By Kate McClanaghan,

I meet talent every day that I would consider as a casting director as extremely marketable for commercial work, yet far
too often, the talent themselves don’t consider themselves commercially viable at all.  In fact, they repel it.  That's a
taught response.

These talent are often taught as stage actors, as artists, to repel ANYTHING commercial in order to avoid "selling out";
they are taught to do so at any cost. This poses quite a struggle to overcome, especially if it’s been drilled into you for
four years or more in theater school.

That’s right, theater. The one medium, as much as I love it, in which you’re likely (and actually expected) to happily
starve. You’re expected to feed your soul by accepting roles that few if any will see and which pay little if anything. It’s a
sad fact, but less than one percent of the population has ever even experienced live theater!

On one level, this gives new meaning to entertain yourself, which I happen to think is a vitally important element in the
acting process. Hopefully, your small stage work parlays into greater theater work at larger, more established theaters.
But far too often, actors devote a decade or more to mediocre productions before inevitably caving in and subjecting
themselves to getting a “real job” in order to support themselves and their families.

The real goal here, in my estimation, is that theater will allow you to develop the skills of your craft as an artist, and
commercial work will replace the real job (a real job that would only take you farther away from becoming a working
talent). You will earn a living from whatever you put your attention toward. How well you live is relative and based on
what you demand for yourself.

At some point we all have to up the ante in order to move on to the next level—regardless of the business we are in.
That requires taking a leap of faith toward a goal, regardless of the profession. And, ultimately, life without risk is a life
not fully lived.

If you have no other aspirations beyond stage, and you have an unending supply of funds to back you, then I’d
recommend you continue to pursue theater alone. If not, well, I propose you prepare to pursue commercial work, both
on- and off-camera. And pursue it with teeth!

Prior to establishing SOUND ADVICE nearly twenty years ago, I had never heard of any performance-based training
teaching an actor how to become a working talent. No wonder acting is considered to be a complete crapshoot
profession. In fact, this single precept could easily be held responsible for keeping scores of talent from succeeding and
realizing their dreams.  You can't hit a target if you don't have one!

For years it seemed few, if any, would divulge any information on how to break into voiceover or commercial work.
In fact, for voiceover, the old adage went: “The same ten people get all the work,” which was a ridiculous notion even
20-some-odd years ago when there were only a small handful of cable stations and the three networks to contend with.
(It’s hard to imagine only one HBO today, isn’t it?)

The truth be told the industry in general requires a great variety of types. It always has. Think about it. If you had a
production full of romantic leads, the audience would probably be completely confused as to which storyline to follow.
Either that or you’d find yourself as a series regular on Desperate Housewives.

Of course, there are worse career fates, I’m sure.

In the meantime, this is what we do as actors, we create. It’s how we’re wired. And frankly, no matter who you are, you’
re gonna create something, whether it be havoc or  a batch of cookies or culture altering aesthetics. This is what people
do. Create.

May as well make the best of it.

Our goal, as actors, is to make active, dynamic choices while surprising ourselves--take after take. Those skills can be
sharpened and heightened by commercial work. What a bonus! That's what we’re paid to do as professionals.  Lucky

Commercial work steps up your game as a professional while allowing you to bank-roll your career.

Beats digging a ditch!

Kate McClanaghan
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