(by: Mark Brandon,
||Appling the Rule of Threes...
Figuring out exactly what to do in order to give a
strong commercial audition can be challenging. It’s not just a
simple matter of smiling while saying the product name and hoping
for the best.
There are critical elements of style, for instance,
that must color your delivery, dependent upon the type of commercial you’re trying out for. If you’re familiar with the commercial type and demonstrate its distinctive style, you’ll
obviously do well. But if those elements are missing, you needn’t
bother writing down the shooting date in your calendar.
Here’s a useful shorthand tool for clarifying your
needs and keeping you a step ahead of the competition. It breaks
commercials down in three stages, enabling you to classify the
commercial, develop the requisite performance, and ultimately
Each commercial classification has three specific criteria of style-hence
the “Rule of Threes.” Let’s look at this tool in detail and cite some
Step 1: Classify the Type of
Commercials can be broken down into just three basic types. There’s the
product-spokesperson spot, the slice-of-life spot, and the classic spot.
(“Spot” is industry jargon for commercial.) Any other commercial is
nothing more than a variation or combination of these three.
In the prestigious
product-spokesperson spot, you’re the only one (besides the product) in
the commercial. It’s your job and yours alone to sell the product.
In the slice-of-life
spot, you perform ordinary routines such as shopping at a store, eating
at a restaurant, working at your job, or engaging in recreation with
family or friends. In most cases, this kind of spot has a separate
narrator, meaning of course, you’ll have no dialogue.
The classic spot truly
deserves its name, having been around since TV began. In this type of
commercial, a problem is presented, such as, for example, a large stain
in your beautiful carpet. Then the product is introduced, after which
comes the resolution: the product makes short work of the nasty stain,
and presto—life is now worth living.
Step 2: Develop Your delivery According to Type
If you’re auditioning
for a product-spokesperson spot, you’ll want to affect a delivery that
exudes a polished sense of authority.
If you’re going out for
the slice-of-life spot, all you need to concentrate on is going through
familiar, real-life activities in an unaffected, good-natured way. (How
could you shop with authority?)
Your delivery in the
classic spot is a little more complex because it involves carefully
orchestrating your moods. For example, you’ll need to display
frustration during the beginning, problem portion. Then you should
indicate grateful amazement during the clean-up or resolution stage.
Finally, you should end the spot with an expression that clearly
demonstrates that a bottle Stain-Be-Gone is the best friend you ever
Step 3: Refine Your Performance According To
product-spokesperson spot, you need to fine-tune your authority by
adding some personal warmth. However, your surroundings will dictate
just how much. In a clinical setting, for instance, you might be wearing
a white lab coat and pitching aspirin. You would want, on balance, lots
of authority and a little warmth.
In a corporate
environment, where you’d wear a suit and sell something such as
financial services or long-distance phone service, you’d do better with
more warmth than authority.
A third, less common
style for the product spokesperson is the comedic one. Producers often
look for a comedian to fill such a role. But if, during your audition,
your timing is good and you genuinely entertain the room, your chances
are just as good as any comic’s.
always look for and consult the storyboard at every commercial audition.
Next to your commercial sides, it’s the best thing for confirming the
choices you’ve derived from applying the Rule of Threes.
|About The Author
Mark Brandon's Winning auditions is a concise guide
designed to help actors immediately increase their callbacks and
booking rates. Hollywood Producer/Writer Bob Fraser wrote, "This
baby belongs in every portfolio or knapsack of every actor on the
planet!" Visit Mark's site at: