Review: How to Audition for TV Commercials

How to Audition for TV Commercials by WL Jenkins“How to Audition for TV Commercials from the Ad Agency Point of View” by W.L. Jenkins was a pretty helpful read. I have only had a chance to audition for a couple of commercials thus far, and while reading W.L. Jenkin’s book, I realized that I have a tendency of making several mistakes that he pointed out. The best advice I took away from this book was don’t overact for commercial auditions, do your homework (research the agency, producer, etc. that you are auditioning for), and be calm, relaxed, and believable.

Aside from having several helpful tips and suggestions for ways to improve your craft at commercial auditioning (i.e. study commercials that are out there), Jenkins also reviews the commercial process from the ad agency’s perspective. I really enjoyed how he mentions the various stages in the process of creating a commercial. As a creative person, I am always fascinated by different creative processes, and I find it helpful knowing more about how a commercial is pieced together so I can feel more comfortable about the process the next time I have a commercial audition.

Jenkins touches upon the common styles of commercials, which gives an actor an idea of what to expect as far as commercial scripts are concerned. He also does a break down of the various terms used for “stage directions” in commercial scripts. And I thought his recommendations on questions to ask a casting director and questions you should definitely not ask were incredibly helpful words of advice.

Overall, I was pleased with the information Jenkins presented. After reading his book in one sitting, I feel more comfortable about the next time I stop by an ad agency for a casting call.

Review: How Not to Audition

How Not to AuditionI read “How Not to Audition: Avoiding the Common Mistakes Most Actors Make” by Ellie Kanner and Denny Martin Flinn all in one sitting. I liked the brevity of this book. Some “how-to” books have a tendency of being repetitive and not quick and to the point – this book did a great job of avoiding that problem.

Perhaps one of my favorite parts was how throughout every chapter there were little blurbs and quotes from actors or people in the entertainment industry sharing stories from auditions gone wrong or those that went well. It put a face on the experience of auditioning and helped round out the whole experience. Some of the tips and suggestions were things that I had heard before from reading other books on the same subject, while other tips were new to me – like the idea of playing a role and not a type. I also appreciated how the book reviewed how its best to avoid unproductive or negative attitudes which is something that’s easy to do when you’re pursuing creative work, a world where rejection occurs often.

It also provided some useful examples, like examples of acting resumes and headshots. I always think that the more good or bad examples that are pointed out and explained to me, the more I can improve with building my own resume or taking better headshots.

Overall, I finished this book finding myself inspired. I’m ready to get back out there with auditioning. And I’m also ready to start doing a better job at preparing for those auditions.

100 Monologues – Monologue #16: Running Away

100 Monologues is a project where I’m writing monologue scripts, performing, and filming the pieces. Since I’m beginning to dabble in acting, the project is meant as a means for me to acquire more acting experience where I can work on refining my craft. You can find out more about the project here.

Below is the script from “Running Away” monologue. The script isn’t exact to my performance above, but my performance is based on it. If you’re a student who would like to perform this monologue for class, just make sure you credit me, Maggie Coyle, as the author. For any other use of the script, please contact me.

100 Monologues: #16 Running Away

When I was a kid I used to fantasize about running away. I’d picture myself wearing a straw hat and carrying a knapsack over my shoulder – like the ones they show you in cartoons where they use a red handkerchief to bundle up your belongings and it gets tied to the end of a stick that you throw over your shoulder. I’d picture myself barefooted, walking off into the sunset on a desert or beach. I envisioned living a glamorous hobo life living in the woods, talking to nature.

And whenever my sister annoyed me or my parents snapped at me, I’d trudge to my room, slam my door, and swear I’d runaway. The furthest I ever got was around the block. I had packed my favorite doll, a handful of colorful marbles, and a granola bar in my teddy bear backpack. After a couple minutes of being a “runaway,” I ate the granola bar. Then a few minutes later I decided I was hungry for lunch so I went back home. I would “runaway,” I’d just have lunch first.

Review: Finding Your Voice

Finding Your Voice by Barbara HousemanI decided to take a look at “Finding Your Voice” by Barbara Houseman in hopes that it could help me with my acting technique. However, it looks like the target audience for this book are actors who have had a bit of voice work experience. For me, a beginner in this area, it was difficult to stay interested and keep my thoughts from wandering while reading through the first few chapters.

Overall some of the exercises seemed useful, and I liked Houseman’s description of how an actor should approach his or her craft with “quiet sureness.”