Commercial Casting Director
"All you can do is give the best audition you can, to please yourself" is
the advice of to Los Angeles based commercial casting director Danny
Goldman. "Work your craft, polish your skills and trust your talent while
you focus on one audition at a time."
"You can psych yourself out of a part" warns Goldman, be positive, enjoy the work and do your best. Never feel as if you live and die by any single audition, it's only applying for a job, auditioning for yet another possible role."
"Remember there is no rule, there is no right way, there is only what
you bring to the audition and your way for your audition."
It is important to understand the industry, but not to inherit its
stress or problems. "They exist and you need to know how they work, but in the end they exist only to give you the opportunity to work and earn a
There is a sense of constant pressure, high stakes and heads will roll
when you work within the adversity, according. "We deal with a very nervous set of management and creative people who must live with the constant pressure of remaining hip, very smart and very successful."
Actors need to understand the pressure others in the industry are under the same or in many cases much worse than those of a struggling actor.
"We all face the same industry trends, we are only as good as our most
recent job, and we all have car payments, mortgages and ways we want to spend our retirement."
Creative people "care about being innovative and remaining at the top of their game", directors about "finding that hot commercial", clients about moving product and pleasing their distributors, ad agencies about "getting clients to spend increasing amounts of money" and everyone wants to have those awards in their conference rooms or lobby's.
Goldman says that actors need to learn about how the industry works, but not to worry about the politics and pressures behind advertising.
Goldman's advice on auditioning comes from seeing between 200 and as many as 2000 actors for each role, every week for over 25 years. He says that while there are still vestiges of the traditional ‘commercial actor’ voice and image in New York, most national commercial casting now looks for real people. While they will see actors in one to as many as four cities, most national commercials now make sure to have a Los Angeles casting session. The youth oriented LA approach is the current standard, but the image remains Americana.
"They are looking for America, for real people. They hire actors because
actors can look comfortable and real on television and know just how much additional energy is needed to appear real on tape or film."
"Slow down when you read. Fast says you feel unworthy. Be sincere and real, do not put on an act." Goldman explains that being a character is not the same as trying to impress by overdoing characteristics or "showing off."
Do not sweat over your mistakes because "flubbing an audition is not as critical as you think. It can bring drive to the present moment, reality to your read."
Casting directors hear the words so often that what they are listening to is your voice, your energy and your personality. They can tell in a few
seconds what will work right on camera and over the radio for their client.
"Your job is to enjoy yourself. Everything else, all the decisions, have
more to do with the needs of a specific client for a specific project then
they have to do with your talent or look."
On the tools of the trade Goldman says your photo and your demo audio are key.
Photographs should show the definition of your skin, reflect you actual
age, not be glamorous unless that is who you truly are, and above all show your eyes and the quality behind your eyes. Goldman prefers tight headshots, but is acceptable and even desirable "if there is something about yourself that I should know."
Goldman recommends you are at a slight angle in your photographs, not head on, and that you have a real expression instead of a broad smile, again unless the broad smile is how you are in everyday life. Make it a positive or neutral expression for commercials, "leave the doom and gloom for film auditions."
Don't worry too much about a lack of credits on your resume, because "if we are having auditions we are looking for new people, all the time."
Commercial producers want "experienced virgins," people who are new and fresh but know how to perform and maximize the use of their time on the set.
Goldman likes to see theater on your resume. "It tells me more than TV".
He wants to see the amount and quality of your training.
List your special skills, including what your role is in real life.
" I like to know what you did and who you are."
The most important advice Goldman can give to an actor is "come in with a fresh attitude, do not appear to be burnt out or thinking about other things."