#FemaleFilmmakerFriday – Commercial vs Theatrical Auditions

Is there a difference in process/ prep between theatrical and commercial acting?

Huge thank you to all my Patreon supporters who make posts like this possible! If you like what you read here, please consider joining us at patreon.com/katehackett 

Yes and no — acting is acting, after all! But generally speaking, you get less time with commercials and they move a LOT faster. So, I’ll present to you a Typical Commercial Audition & a Typical Theatrical Audition! This will be a two parter because it got LONG!


I receive an email at 6pm — it’s a message from my agent! I have an audition tomorrow with Name & Name, a casting director who has brought me in a whole lot lately. Yay! They’re in Santa Monica and the audition is at 4pm. Boo. 

Sometimes I ask for a window to see casting, but it’s just easier to move my students 99% of the time, so I send an email to my family and tell them we need to reschedule because this audition is in the middle of the afternoon & across town. I’m going to be in traffic for 2 hours. Each way. I confirm with my agent and…

Back to the break down — I read it over. They’re asking for “casual”, so like, jeans and a T-shirt or something. The role is “girlfriend”, so young. And it’s described as “UCB/Groundlings, FUNNY FUNNY FUNNY, quirky real people” which means “not hot girl”. This role is right up my alley. “MUST BE GOOD WITH DIALOGUE”. Okay, great, no problem. Presumedly there are sides.

There are no sides. 

There is also no shot list, storyboard, or anything else. Well! Nothing to prepare. I’ll figure out what I am wearing tomorrow and just roll on in, I guess. 

I do leave a little early and get to my audition around 3:30pm so I have time to review any boards or notes — sometimes they’re there, sometimes there’s NOTHING. The casting associate will bring everyone in for a group explanation where he tells us the action (and dialogue) of the shot. Some auditions are a LOT of movement and really specific moments, others are like “just make it your own” which is code for “improv” (they can’t ask us to do that, a whole guild thing). The camera is almost always far back – they’re getting full body shots for these, so you have lots of room to move.

The audition lasts maybe 30 seconds to 5 minutes and then you’re out the door. I have no idea what just happened in there. I hope it was good. Callbacks happen within a week and the shoot is usually within 2.

Come back next week (early for Patrons!) to read the next half — where I talk THEATRICAL!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.