to 8 hours or longer. Detail is everything when shooting commercials, and oftentimes the role you are to play may change for the better or the worse. My role was changed yesterday, and for the better!
So you ask, how can I get involved in this? First thing is to create a talent resume and have a head shot made. Head shots are professional photos done for the purpose of choosing someone for a talent appearance. You have probably seen things like this in restaurants that are “celebrity” oriented, places like The Palm and Campisi’s on Mockingbird Lane in Dallas.
The second thing is to develop samples of your work. Voiceovers can easily be done at home and, in reality, most voicework today is done in home studios.
The third thing is to sign up on websites like VOPlanet.com, Voices123.com or Actorsaccess.com. This way you can get your work noticed by people looking for different types of voices and learn of upcoming projects.
The fourth thing — and the hardest thing — is to get an agent. I have three agents, but was helped by being introduced to two of them ahead of time, and one was a fellow student and friend at SMU in the ’70s. Talent agencies get so many submissions a day, and unless they know you are sending something based on a recommendation from someone they trust, it is very competitive. But if I can do it, so can you!
Above all, be professional! The unwritten rule in talent auditions is that being on time is being late, but being early is being on time! There are other unwritten rules I can pass along. If you want to know about breaking into the commercial talent profession, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
See you next time.
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