What will you learn in a commercial acting class that you might not learn in local acting classes? There is an extensive variety of commercials out there requiring different kinds of acting skills. From working with props and cue cards to improv to cold reading, an actor interested in pursuing commercial work must do extensive homework and learn from teachers who specialize in commercial acting techniques.
On Camera Acting Techniques
Learning valuable “on camera” technique is one of the core skills an actor needs to audition well and get hired for commercial work. On camera work is a discipline in and of itself. There are very different rules in commercial work. What’s different? On camera techniques require the actor to accomplish as much as they would for an intense theatrical role but, in a limited space. Rather than playing off of the energy of a live audience you are playing to an invisible one. This requires incredible skill.
Enunciation and vocal resonance are two skills common across the board but, controlling the volume of your voice for on-camera work are also important. Using an active imagination and being able to access those imagined realities can also help win commercial roles. There is little time to prepare using the script beforehand so any emotional preparation you can slip in before the reading is helpful. The right commercial acting class can help you discover those pools of resources you’ve built during other acting classes and repurpose them for use in the commercial world.
Slating Skills Are Part of the Audition
Slating is something every actor needs to be practiced in. Although a simple skill, learning to confidently mark your camera audition properly demonstrates that you are professional and experienced. You need to learn to be clear, while at the same time project something unique about yourself that will keep them from looking at you like “just another actor.”
Commercial Parts are the Ultimate Challege
There are “archetypes” of people that can be used as a reference for commercial actors. If combined with traditional acting techniques archetypes can be useful in creating a person the audience can identify with quickly. To rely on archetypes alone, however, is to diminish the value of commercial acting roles. In fact, commercial parts are the ultimate challenge for the serious actor. Those that can move beyond stereotypes and immediately access deeper, more complex layers of human interaction will be the better choice.
A commercial character is having a bad day. Mere body language intended to communicate frustration might involve textbook behaviors that we all expect. If that’s all we see, however, we tune out quickly because it appears to us to be a false “characterization. Imagine now, the character having a bad day while doing something joyful or fun but, with an undercurrent of rage or frustration. Done well, this kind of work will be far more authentic.
Other important acting skills that you will learn in a commercial acting class include spokesperson study, a slice of life and product placement. Of course, much of what you are asked to do in commercial work is dictated very closely by the ad agency, the director, and the corporate executives. What you bring to it in terms of complexity and unexpected direction is up to you. You may very well succeed in helping everyone see the ad in a new way.