Casting Insights: A Peek Behind the Scenes of a Typical Commercial Production

When it comes to building a career as an actor, knowing what goes into the projects we audition for can be invaluable. In this article, Casting Networks regular blogger Terry Berland sheds some light on the process of commercial production and where talent fits into the picture.

Casting Director Shares Insights From Production Side

by Terry Berland | Feb 3, 2016

There is more to being a successful actor than knowing technique. As talent, of course, you are focused on your audition technique; how you get the call back and the booking. This blog is not about that. However, knowing and understanding the process will enable you to be a wiser actor which will help you be a more confident actor. Confidence can only add up to feeling more relaxed, resulting in a better audition.

There is a life to a commercial project before you receive your audition time. Understanding this path exists beforehand will be very helpful to you feeling an important part of the casting process.

It starts with the ad agency being hired by the product company (e.g. Pepsi, Apple, Tide) to produce their spots. This is not on a one-to-one basis. There is a very large agreement with the agency to produce a certain amount of spots per year. The agency is responsible for media strategy as well as their buying power. Products usually stay with the ad agency for years.

At the ad agency, there are tiers of creatives. The writer and art director create and pitch their ideas to a supervisor who agrees on which spots will be produced.

The Production Company

When the spot is ready to be produced, there is a system between the ad agencies and production companies whereby production companies are invited to bid for projects based on the interest of the ad agency in a particular director. The director is hired to enhance the concept of the spot. Read more…

Having worked in an ad/production agency for seven years, I found the knowledge gained there to be invaluable for helping me keep perspective on how we as talent fit into the big picture. Thanks for your generous insights, Terry!


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