Can you book a commercial if you don’t live in LA? I get asked this question all the time – in person, on Twitter, via email. While many of the commercials you see on TV are shot in Los Angeles, several are shot elsewhere around the country, sometimes using local talent or “real people.” But, I won’t sugar coat this – if you’re an actor and you do not live in LA or other major markets where commercials are shot it could be a challenge to get hired
With so many actors living in or near LA a CD can usually get an actor into their office in a three to four hours. It would be much harder for an actor who lives out of town, even if they got a call for the next day. Think about it. You’d have to get on a plane then take a car service to your audition. This can take half a day, if not longer. Then, what if you get a call back the next day or a couple days later when you’re already home? You’ll have to hop on a plane and do it all over again. And if you book the job, then you’ll need to return for wardrobe day and then the day or two after for the shoot. This presents many obstacles for you the actor and can become very costly, time consuming and demanding.
Remember that commercial shoots run on tight schedules. So if you live out of state, the CD and production company will likely be hesitant to hire you because you may miss a flight or be late to your CB, fitting or shoot. The process is a little slower with TV and film so, if they do not find what they want in LA, with all the hundreds of actors here, they will look outside to other places. The chances of that are not as great as you might think, however, since LA and NY are filled with ready and available talent.
But with all the new ways to submit yourself and self tape, does geography really matter? Well, you’re right – technology has helped in many ways. We’ve had actors email us video of their hands or use Skype to show us a couple hair styles – things that that in the past would have required the actor to haul across town to a production office. However, technology hasn’t yet progressed to the point of actors sending tape for a Receiving in-person direction is important so you know what to change if needed, including lighting and actions requested. So, yes. You can book a commercial if you live out of town but know you understand why it may not be as easy as you had thought.