- 21 Jun 2021
Theater and film types, in particular, should consider broadening the scope of their careers to include advertising. Actors, models, and actor models appear in print, internet, or television commercials all around us all the time. But how does one get involved in the action?
Joe Thompson, an agent at Abrams Artists Agency, represents talent for two distinct markets: fashion-oriented, on-camera beauty work, and commercial prints, as he puts it, "in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. welcomes people." While the fashion industry requires models to be within strict limits of height and weight for designers who create clothes, "on the business side it's more like, 'We want brunette hair and great smiles,'" Thompson explains.
He says commercial agents have more flexibility than directors when it comes to sending potential talent to producers and creatives. “Casting directors are given narrow criteria. As agents, we can do a little more planning. It's not just column A or column B; We can get it. "Since Abrams' artist client base includes everything from Macy's to AARP, Thompson sent a variety of actors.
Thompson sees a lack of understanding of "look"—or, as theater or film professionals might call it "type"—the most common mistake in those new commercials. "I think when people first come into business they don't understand what they might be booked for," he recalls a 40-year-old theater client who used to be his agent. As a teen cheerleader, they keep bringing their pictures to the fore.
"If a producer wants a cheerleader, they're going to bring someone very close to age," Thompson says bluntly. "The 40-year-old mom isn't trying to re-live her cheerleading days." Likewise, he says, "A 25-year-old wouldn't play the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. People sometimes come up with a three-piece suit — when should you realistically use it?"
Getting involved in print modeling in particular can mean asking yourself tough questions about age range and body type. "Whatever your look—trendy or bookish or studious—that's your look," says Thompson. While it's sometimes hard to tell without practice, if you've been in the audition room for a play or movie, you're often surrounded by other people who look or have the same energy as you. "Coming from a dramatic background, there are character types you're going to get to know. It's similar to that.
"I usually ask people when they come: When you look around, where do you see yourself?" Thompson says. This is not a tricky question, and it is one of the most useful to ask. On subway platforms, on billboards, on pop-up ads on the web, who is the one you most resemble? "Do you look like a Verizon campaign or a Diet Coke? When you see a TV commercial, where's someone with your look?"
If print or TV advertising is a market you want to capitalize on—and it should be!—Thompson's best advice is to be aware of your surroundings and gauge where you fit in. “Watch the ad and look at the print ad, if that’s what you want to go in,” he says. One day you might find your own face staring at you.
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