The Commercial Audition

Commercial auditions are the equivalent of selling your soul to play air guitar with a can of Coke. You’re basically a puppet for casting directors to see how far you’ll go to book a $20,000 paying national commercial. I’ve gone to tons of callbacks for commercials but I have yet to book one of the big ones, I’ve only done the smaller shitty ones. Why? I don’t know. I’ve been told my look isn’t “commercial” enough, I’m too pretty, too weird looking, too tall, too animated, and too boring. I’m always “too” something, yet I continue to torture myself at these auditions because I feel like I don’t have a choice. I do mostly print work, those are easy to book, “We’re looking for a girl with bangs and blue eyes, how about that Melissa girl we shot last month?” “Ok cool, call her agent.” Bam. Done. No audition, no casting, just booked based on what I look like. Commercials on the other hand… “I want you to pretend like you’re in love, walking on the beach with your boyfriend, tell him you love him, now dance with him like it’s the best day of your life, hold his hand, kiss him, now act like you’re at a party, now have a serious look on your face, no laughing, just like that, yeah, perfect.” I wish there was a special pill to make me happy for the 20 minutes I’m waiting at an audition, oh, right, it’s called cocaine.

There’s something about forcing myself to be happy that makes me even unhappier. Oh wait, I’m just depressed most of the time. Maybe that’s why I never book commercials? Maybe my acting isn’t strong enough to convince the director I’m not dying inside while I’m pretending to have a conversation with a pretty bubbly blonde girl about the cute guy across the room for a Captain Morgan commercial.

But the BEST part of auditions is the waiting room. Who doesn’t love watching middle-aged actors practice lines for their Hot Pocket audition? There’s something about the waiting room that is depressing as hell. I don’t want to be one of those people when I get older. I don’t think of myself as an actress, I think of this as a job. I’m a model, sure, but calling myself an actress just doesn’t sound right. I don’t think of myself as knowing how to “act.” I can’t, I’ve tried. I can only be myself. If I go to an audition for a “mid-20s brunette who loves Seinfeld and making fun of herself, but can’t really act” then I’m golden. Until then I’ll try my best to be the “cute girl drinking a Corona at a beach party” so I can continue to pay my rent.

13 thoughts on “The Commercial Audition”

  1. Invest in yourself. Your photography, your writing, your mind. You say it often – you are “old” for the most lucrative segment of your industry. You say it differently and we smile, we may even feel your pain, the pain of rejection, but if we’re serious, we have to shoot back at you and say you are young, so young you don’t know what is next, what should be next, what you want to be next. If you are serious, and your photography and some of your writing suggests you could be, what is next is not more of the same. Yes, paying work, easy work, even shitty easy work, interferes with all of the other alternatives. The things that aren’t shitty and aren’t mind numbing and don’t take you to dark or depressive places. If you don’t have a dream, you can’t work on one. I think you have one (and it is okay not to reveal it in your blog). But if you have one, and don’t work on it, it can’t come true. Not on the back of a motorcycle or through a straw or off a scrip or even getting discovered for non-tall, non-blue eye, non-pretty talents. Inspiration comes to those who put in the work. It is residual, it comes not from nowhere. You have put the work in to modeling, but you have identified the industry’s limits and yours in it. That isn’t who you are. More importantly it isn’t who you have to be. Let the inner Melissa with the dream, out of her cage. All those casting directors and stylists and agents (and former loves, flames, or beaus) can’t do that for you. Nor anything in a pill or powder form. You know it already; you say it seven days from Sunday. You wrote it; now you just have to hear what you wrote. You can do it.

  2. Don’t know if you read these. Some of the comments on here are fucking lunacy. Anyway, I’m not sure if you read Klosterman or Wallace at all. I suspect that you have, but you could probably write a book or collection of essays in a similar vein (easily on par with Klosterman, and you’ve got a Wallace pathos going on). Some of this blog reminds me of Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs and Eating the Dinosaur.

  3. I just imagine the director is wearing some cut off jeans shorts and a shirt that opens down to his belly button. That usually gets me through the audition process.

  4. As I started reading “special pill” request, I was going to say cocaine. and then there it was in print. too funny.

  5. I find many of the comments on this blog sickeningly earnest. It is foolish to assume that your personality is that of a droopy frowning cartoon flower. Nothing but respect for you because you are a savvy and dangerous girl. I just find coddling such a person a bit retarded.

  6. This is awesome, you captured this experience perfectly. I can’t believe this is the first time I’m seeing your blog. I was a model in LA for a while until it finally broke me down and sucked my soul from me… Those audition studios with 10+ rooms for all of the different castings are amazing, I’ve never seen more delusional people in my life. You’re forced to observe the sad, worn 40 somethings practice their one line while stage parents wrangle their hopeless, sticky fingered children for an Oreo audition. It takes an amazing actor to go from observing that for 30 minutes to being the bubbliest idiot pretending to play volleyball on a beach alone in an all white room for a Target commercial.

    I just discovered your internet presence… but I must say the LA fashion industry would have been, at the very least, tolerable if there were more models like you. Unfortunately that scene generally repels the intelligent free thinkers which leaves a brave few to deal with the vapid. Good luck, keep a tight grip on your soul because they will try to rip it from you. Hopefully you can use your brain one day and get paid for it (that’s all our kind can hope for).

  7. Hahahah! This is exactly why I refuse to go to these anymore. You could have written this cartoon from the link, or anyone else who’s been through the horror …

  8. I know you say you’re not an actress, but how do you expect to book commercials if you’re not WILLING to act?

    I can tell from reading your post that you don’t even know what is required of you.

    Email me if you want to know how to book commercials.

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