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How to… nail a commercial casting

Alex Chang. Photo: Claire Newman-Williams
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1. Be open

Commercial castings are very different to those of theatre, film and TV. You will have learned about the importance of openness at drama school. It’s crucial in commercials. Be pleasant, smile and be someone the clients want to entrust to sell their product. The first commercial casting I went to, I had to dance imagining I was wearing skin-tight pink leather jeans, and try to be seductive directly at the camera to impress the ladies in the nightclub. All while Gangnam Style by Psy was playing out of a speaker. The point here is that people in everyday life are uncomfortable with making a fool out of themselves, but you’re an actor. So have fun with that and be prepared to do anything the director or casting director throws at you.

2. Don’t complain

Commercial castings can often run late. The longest I’ve waited to be seen was two hours. Yes, it’s a pain and they may ask you to do something unexpected, or spring some different lines on you, but you mustn’t forget this is part of your job as a working actor. Don’t make a fuss. Do your bit, be gracious and sincere and walk out with your head held high. Learn to take direction really fast. Even if you’ve got something set in your head about your role, the casting director might want you to try something totally different, so be open to it. Welcome to advertising.

3. Stay positive

To be called in for a casting is a big deal. Often it’s difficult to understand why you didn’t get the role. It literally could be just about how you look. You might have been awesome, but the client now wants a brunette, and not a blonde. If you made an impression, they will call you in again and again. Don’t take it to heart. Developing a system whereby you move on quickly after castings does you the world of good and keeps you motivated for the next one. Now go nail that casting.

Alex Chang has appeared in several advertising campaigns, most recently for Orbit chewing gum. He is represented by Winterson’s and managed by Bohemia Group. He was talking to John Byrne

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