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Commercial Roles On Your Acting Resume
Getting to star in commercials is an exciting opportunity for any actor starting out
in the industry. It’s a great way to step into the acting world, and start building up your
on-camera presence and comfort on a filming set. On the downside, though, a lot of
these roles may have few speaking parts. In fact, if you’ve done a commercial, there is
a good chance you did not even get the chance to say a line at all. The question
becomes, then, how do I add commercial roles to my acting resume in a way that still
allows me to be taken seriously? The answer to this question depends on a few factors,
and may actually be simpler than you think. In certain situations, it may be the case that
you do not have to put these jobs down at all.

Listing Conflicts

If you have worked on commercials before, you have likely become aware of the
rules surrounding product conflicts. If you have appeared in a commercial that is
currently on the air, then a casting director cannot consider you for a commercial in the
same product category. However, that casting director is not necessarily going to search
your name up and see if any recent television ads appear. It’s on you to make that
known, and it can become a problem if you don’t. You don’t have to list all current
commercial appearances on your resume. That would take up way too much space,
and making the most of your resume is vital. Instead, add a note saying “Commercials:
conflicts available upon request” to make it known that this is something that should be
established beforehand.

Keeping It Separate

Your acting resume should have your acting work be front and center, as that is
what you want to put forward when being considered for roles. As such, commercials
shouldn’t be considered on the same level as other television, or film and theatre, gigs.
Move commercials down on your resume, and give them their own area closer to the
bottom of the page.

Expanding Your Skills Section

Just like a professional resume, your acting resume should contain a section
where you list any special skills that are unique to you and that could be advantageous
on set. This can include singing training, dancing training, foreign language, or
gymnastics. This could be a good alternative place to throw in your commercial

experience. As we mentioned before, commercials should always be considered
secondary to your other acting experiences. Thus, keeping this work to your special
skills to keep the focus on your career as an actor while still making it known that you
have this experience might be a better choice to make. You don’t necessarily have to list
it first, either. Your resume should always be tailored to the role you’re going for. If you
have any personal talents that are necessary or would be helpful for this role, make
sure those are listed first.

Consider Leaving Them Out Altogether

As we’ve mentioned earlier in this article, your resume as an actor is a means for
you to display what you bring to the table as a performer. It should be about highlighting
the opportunities you’ve had to shine on stage or on screen. With that in mind, you
might want to leave off commercials altogether. This is especially true if those
commercials are taking up space on your resume that could be used for bigger roles
and more important abilities. Maybe you just took the commercial gig to help you pay
the bills, and you don’t particularly feel like shouting from the rooftops about this job.
Don’t feel pressured to put commercial gigs on your resume just because they are
acting gigs that you got paid for. Tailor your resume to the role you are going for, and
make sure that you are doing your best to show who you are as an actor and a person.
Consider showing your resume to industry peers and fellow actors to see what they
think of the way it’s formatted, and if they find it truly necessary to have commercials
you’ve appeared in on there.
Commercial gigs are a part of countless actors’ careers. Many of the biggest
names in Hollywood got their start doing commercials that may have seemed measly at
the time. However, take advantage of the fact that you’ve had the chance to practice
being on camera and settling into the job of an actor. Instead of being discouraged by
the experiences you’ve been able to find, use them to your advantage and start putting
yourself out there.

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