On August 13, 2008, I shot a CiCi’s Pizza Commercial as a game show host. I had been growing a mustache for a different commercial that I had been placed on availability for, as a cowboy. It was to be filmed in southern Spain, and I was very hopeful to be casted. I didn’t get that job, but the mustache was just perfect for the game show host that I was booked for. The pizza spot has the potential to be a national, with class A network residuals, while the one in Spain was a buyout with a one time only payment. My point here is that you never know what is going to work out for your benefit. If you can let go of disappointment stay positive, and accept that all is working for the best, it is most beneficial. In any case, I am happy and grateful for the work, and to be paid for doing what I love–acting.
Playing this character, I was encouraged to go over the top with my behavior, both physically and emotionally. Performing with this bigger-than-life level of energy works very successfully for some of our most popular comedic actors. There’s a reason for that success. Energy is like a magnet–it draws us to it. The more outrageous we are in expressing our energy the more the audience likes it. The human spirit yearns for this full expression of our emotions and thoughts. It allows us to ensure that everyone really gets and understands what we mean and feel in that moment.
To allow ourselves this freedom and to work with that level of energy takes a lot of willingness to play. To accept how and what you’re asked to perform as premise, and then do your best. Be willing, let go of any judgments you might have, and play fully. Remember, the director can always bring your energy level down, but if you have a lower energy level, he or she can’t know if you are capable of raising it higher. And the director won’t raise it for you. Only you can!
Commercials are great for actors. They provide a great way for actors to actually earn some money, and they are a great training ground for film acting. Commercials are now being shown not only on television, but also in movie theaters, and on the Internet. This gives us the opportunity to see ourselves in principle roles with close-up coverage, an invaluable tool for the film actor. It may take a long time to land a role in film or television that gives you this kind of exposure. Being able to watch yourself and learn what works and doesn’t work will improve your skills greatly. No one has to tell you, you’ll see for yourself.
If you’re not auditioning for commercials yet, what’s stopping you? Commercials agents are easier to get than film and television agents. They are always looking for faces. It’s easier to get a principle role and close-up coverage, which is what really shows your work big enough to be easy to study and learn from. Commercials give us the opportunity to survive financially, and improve our craft as film actors.
So, get busy and seek out commercial representation. Give yourself every opportunity to get work that pays well and helps you improve your art.