Fifteen years in broadcast has given me many skills that are now making me money in ways I maybe hadn't dared to imagine five years ago. I can speak infant of an audience with ease, I can read a teleprompter and find the authenticity, I can adlib in the moment when things don't go right, and most importantly I can make the person I'm speaking with feel comfortable and important.
These skills are valuable in so many industries, and when I decided not to resign my full-time position as lifestyle and morning show host I knew I wanted to take these skills to create my own company, Well Told Productions, where I can offer my hosting, acting, voice over, communications and confidence coaching, and video creation to people and businesses with stories to tell.
When making a large life change... it can feel overwhelming. The last day of Good Morning Texas I left the offices around noon and had three meetings lined up starting at 1:30 p.m. While this momentum is good, I suggest one takes time to savor the moments of transition and to be intentional about the choices one makes going forward.
Okay... I'm getting a little too philosophical here, let's get back to booking and shooting commercials (and getting paid for it) from home.
COVID was a horrible thing. It took millions of lives, it separated people, it enflamed mental illness, and divided many. However it created great necessity when people and countries were forced to shutdown and change - and necessity is of course the mother of invention.
Enter a program we all now can't live without, but probably never heard of before 2020... ZOOM. Prior to COVID most actors and actresses were required to fly to New York or LA or Atlanta for auditions. Then COVID hit and all auditions moved to "self taped." Suddenly talented men and women in the middle of the country were able to submit for roles that previously required travel to even be considered for.
But it doesn't end here... it's not just self taped auditions, but self taped commercials now. I recently booked a commercial for a credit card company where I shot every bit of video myself on my phone while a lovely British director named Will in San Francisco guided me through the process. We shot seven different concepts, it took about 2.5 hours, and I received a lovely check the next day. (Below is a snippet from a commercial taping session I shot at home. The voice in the background is the lovely director, Will.)
If you are looking to book commercial work I highly suggest this avenue. It builds your resume, it's fascinating to see how it's done, and you can get a load of laundry done between takes.
Here are my suggestions on how to find and book "self taped or UGC commercials for pay."
Have a social presence. Most commercials in today's media market are meant to feel less polished and more authentic. Companies are looking for people on social media with personality, the ability to communicate, and a trust worthiness. So start now... Have a favorite restaurant in your neighborhood? Go visit it and do a quick review. Love a new book you picked up??? Do an authentic video explaining why. Build your own resume on social media to send to prospective casting agents and directors.
Follow casting directors on social media and LinkedIn. Most casting call have the name of the casting director or agency on the post. Once you've submitted for the part look up that casting director and give them a follow. Start an organic relationship (maybe a quick intro... don't stalk.)
Ask those who have done it before. I schedule 1-3 meetings for myself every week with people in the industry who are doing things I would like to also pursue or with companies who I feel need better commercial representation. If 20% of these meetings results in a gig... I'm sitting pretty.
Look for representation (this is something I have been putting off) but investing in an agent that will help tap you into the right arenas is invaluable and it's something I'll be doing after I wrap up this blog.
Have a good at home shooting set up. Invest in some lights, a green screen, and mics. Make it easy as possible for the people hiring you. If it's between you and someone with no setup... changes are you just landed the gig!
I hope this was helpful and I'll continue to share my journey as an actress/entrepreneur/confidence coach making my own way in the world. I'm about three months in... and so far it's been a blast and I have a feeling it's only going to get better.