Nailing Commercial Castings: Get Flirty in your Ident!

Commercial castings are castings for the ads you see on TV. Why do we want adverts? Well – they can pay quite well, and if the rights to the advert are bought in multiple countries for years to come, it means you can get chunks of money arrive at your bank account whilst you’re doing your shopping in Tesco, or slobbing around. Castings for adverts involve being filmed pretending to do a variety of things, from standing on the bus stop and realising you have stomach ache to dancing, pissed, around Bernie Ecclestone (I have done both of these).

Bernie Ecclestone isn’t there. The bus stop isn’t there. You’re in a tiny, airless cell of a room and you have to recreate this event entirely with your imagination, aided by shamelessness, being filmed and watched by lots of stony faced people. It’s odd.

It’s like this.

I’m not going to focus on that today, though. I’m going to focus on the prosaic little ident at the beginning – the bit where you say your name and agency and show the two sides of your face. It seems unimportant, the part to get over before the scary part of pretending you have thrush or this perfume makes you orgasm – but it’s vital to the casting!

This is an ident I just filmed of my friend, the actress Sia Berkeley. She’s been in on our TV lots, including Wuthering Heights and an unforgettable turn in Skins

Here’s her ident:

You see how quick and easy it is? But Sia makes an impression by chatting about herself and making herself memorable – and this is before we’ve even done the acting bit of the casting!

The ident is where you make your impression. It’s where the client (who isn’t always present) can get a feel of your personality – you can charm a room of people into wanting to give you the job.

So! Here is my walk-through of the most simple seeming but utterly vital component of commercial castings.

Casting director: “camera on”

At this point, stand and look really good – but like you don’t know you’re standing and looking good. Hands artfully in pockets, shoulders back, weight on one foot – ‘I just look like this’! Have an expectant, ready face: you’re engaged and eager. You’re on camera the whole time, so no slouching and double chins please!

“OK, can we have your name and agency to camera please”

You’re not just saying your name and agency. “Rebecca Pearson, Bookings” sounds short and boring. Start with “hello!” Imbue as much warmth and vibrancy as you can into the 8 words, “My name’s Rebecca Pearson and I’m at Bookings.” Give a little smile, like you would if you were meeting your partner’s friends for the first time. Not as terrified as meeting their mum, but keen to impress nonetheless.

“OK, profiles please.”

The client wants to see your profiles. You can show your left and right sides…But you can also add SO MUCH more into the mix! Hold your hair back from your face before you go to the side, so they can see your open face, looking nice. Go to the side – NOT FORGETTING TO SUCK IN THAT DOUBLE CHIN! (In my case, anyway!)


This is the GOLDEN BIT!

Give a little flirty look to the camera as you look to the next profile. Don’t go as far as winking, but really give it a blue steel.

After you’ve shown your second profile, let your hair down and give it a ‘I don’t realise I look hot’ shake out. Lastly, finish with a smile.

I’ve demonstrated it for you here:

“Hands to camera please”

The client wants to see both hands. Make sure you’ve moisturised them, and you don’t have manky, chipped nail varnish on. Show both sides, as perkily as it is possible to display your hands. Make sure to keep your ‘friendly face’ to camera behind your hands.

“OK, tell us a bit about yourself, please!”

Oh god, I always get an horrific mind blank at this point. Have a back up story for events like this – see it as an opportunity to show your friendliness, your energy and something interesting about you. For example, I might say “Well! I’ve never done this before, but last night I went lindy hop dancing – an hours lesson and then a swing band plays! It felt like I was in the finale of Grease!”

It’s highly likely that I spent last night watching Made in Chelsea and eating Ferrero Rocher, but it’s good cos it shows a) I am up for trying things b) I’m outgoing c) I have energy and d) it’s memorable.

DON’T you dare say “Hi, I’m a model, I recently shot for Harpers.” That’s just a CV. They want to know who you are ASIDE from modelling. Say ANYTHING other than that. “I love cats more than humans,” or “I just broke up with my boyfriend, so I’m feeling pretty sad.” At least those will make an impression (of sorts)!

First impressions are everything in this industry, so your aim with your ident is to be likeable and memorable….hopefully you’ll have done enough to overlook the fact that you simply weren’t very convincing at ‘dancing pissed around Bernie Ecclestone’…..

Rebecca x

Sia is on Twitter and you can currently catch her starring in Grantchester 

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