Ask Me!: Commercials?

What do you think about commercial work?

I love commercial work.

There used to quite a stigma attached to doing it, but I think that has lifted somewhat. Primarily because the craft of advertising has evolved and requires more out of its actors, directors and writers than the old “hold the bottle of ketchup, smile and say “Heinz Ketchup” whilst doing some Vanna White hand gesture.” Nowadays, ad execs are more interested in real people and commercials that have a little more artistic integrity (not ALL commercials, but a lot of them).

There are a whole bunch of great reasons to do a commercial:

1) Experience/exposure working on a set.

The more opportunities you can get to work on set, the better off you will be in the long run. It is such a chaotic environment and the stakes are high not only for you but for everyone involved. Usually, the clients of a commercial will be there, sitting with their laptops and commenting on every little thing they see – from the writing to the little ornament in the bottom of the frame. When it comes down to it your work as an actor is just a small part of that big machine and keeping your wits about you and being patient and flexible is extremely important and takes practice.

2) You will probably get to work with some stellar talent.

The first commercial I did, I was stunned to find out after the fact that the DP was Morgan Susser – one of the DPs from Rize. I’ve auditioned for commercials where Michel Gondry was the slated director or Kevin Spacey was the other actor.

3) It pays really well.

Union commercial work is a great way to make money as an actor. And if you’ve been acting a while you will know that it can be hard to make a living. Even non-union commercials can occasionally pay well – not always, but on occasion. FYI, if you are union (SAG) I’d even recommend doing commercial extra work. Your basic minimum is just under $400. That’s nothing to sneeze at. Non-union commercial extra work varies in rate and is usually un-paid or very minimal.

I love working as an actor and doing commercials is absolutely under that banner for me. It’s not always the most challenging work, but it is always extremely entertaining, nonetheless.

Ask thenycactor a question

About The NYC Actor

Angela Dee is a professional actress working in Film, Theatre, TV, Commercials and Voiceovers. She currently lives in New York.

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