Friday, November 4, 2011

A Day in the Life of a Commercial Audition

The Client: Dunkin Donuts
The Role: Ethnic Businesswoman
The Location: 200 S. La Brea

That’s all I knew before my commercial audition yesterday. And that’s typical – information always seems to be sparse and general when it comes to commercial casting. Walking into the casting office and seeing who else was called for the audition tells me much more about what I’m in for.

On this particular day, the waiting area at 200 S. La Brea was packed full. There was an audition happening in every casting studio with a corresponding crowd of actors hovering about, waiting to get called. In one corner, a gaggle of little girls in ballet tutus with their moms. In another corner, tall, gorgeous models in high heels.

The crowd gathered around the Dunkin Donuts sign-in sheet appeared to be every shape and size possible. Black guys wearing gas station shirts, Asian people in business suits, redheads in tight skirts, etc. – clearly a cross-section of America. Because America runs on Dunkin!

I signed in and passed the waiting time by catching up with old friend Stephon Fuller, a working actor I met my first year in LA. He’s worked steadily for years in TV & film, chronicling his acting adventures in his blog My Long Ass Bio. We’ve always shared a belief in working smarter and harder to put ourselves on the Hollywood map. Case in point – he booked a role opposite Tom Hanks in The Terminal from a headshot drop-off. That’s badass.

Finally, the casting director called my name along with about 25 others to go into the room for an explanation of what the audition would entail. CDs often do explanations in large groups so they don’t have to repeat themselves all day. This setup couldn’t have been simpler – stand in a single-file line and act like you’re waiting to buy Dunkin Donuts. Got it.

When it was my turn, I filled my head with images of pumpkin muffins and breakfast flatbread sandwiches and hot spiced apple cider. I channeled my passion for Dunkin Donuts and acted the hell out of waiting in line, I tell you whut. (Kidding.) After about 10 seconds, the CD said, "Thank you!" and I was done.

Needless to say, I don’t stress about commercial auditions. They probably saw 100 actors yesterday for a handful of standing in line roles. The people who ultimately get cast will probably be a diverse collection of looks and types. They’ll know if they want my look and type in less than those 10 seconds and that’s all there is to it.

So I concentrate on having fun. And what could be more fun than auditioning to wait in line? And get paid to do it!

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