Nailing Your “No Sides” Commercial Audition

Before I get to the tips, I want to share some good news.

I’m very excited to announce that I have joined Arlene Thornton’s On-Camera Commercial Department.

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My agent there, Janet Tscha, is a winner and multiple-time nominee of the Seymour Heller Award for Commercial Agent of the Year. (Heller, yeah!)

I’ll be sure to let you guys know when you can catch my ugly mug selling products on TV’s everywhere.

Now onto nailing your “no sides” commercial audition.

audition-room-1024x768There are a lot of online lists of advice for actors auditioning for commercials. Most of it is obvious and pretty bleh. But then I came across this one that I thought was kinda of useful.

A lot of times at commercial auditions where there are no sides, the casting director will bring everyone in and have them slate  (i.e. say their name), take their picture, and then ask them some random question like, “Tell me about a time you got lost.”


It’s easy to go completely blank at this moment, trying to figure out the “right thing” they want to hear, or how it might relate to selling Old Country Buffet.

Backstage’s Jordana Capra offers an article of advice for how to successfully get through the first part of a commercial audition like this.

Mark Randall of L.A.’s Mark Randall Casting adds, “Directors and ad agencies really want to believe that they’re hiring a likable, real person with real-life interests, and that you just happen to know your way around a set.”

There’s not really a right or wrong answer. Make it longer than one word, but keep it under 30 seconds. Often they’ll give you a heads up on the question before they begin filming, so just go with the first thing that comes to mind.

For example, I might tell the story of how my friend and I were starting out on a road trip together and he was eating cookies using the map as a napkin on his lap. When he rolled down the window to dump the crumbs, the wind caught the map and it flew out the window down the freeway behind us! It was all up for grabs from that point on.

Not really about being lost, but hey – first story that came to mind and it wasn’t about acting or being an actor. It was about me as a person.

Director Robert Logevall speaks for all directors when he says, “Tell me about you, not your acting world. I want to know if you’re confident and interesting, then you’ll be all that on set.”

What are your experiences with the “personality portion” of a commercial audition?

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Actor / Writer / Idealist I believe a good story has the power to change the way people feel, think, and act. I'm a storyteller with a passion for changing the world and leaving it better than I found it.

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