Resourcesmake it Your Business to Know Our Business

Smart actors are always working on the business of acting, and they continue to look for ways to get seen or heard. Business-savvy actors often ask if it's helpful to send their headshots and tapes to ad agencies and production companies. I wish I could tell you it's a great way to be remembered, but it's not. Those materials just get thrown away. Agency and production people just toss your stuff in the trash because they're so busy creating and managing advertising that they don't have time to...

Word About Hats And Colors

Don't forget that audition rooms are usually lit from above like a night game at Wrigley Field. If you wear a big hat (like a western hat) during the audition, it'll shadow your whole face and hide your eyes, and that's not a good thing for people who make their living with their faces. That goes for hats in general. Sometimes you're better off just holding it or setting it down. If you think it's necessary to wear one, here's a tip keep it on for the start of your slate,* then take it off when...

Acknowledgements

I had a lot of fun writing this book. I had a lot of help writing it, too. Without question, I couldn't have done it without the incredible support and encouragement of my wife, Cora Lea, and the quiet, positive energy put out by our buddies Bunny, Mutt, and Carmel. When I was looking for a publisher, Allworth Press asked me if I was seeking a home for my book and I couldn't have found a more responsive and professional team to work with. Publisher Tad Crawford, editor Nicole Potter-Talling,...

And Now A Word From Our Sponsor

Let's take a quick break from our commercials to talk about the people responsible for them. Rita's Fajitas, AllerGood, and the rest are fictitious advertisers, but real or not, their scripts and boards have yielded a lot of good stuff to use based mostly on observation. But say for a moment that these were real brick-and-mortar companies. If they really existed, you might be familiar with their advertising from what you've seen on TV or heard on the radio. However, it's quite likely you...

Are You Ready Some Words From The Wise

Okay, you've looked over the script and discovered what the concept is, you have a fair idea of how the spot's constructed, and you've found a line that's got the element of surprise to it.You've got a good idea about how this spot works. But before you make any final decisions about how you fit into this thing, take a few seconds to visualize the spot in your head. Watch it play on your mind's TV. Don't worry if your inner vision isn't how the spot will really be shot the idea is to allow...

Badhair Days

Died and your wife ran away with a bass player, you were caught in traffic, you hate the part, or you hate your agent for sending you for parts you hate. No matter what, you've got to leave all that crap outside, because we'll sense it. Immediately. Even worse, an actor will come in and be just downright adversarial in her demeanor, like we were the enemy or something. Maybe it came from a snub by someone outside (where it should've stayed), or she genuinely feels superior to all this...

Be Really Honest

Do you have it You know what it is, don't you One day I was standing at the necktie counter at a Nordstrom out in the San Fernando Valley. It was one of those summer days in L.A. when it's so hot that everything seems to have a grayish-white cast to it, like ash. In an act of overcompensation, the store had the air conditioning turned up to stun, and I really noticed how chilly it was. But as I perused the ties, I began to notice something else a presence to my left, about ten feet away, that...

Before Going Into The Studio

This piece of advice applies especially to callbacks. Please leave all of your bags, wardrobe, children, and what-have-you (except your purse, ladies, and something to tie back your hair) outside with the casting assistant. Bringing that stuff into the studio becomes baggage that you have to stash and attend to, and that takes precious time away from your main reason for being there focusing on the work. What's more, it's a huge distraction to us. Some actors think they've discovered this...

Before We Go On Whats a Concept

A concept is a potent idea that can be best expressed in a few words, but no more than a few sentences. A good concept will kick-start visual thinking. A good concept is loaded with possibilities. We encounter concepts in all facets of life Shopping malls. Democracy. Sport utility vehicles. The poor little rich kid. Theme parks. Bert Parks. Natural foods. Hip-hop. The new Hooters out by the lumberyard. A concept for a play might be A man who manufactures airplane parts cuts corners to save...

Bodacious Burgers

The advertiser is Bodacious Burgers, a chain famous for their Big Ol' Burger. The main character is the Referee, so concentrate on him. (Apologies ladies, the Referee could just as easily be a woman.) We'll pretend that you've been told that the part is a straight-looking guy in his mid-twenties and he's the referee of an arm-wrestling match in a bar, but that's about it.You're going to have to get most of your information from the board and the VO. (In chapter 9, you'll get some awesome tips...

Can You

Hopefully, you've found out that there's no such thing as acting anymore, is there Really, acting is the wrong term. Acting is pretending. The new term is being, and being is the pure state of existence that makes situations real. (For familiarity's sake, throughout this book, I'll use the words act or acting, but I really mean being.) Oddly enough, you may look at a TV commercial and say, Yeah, but that looks so unreal. Don't think that way. Because honest to goodness, when it comes to TV...

Common Sense

Please arrive early enough to your call to allow yourself time to find out what studio you'll be in and to study the script and storyboard and get focused. 'Nuff said. If you're running late or stuck in traffic, or you're just not going to make it, phone your agent or representative and have her call the casting facility for you. Never call the casting agent personally. You won't make friends that way. Like I said, kids are often there to read for parts, too. They're there for a reason. But...

Creating A Tv Commercial

On the surface, TV commercials, films, and television (episodic, sitcoms, etc.) all seem to be cut from the same cloth. Stories, characters, actions, and motivations are captured on film or video and edited into a cohesive piece, true but the difference with TV commercials is that there are a lot of different sales elements at work. Don't ever forget that the main purpose of a commercial is to sell something, and so commercials are built upon such factors as the USP, the target market, brand...

Every Picture Tells A Story

The board should reinforce your understanding of the concept of the commercial that you've derived from the script. Use the visual clues in the storyboard to clarify elements of the commercial, but unless there's no script and that sometimes happens don't use it as your absolute guide. If you get confused, put it aside and use the script or the directions you've received from the casting people. TIP The best use for a storyboard is to clarify elements of the commercial. Here are some things you...

Get Serious

Or, at least you think you're not acting.You think you're good at being. So, why do you want to do commercials I can see you scrunching up your face and coming up with some good reasons which you probably have. But a lot of actors want to do commercials for the wrong reasons. And, just like a bad poker player who tells the other players he's bluffing by nervously scratching his ear or lighting a cigarette, when these actors appear on tape or in the studio, they show...

How To Get The Most Out Of Studying Tv Commercials

Do this Watch TV and record a variety of thirty-second commercials that have actors in them who look like your type. Preferably, you'll want TV ads that meet our set the bar high criteria for maximum dialogue, maximum character screen-time, and overall high quality. And you'll want to avoid recording spots that are heavy on the product and light on the talent, such as car commercials they spend most of their thirty seconds with running footage showing off the sheet metal. TIP Record TV...

How to Listen

Here's the best thing you can do to get over your nerves and begin listening Once you come in and you've scoped out the room, create a dialogue with the director. A dialogue causes you to start working with the director. And once that relationship starts, you'll be listening. You'll be working instead of worrying about all the other distractions in the room. Want to know a secret Confident actors always ask questions. TIP Confident actors always ask questions. New people are afraid to ask...

Improve With Improv

I encourage every actor to take improvisation classes. Improv teaches you how to work naked with nothing more than an idea to play off. You survive by your wits without the security blanket of a script. This is scary. But the challenge is really worth it because improvisation techniques will force you to use your head, and condition you to embrace those moments when the train goes careening off the rails.You'll have an advantage over everybody else because you'll know that when something goes...

In the Waiting Area

You've fought the fast-lane maniacs up the sunbaked 405 and finally, mercifully, found a half-shaded parking spot. The exhaust mixes with the snow as the bus pulls away and you hike your shoulder bag up protectively as you look for the address. Past two panhandlers and up the stoop is a steep narrow stairway that smells familiar, like a school lunchroom. You trek across the searing parking lot. The snow swirls around the numbers over the entrance. You can hear your heart as you climb the green...

Instructions

Commercial scripts are peppered with video instructions and stage directions. When Shakespeare used stage directions, like these from various scenes in Hamlet, he meant it Same with TV commercials.You'll see video instructions like this OPEN ON MEDIEVAL-CASTLE COURTYARD Camera instructions look like this CAMERA PULLS BACK TO REVEAL BOOM BOX And stage directions look like these She takes a sip of Coke. He bites into the burger. Within a script, these brief, blatant instructions may be called out...

Its Time for Your CloseUp

Before any commercial-casting director takes a look at you, you've got to take a hard look at yourself. Not just the way you look, but the real you. If acting is about finding the truth, then actors must find the truth in themselves. This can be hard for some people, but when it comes to acting in commercials, the truth often needs to be scrubbed clean and revealed. Can you handle the truth Over the years I've found it good business to audition stand-up comics for certain roles. Those that...

Land Mines and Gold Mines in Commercial Scripts

A house doesn't have to fall on you for you to realize by now that all this attention directed at a commercial's DNA the concept, target market, brand personality, tone and manner, and executional styles (those advertising motivators) are elements you should be aware of when you look at a script for the first time. I hope that you devote time to recording and investigating commercials, so that every time you put your ass on the line for a job, you'll be able to give yourself the advantage that...

Leave The Selling To Us

This should be a no-brainer, but agencies see this happen way too often. It's the most misguided performance choice an actor can make, and that's when actors usually new ones try to sell what's being advertised in the commercial. Turning a line or lines, or a piece of business, into a statement that is overtly selly is the mark of an amateur. TIP Don't overtly sell a product. Keep it real. __ Ads are ads. Selling is the purpose, yes, but except in the case of Anti-Ads, the ad agency has...

Listening Problems

So, there you are, checking out the space and trying to take focus, and suddenly, out of the maelstrom of activity in the back of the room, a tall dude in a baseball cap with an English accent is talking to you. It's the director He's just gotten off the phone about a film deal he's been trying to close, and now he's turned his attention to you. And he's giving you key instructions about the scene you're about to play. It's time to listen, and I mean really listen. I can't tell you how many...

Making Choices

Bernard Hiller advises, A savvy actor is someone who comes into the room with an idea in mind. The commercial will give you ideas, but you should come up with some other ideas, as well, to show them, 'Hey, let's try it like this or like that.' I recommend that actors not do exactly what's there, but to do more. Give them more than they expect. Whether you think it's the wrong one or the right one, come in with a choice. Even if it's wrong, you're better off than having no choice at all. Because...

Messin With The Script

A major mistake that some actors make is that they somehow feel that they need to rewrite the words or change a piece of designated action. We've had people ask, Uh, are you guys married to the concept Well, gee, let's think about that for a moment. Mmmm. Why, by golly, no Are you a copywriter Wow, really Yeah go ahead Intentionally rewriting our precious script is like writing your own death certificate. Unless you've been specifically asked to improvise an entire scene, please, do not...

O What an ad agency bases its casting decisions on o Ad agencies criteria for choosing you for a part And as many ads

You'll be surprised how behind-the-scenes information like this can give you an edge over other actors up for the same part as you. Because, as a commercial actor more than in any other performing discipline you need to be prepared for anything. You're walking into a very stressful situation where you're always going to cold-read in front of people who don't know the first thing about acting, and you realistically have only two to three minutes to get a job So the point is, if you know how to...

Oh Behaave The Seven Deadly Sins Actors Commit in Front of the Agency

The contestant is led in to stand under the bright lights in front of the omnipotent camera. Cue the music. Zoom in. It's time for another episode of I Left My Brain Outside, the nutty, embarrassing, exasperating little show that agency people watch about three times a day. This not-so-entertaining show always stars people who are clueless about where they really are. They think they're in an audition studio, they think this is all about them, but they're actually in our...

Ordinary People Watch TV for the Entertainment Commercial Actors Watch TV for the Commercials

Would you like a free education that'll make you a better commercial actor Of course you would, and there's a teacher standing by ready to start classes immediately. It's your TV set and your VCR or DVD player (or whatever recording technology you use).They're your windows into ad agency thinking. Now that you've read the Process sections of chapter 4, you should have a fair idea of the elements at work inside a commercial the concept, the brand personality, the tone and manner, and the target...

Perfection

They think that what we're going for is perfection, but striving for perfection generally leads to a canned performance, which is the worst kind of acting. Actors who strive to find reality, with all the little imperfections and unexpected little nuances that make performances real, are the ones who get the job. The people who can inhabit the character without becoming a tomato will get hired. Try to find a way to be loose and spontaneous, because that's when you...

Questions You Can And Cant

Common sense says don't go overboard with questions. But many actors make the mistake of not asking any questions. They either don't know what to ask or they're afraid to ask because they don't want to appear foolish by asking the wrong questions. Either way, they're screwing themselves, because on the battlefield of an audition, the landscape is always changing. Actors who ask the right questions are going to put themselves in a better position to win. Actors who know which questions to avoid...

Sample Frames

The next few pages contain individual storyboard frames that represent some of the more common storytelling situations we've discussed above. There's no way this little sampler of frames will give you a master's in frameology, but it should at least help you get familiar with some basic information individual frames can impart. Since the same storyboard artist drew all these, his style may make it appear that they're from the same commercial, but they're not. These frames are for stand-alone...

Setting the Bar High

In the eighties there was a very funny, successful Bay Area-theater director actor named Doug Johnson who moved to L.A. and became an extremely successful commercial actor.You'd see him all over TV in all kinds of commercials, and, like all successful commercial actors, he appeared mostly in small parts one-liners, a guy in a crowd who reacts to something off-camera, the snoring husband, a guy walking by a swimming pool who gets splashed all kinds of little bits and stuff. (And every...

So You Didnt Book The

Boo hoo The phone didn't ring the next day. Damn you're thinking. I did my homework. I figured out the concept. I knew who I was in that commercial. I came in ready to work. I nailed it What did I do wrong If you honestly, truly feel you did everything right, you're probably right, so don't beat yourself up. Don't take it personally, because despite the obvious reasons you didn't get cast, remember there are a hundred others that have nothing to do with you You could have been called in because...

Something Stinks

You will encounter an amazing array of situations asking you to do mostly harmless, silly things. But let's face it there are a lot of shitty TV spots out there that do degrading things to actors. Somewhere along the line you may step in one and have to make a decision whether you'd really want to do it if you indeed booked it. Are you desperate enough to work that you'd do something that's against your principles Badly need the money Well, gee, I hope you're not in that frame of mind, because...

Standard Procedure

When you show up for either an initial call or a callback, a couple of standard events take place. In the waiting area you'll sign in and then fill out a small form (the size sheet) that asks you about your height, weight, sizes, and such. At some point they may take a Polaroid of you and attach it to the size sheet.When your name is called you'll take those inside, along with your headshot. (Keep extra headshots on hand just in case another casting director spots you in the lobby and says, Do...

Storyboard Elements

For the sake of brevity, cost, and covering all the bases, ad agencies pack every frame of a board with as much information as possible. Each frame is considered to be a shot, but in reality it might take a lot of shots to accomplish the action of one frame. Most boards average about eight to ten frames some are longer (especially for vignette-style commercials), but many are shorter, resulting in what are called key frames, in which the action is compacted down to its most important elements....

Storyboards

If a script is a road map, then a storyboard will give you the topography. A storyboard is like a comic book. It's an illustrated version of the script, highlighting key visual moments in the story a graphic guide that serves a couple of basic purposes. Just like a comic book, its main function is to tell the story in an exciting and provocative manner. It's also used to present the concept of the commercial in broad visual strokes to the client (because clients usually don't think in visual...

Table of Contents

Xiii Prologue The Other Side of the Room 3 Chapter Two You versus the Business of Commercial Acting Can You Act Get Serious The 20 Percent Why Some Actors Work and Most Others Don't 12 Chapter Three It's Time for Your Close-Up Taking Stock Who Are You Do You Know What You Look Like Look in the Mirror Be Honest Be Really Honest 19 Chapter Four Advertising 101 How an Ad Agency Works, How Commercials Are Created, and How You Can Benefit The Ad Biz in a Nutshell Creating a TV Commercial The Players...

Taking Stock Who Are

Probably the most liberating and identifying question that can be answered by immersing yourself in a commercial class is, What makes me special What do I have that no one else has Everybody has a quality about them that people can define. What's yours Whatever you are, it's something that makes you different from everyone else. In advertising, we call this the USP the Unique Selling Proposition and it's that singular thing that sets a product apart from every other one. Ad agencies ferret out...

The Ad Biz In A Nutshell

Advertising is like that crazy old aunt who lives in the little room upstairs in the attic. Everyone knows she's there, but nobody likes to talk about her. W. L. Jenkins For some reason, the ad business has always existed behind a veil of mystery and myth. Unlike a washer repairman, or a dentist, most people aren't quite sure about ad agency people or what they do. The old stereotype is the cocky guy who has two martinis for lunch and then bangs out a couple of ads before quitting time, like...

The Button

When you watch commercials you'll notice that many of them will end with a little scene that caps off the entire spot. Often the final shot of the product will appear, then this last scene. It's called the button. The Rita's ad has one and so does Dreamy Cream. This is the button for this chapter. Someday you'll be handed a script, and after looking at it for awhile, you'll be able to use it like a road map to get you to a place where you know how to fit into the commercial. The map will point...

The First Thing To Look For In A Script

Some of you more experienced people who are reading this are going to say, I know pretty much what to look for in a script, okay But I'll bet there's something some of you always miss. Take a look at our Rita's Fajitas script from the ad agency printed below. Look hard. DATE 2 23 04 R. I CLIENT RITA'S FAJITAS PRODUCT SPICY FAJ1TA WRAP JOB R.F 4704TV COM. RFT 1420 30 SECS. AIR DATE 3 3 04 TITLE JAZZ GUY DESCRIPTION TEST S.F. SLC LA DATE 2 23 04 R. I CLIENT RITA'S FAJITAS PRODUCT SPICY FAJ1TA...

The Last World

You know, it really is cool to be sitting on the couch and a TV commercial comes on and you go, Hey That's my spot Whether you wrote it, directed it, or especially, appeared in it, seeing your work on air at the same time millions of other people are watching is a hit. I wrote this book so that possibly, you can enjoy that moment, too. Hopefully the message of this book has been more encouraging than discouraging. I truly feel for actors. It's a tough business. Hang in there. Good luck. I'll be...

What Do You Do

One day you could walk into a room as chaotic as a rush-hour subway station. Or you could be ushered into a gloomy funeral parlor and be met with a stony wall of silence and believe me, that's really weird. Ya never know. Often someone new to all this will enter and suddenly resemble a nun who's somehow stumbled onto a porno shoot. To quote Ralph Kramden Homina-homina-homina. So what do you do How do you react How do you focus No matter what, try not to pick up on the energy of the room. Even...

What Happens After Youre Gone

All day we've been making notes and stacking pictures in three piles Yes, No, and Ehh Now, the pictures begin to shift from pile to pile. As the Yes pile gets smaller, the arguments get more passionate. Time and again we'll replay the videotape to review performances and weigh them against our criteria. Back and forth we'll go, making a case for our picks. Who has the most powerful vote If it's an experienced agency and a big-time director, the director has a slight edge. If it's an...

What To Expect

For those of you who've never been to a commercial call before, there's only one word that can describe what waits on the other side of that door Bedlam. Like any waiting area for an audition, it's filled with adrenaline and dreams. But this is different it is not the hushed atmosphere that exists before you go in at South Coast Rep and Long Wharf or the Manhattan Theatre Club but more like the waiting area for Southwest Airlines at Thanksgiving. When you walk through the door, you're going to...

When Things Go Wrong

But what if I blow a line or get lost you ask. That adds time. Yes it does, but this is an audition and we don't expect you to perform everything exactly right in thirty seconds, and neither should you. Obviously, at a first call or even a callback, you'll be in unfamiliar territory. Naturally, words get bobbled or a script can take longer to perform that's bound to happen. So don't put a lot of pressure on yourself by trying to do everything right. You can't. You'll make yourself crazy....

Working With Props And Pretending

Production companies hire hand models for all the intricate, close-up stuff like turning on switches, chopping vegetables, picking up and displaying small items and so on, so don't get too hung up about actually doing such tasks. However, you are going to find yourself in situations where the script calls for you to bite into a sandwich, or stock some shelves, or drive a car, or assemble a bicycle, or drink a beverage, or perform any of a million everyday tasks that put you in touch with an...

You Must Be Believable

We have to believe that you are being that person in the commercial. As I laid down at the very beginning of the book, we don't want to see any acting. And, as I've discussed, we want to see you. When Danny Levinson looks at auditioners, he's impressed by people who are genuine. You're looking for personality, but you're looking for their personality. First and foremost, I want to know that you're intelligent, that you understand what we're doing. And to be yourself. It's a weird thing to act,...

You Must Be Directable

The director has to feel strongly that you are an actor that he can easily work with.You may come in and be amazingly talented and special, but if the director sees that you can't listen, or thinks that you might be headstrong or a prima donna when you get on the set, then he may have second thoughts. Directors have a sixth sense for this. First call is a pressure situation, and they watch the tape to see how you handle it. If they don't sniff it out then, they definitely find out at the...

You versus the Business of Commercial Acting

I'm not going to quote all those labor statistics about how many people become actors every day and how just a few SAG actors make all the money. You're either someone who's deciding to be an actor and all the horror stories be damned, or you're somebody who's already made big sacrifices by becoming an actor you're dedicated, and you know how difficult it can be. So do I, and I wish you the best. In any case, you've been compelled to be an actor for various reasons, and I'll bet the most...

Working With The Camera

More often than not, you'll be auditioning in front of a locked-down video camera. Locked-down means that the camera sits on a tripod and doesn't physically move around. (Tracking or handheld camera work at auditions is pretty rare.) For the sake of keeping things simple, the camera generally sits in the same place, shooting from the same angle all day. Often the camera operator will zoom in or zoom out to simulate camera work that may happen during actual filming, but that's about it for...

Is There A Surprise In There

You've probably read for, or played a part where the script was saying one thing, but you were really playing against it. This dichotomy, this opposition of word and action, can lead to some really interesting drama or comedy, and it often appears in commercials, usually as a reveal. For instance, there's a commercial running these days that features a nice guy in his late thirties who's pictured in scene after scene enjoying the trappings of a really nice lifestyle. Each time we see him, he...

Does It Make A Difference What Time You Audition

Actors get concerned about the time that they're scheduled to audition during the course of the day. Is it better to be there early in the process At the end What if the agency's already made a decision and they're just going through the motions Because you don't have any control over the timing of your call, you shouldn't let it be a huge concern for you. Do everything you normally do to prepare. However, there are two situations to consider. First, if you read early in the session, everybody...

The Casting Process

Compared to other casting situations, the short production time frame and the fact that commercials are designed to sell something make a big difference in casting criteria and decision making. The ad agency gets stressed out because casting problems can cause delays and delays cost money. Bottom line, the agency is always focused on what we are trying to sell, and our decisions are based on what the spot is trying to achieve. How we do this is a demonstration of all those important DNA...

Choosing A Director

The agency producer's first order of business is to choose a director whose style is best suited to shoot the commercial. This, along with the producer's knowledge of a director's abilities and track record, will be the basis for her recommendations to the art director and copywriter, and, ultimately, the agency brass and the client. The producer will review lots and lots of director's show reels, and, in the process, weed out those whose style or ability doesn't fit, and, at the same time,...

The Difference Between The Initial Call And A Callback

The initial call (or first call) is one step up from a cattle call. If you're a newbie or the casting director doesn't know you, and the part is a nonspeaking role, sometimes, your audition may be a taped interview with the casting director. Longtime Los Angeles casting director Susie Kittleson advises actors to beware of a little chat like this. This isn't a casual interview it's actually an audition. While she's asking questions and getting to know you, she'll also be checking you out to see...

We Must Trust That You Are a Professional

Talent who appear on the initial call tape who are prepared and ready to go to work are the people who stand out from the crowd. There's an air about true professionals they seem to be in complete control, yet so loose at the same time. It's immediately apparent that they've done their homework and that they're comfortable in the situation. When we see that, our comfort level instantly moves into the warm zone. The best example of an actor who is the total professional is Hector Elizondo. In...

Megaphone

Ladies and gentlemen, it's the moment you've been waiting for Yes, it's the MegaPhone commercial Complete with script and storyboard. You didn't think we'd go to all this trouble discussing the creation of a MegaPhone ad without actually seeing it in the flesh, did you No way. The purpose of putting the MegaPhone script together with its companion storyboard is, first, to create an opportunity to see how a board can clarify and illuminate sketchy action and directions written in a script. And,...

Puns In Commercials

Two boll weevils grew up in South Carolina. One went to Hollywood and became a famous actor. The other stayed behind in the cotton fields and never amounted to much. Naturally, he became known as the lesser of two weevils. Ever since the dawn of advertising, even before the Egyptians began using hieroglyphics with subliminal messages, puns have been used as a creative staple. Puns are everywhere in advertising, mostly because they're such an easy, low-rent way of conveying an idea. Some...

The Creative Process

One day, after a powwow with the MegaPhone director of marketing, the suits tell the creative director that the client wants to air a thirty-second TV spot. Now, you can't just go off willy-nilly and dream up a TV spot. It has to be built on a strong foundation. So, the first thing the two camps at the agency do is get together and hammer out two important documents that will provide the basis for the advertising and the guidelines for its execution. They are a strategy statement, which lays...

Punch Lines

DOCTOR I've got good news and bad news. First the bad.You've got two months to live. PATIENT Gulp What's the good news DOCTOR I just saved a bundle on my car insurance with InsuraCo. Oh my. This old chestnut of a joke with the punch line cleaned up and turned into a product endorsement was actually used as the basis for a recent commercial in a loan company's campaign. It's here to illustrate that, no matter how lame the joke, it still needs to be treated with the reverence any comic piece...

Congratulations You Got the Part

All of your hard work is about to be paid off with one of the coolest, most fascinating, difficult, nerve-wracking, fun experiences you could ever have. The best advice I can pass along from working actors is to get a good night's sleep. The day starts early and goes on forever. Every commercial shoot takes on a life of its own, so I'm not going to take up much space here attempting to describe all the nuances. Besides, this is a book about auditioning, and hopefully...