Sunday, January 29, 2017


Here I am getting paid to learn and I got to keep the jacket.

What’s the most important tool on every commercial set?
Not how many M ‘n M’s you can fit in your mouth at craft service, although God knows I’ve tried. (68, I’d like to see Flo beat that!)

It’s listening. Being present in the moment to recognize what is needed.

Lets’ take a time travel back to my Hershey’s Pot O' Gold spot. A great national spot that ran for years, bookended a Late Night with David Letterman I was watching, and made me tens of thousands of dollars. But ultimately, those weren’t the most enjoyable results of the spot.
The best part was learning something incredibly valuable on set. Learning to listen.
If you go to my reel, you’ll see at the end of this spot how I reach into a planter and grab the host’s flowers as a panicked last minute gift. Pretty funny.

After the first take, the Assistant Director who was standing behind the camera spoke. (He was getting notes in his earpiece from the director who was watching on the monitor off set) The AD says, “Okay great, this time shake the flowers so we see the dirt fall out.” Which I did. “Cut!” Huge pause. We wait on that porch for about 10 minutes while off-set the whole production crew, a group of producers and team of clients discuss.

Finally, the AD comes back up to me. “Okay, they say forget the dirt. Just hold up the flowers.” “I thought that was pretty funny,” I think to myself. “Too bad.”
And we shoot it again. After “CUT,” the AD immediately comes up to me.
“Okay great, we’re going to do it again. And don’t shake the flowers.”
“I didn’t know I shook the flowers.”
“Yeah. You did.”
We shoot again. “CUT” The AD slides up and grabs the flowers out of my hand. A tight smile.
“Okay. You’re still shaking the flowers. DON’T shake the flowers. They don’t want you to shake the flowers anymore.”
Another take. “CUT!” The director whips around the corner. No longer in his director’s chair.
“Okay Bill, you’re shaking the flowers when you hold them up.”
The props department guy, who had to re-plant after every shot, says, “Just, hol’ ‘em.”
“Right,” I think to myself. “Just hol’ ‘em.” Which I did. And in the next shot, I just held them. And we’re done with the shot, moving on.

See, I wasn’t listening. I was thinking of the first shot. I was thinking of not messing up. I was thinking of wasting everyone’s time. I was frightened. I was resistant. I wasn’t THERE. I was in the past, I was in the future. And the only place we can act, and act well, is now. Indeed, a true “Pot O’ Gold.”

Try this: Take a second to listen. Right now. What do you hear? Allow the sounds to meet the ear. No judgement, just listen. Try this again in an hour. And an hour after that. And after that. Hey! Look! You're listening!

Monday, January 16, 2017

What should be posted on your resume, or How To Keep It Reel

This is a question I get a lot because I suspect actors don’t want to stand out and look green. Do I list all of my commercials? Do I only list the ones I have a copy of? What if I haven’t done any commercials at all?
When I first started at Paradigm Talent Agency in NYC, they gave me good advice and it’s been on my resume ever since.
If you haven’t done any commercials, leave off the commercial section on your resume. No harm no foul.
If you have done a commercial, even if it never aired, even if you don’t have a copy yet, if you have ever stepped on set to do a commercial put this:


This is brilliant for several reasons.

One, LESS IS MORE. Never list all of your commercials. Maybe an exec from Coke is looking over your resume (.000000878 percent chance of that happening) and sees a Pepsi commercial on your list. Gives them pause. More likely though a casting director is looking at your resume, sees that Coke commercial on your list and wants to call you in for a Pepsi audition, either has to assume your spot is still running and not call you in, or go through the ordeal of having to call your agent, check to see if you are available, and if you are, is the spot still running, see…too much time wasted, you won’t get called in.

Two, LESS IS MORE. By saying less, “REEL AVAILABLE” there is an inherent suggestion that you might have done more than you actually have. If anyone ever asks for your commercial reel, which I have to admit in my years of this business I’ve been asked for it ONCE, just tell them what you’ve actually done and you’re working on it. If you have done a commercial, make a reel. For my reel click here. Tell me what you think about it. Post your reel. Let’s have a reel fest.