COMMERCIAL AUDITION / COLD READ
This lecture is a living document and will be revised occasionally.
INFLUENCING ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Improv mostly and self-filmed. Learning about a product, person, or place and then talking about it for a few seconds to yourself on your phone screen, add photos, a tagline and you are done. Your work is in managing your media.
SPOKES & PROMOTIONAL MODELING
Loosely scripted and in-person. Product and Brand knowledge is imperative for success.
JOURNALIST & HOSTS
Scripted and usually with a teleprompter or cue cards. Quick wit, intelligence, and well informed.
The iceberg of the acting world. Scripted, Loosely Scripted, Improv…
Scary? Yes totally!
MISTAKES – NO PROBLEM
Mistakes happens, what makes a professional is how you handle them.
Do not react, do not apologize, do not ask to start again.
Simply re-start the sentence you made the mistake on and continue.
Every second counts.
Often a mistake makes the actor laugh-it-off a little, relaxes them and they have a better audition. And the director gets a glimpse at their genuine personality.
You are going to make a mistake – handle it like a pro. It happened and move-on.
Get a Script
Cold Read Auditions do not give scripts prior.
Fold it so only the words are showing
Read it a few times
Understand What you are saying, Context and Who you are Saying it to.
Say Product Name Clearly
Ask if you are unsure about how to pronounce it.
Memorize the first and last lines
Those are delivered without looking at the script.
Over Enunciate the words for muscle memory
If you do not feel awkward, you are not doing it right.
Practice using different speeds, inflections, tones.
It is not what you say, it is how you say it.
Make Notes on Script if Necessary
Transitions, up & down, pauses, emphasis…
Be Prepared to Deliver Your Script at several different energy levels.
They want to see if you can take directions and your range of energy.
Be Ready for Your Name to Be Called & Break a Leg
Saying Good Luck is an old entertainer’s superstition that has become tradition.
What About Acting Skills?
You acquire those in a dedicated acting course and experience.
Be confident and show your personality. This tiny amount of time may be all you have in front of a casting director. Auditions are only watched if the slate is good, or the talent fits the bill.
Practice in a mirror, video your practices, watch and correct your mistakes, re-video more practicing, watch and correct your mistakes, repeat, repeat, repeat…
Get it? It takes a lot of diligence and practice, practice, practice.
Before you arrive at the audition-
Warm Up Physically, Breathing Exercises, Vocal Warm Up, Diction, Tongue Twisters, Review Audition Notes, Double Check - Do You Have Everything?
Print Directions in case you lose cell service. Is your Go-Bag In the Car Ready?
Check Yourself: Wardrobe, Nails, Hair, Makeup or Not, Teeth, Breath, Deodorant…
Get Into Character.
LISTEN TO DIRECTIONS
The casting crew will let you know what to do for the audition.
They will tell you everything all at once and it will be over before you realize.
Take Your Mark
Stand equally on both feel, do not sway, or move out of camera frame.
Take a Breath
Breath from your diaphragm & Relax your Shoulders and Hands.
Look Directly Into the Camera
Be Confident – “You Are Marvelous Darling”
The Camera Operator will Count Down from 5 with their fingers then point to the actor indicating START. They will say IN 5, 4, 3
They do not say 2 or 1. “They just don’t.”
Bonus Points if you know what movies those retorts are from!
A Greeting Be Yourself but Do Not Raise Your Energy Too High
Your Name Use The Name You Want On the Credits
Your Age Unless you are over a certain age not worth mentioning
Your Agency Who Sent You to the Casting
PROFILE & TURN AROUND:
Turn to Right for a Profile Shot & hold 3 seconds
Turn to Left for a Profile Shot & hold 3 seconds
Turn back to the front before the turn around.
That is just how it is done. Consistency
Turn All the Way Around Slowly & LOOK INTO CAMERA
That camera is your best friend
UNCOMFORTABLY LONG GAZE INTO CAMERA
Until you hear “CUT”
Then you can quit gazing into the camera and say
Hold the script at eye level and to the side – out of the camera’s frame.
Glance at it for cues and deliver lines to the camera or casting director.
Hold the ending until the director says cut.
Say “Thank You for your time: and depending on their directions, you are finished.
Practice is the only way this will be natural.
***Do Not Over-Practice or Over-Coach and become bored and flat. Be prepared to repeat the script however the director asks.
BREAKING DOWN A SCRIPT
Excerpt from Basic Professional Modeling Workbook
Words in commercials should be expressed so that they sound like what they mean. For example, long words should be stretched to sound long. A long word, however, is one like far, long-lasting, or great value. Smooth words should sound smooth, silky and caress soft.
Learning the color of these words is one of the most important things you can accomplish. If you, as an announcer, read rough, raw, and irritated as if it meant smooth, soft, and comfortable, you are not expressing yourself in a normal manner. You would not really speak that way. The audience immediately deduces that you are reading.
An old actor once said to a young brash apprentice, “I do more acting with my pauses that you do with lines.” A pause is an effective punching device. Used before a product name, it brings it out of the sentence. Pauses also break up your rhythm, imparting a feeling of naturalness.
Always pauses after ‘gate’ words like:
Well, so, remember, yes, hi there, first, here, and, you see, now, so, ladies, finally…
Remember silence can be golden. To make a proper length pause, count to yourself in the space provided by the comma.
When people are speaking, they change the mood or tone of their voice when they change the subject. When acting, the change in mood and tone must be mimicked to recreate the emotion.
When a person ends a thought, the tone of his voice usually goes down low. They give a definite ‘down reading.’
Most people who try to learn this technique are willing to go down, or slow down but will seldom do both at once, Hence, we call their changes or mood or transitions weak.
Ending the thought properly is not enough, you must start the new thought properly and correctly. To do this you must raise the pitch of your voice as you begin the new thought, to contrast with the low tone you made as you ended the previous one. Since you slowed down before, you must now attempt to speak more quickly. The contract in pitch and speed is what makes the change in mood apparent to the listener.
The rule for transitions:
Go Down, Slow Down
Go Up, Speed Up
The aim is to cause contrast, the distinction can be equally effected rendered:
Go Down, Slow Down,
Go Up, Speed Up
UP AND DOWN READING
This can be one of the most important skills. Improper handling of the technique makes the spokesperson sound bored and unnatural, even though they may employ all the other skills properly. Why? It has been noted that when people speak, they do not drop the inflection of their voice until they have reached the end of the thought. At least, they do not do this when they speak. But, when they read a script, suddenly they begin to drop their voices at the end of every phrase and clause.
You must not drop your voice until the end of a complete thought. A drop in the voice indicates to the listener that you have ended a thought. But if the voice continues to be on the rise, or on the ‘up-lift’, at the end of the phrases and clauses, the audience assumes from the tone that you intend to continue the sentence and go on.
If you drop your voice in the wrong places, they immediately assume that you are bored with the subject, or you are reading.
Never Read Down Until You Come to the End of a Complete Thought.
By a complete thought, not a period or comma. When the thought you are developing comes to a complete end. The heaviest down readings usually occur before transitions.
COLOR, PAUSE, TRANSITION, UP & DOWN READING
The End of Basic Professional Modeling Excerpt
Now Go Practice, Practice, Practice!