Typically, a television commercial actor assists in the sale of products and services on television. Actors in television commercials are sometimes used to promote the messages of individuals or organizations, such as politicians or advocacy groups. A TV commercial actor may appear in 30- to 60-second commercials or longer commercials known as infomercials, which can last 30 minutes or even an hour. Voice-over commercials, or announcing, narrating, or speaking in a commercial without physically appearing in it, are also done television commercial actors. A TV commercial actor may appear in both national and local commercials.
Some TV commercial actors specialize in commercial acting, while others do so as part of a larger acting career. TV commercial actors, like television and film actors, often have agents who help them find auditions, though some prefer to find work on their own. TV commercial actors frequently look for casting calls in television industry publications, newspaper advertisements, and online when looking for work on their own. Unions, such as the American Federation of Radio and Television Artists (AFTRA) in the United States, may represent television commercial actors.
Reading a script for a casting director to see if he or she fits the director’s vision of the character is part of a TV commercial audition. After landing a part in a commercial, a TV commercial actor must memorize the lines in order to be fully prepared when filming begins. Depending on the number of takes and locations required, filming can be a long or short process. Some commercials are shot in a single location, while others are shot in multiple locations.
Long days are common in the acting industry, and a TV commercial actor is no exception. A TV commercial actor’s career may include several days or weeks of work followed long periods of no commercial work. TV commercial actors are known for having a second job to help pay the bills. They could work in fields related to acting, such as teaching acting classes, or in fields completely unrelated to acting.
Although no formal education is required to work as a TV commercial actor, many actors take acting classes or pursue acting degrees. Acting classes can help a commercial actor get an audition and, of course, they can improve acting skills and enhance natural talent. Having unique abilities, such as dancing or singing talent or exceptional athleticism, can be advantageous for TV commercial actors.