Talking Commercials with Barry Shapiro, Casting Director, Herman & Lipson Casting

On-camera commercials are always changing in style.  What’s fresh and new one year is outdated the next.  Today we’re speaking with casting director Barry Shapiro on what he sees are trends in commercials and some of his pet peeves on auditioning for them.

“The trends I see today in on-camera commercials are less copy, more improv,  as well as non-speaking commercials.  It used to be where we saw one person speaking for 30 seconds, now we’re seeing the one-liner or short scenario come into play.  Actors MUST be able to improvise and their facial expressions have become more important.”

“My pet peeves for actors auditioning for commercials are lateness, sitting in the wait room texting, speaking on the cell or having conversations with other actors when the actor should be preparing for their audition.  In the audition room, my pet peeves are actors not listening to the direction given.  You have to be ready to let go what you planned on doing and be able to make adjustments.  Your goal is to make strong choices and fully commit to them.  Better a bad choice, than no choice at all.”

Barry Shapiro
As Vice President and Casting Director at Herman & Lipson for 30 years, Barry Shapiro attends theatre productions & comedy showcases in New York City and around the country discovering new talent for their clients. Prior to being a Casting Director, Barry was a Producer for a top fashion commercial director, working with every top model in the industry. He also managed rehearsal studios for Broadway Shows. Barry also conducts acting workshops, directs comedy showcases, and attends model/talent conventions. In New York, Barry is one of the most sought after teachers for commercial technique.  Barry is a regular teacher at Actors Connection and you can view his upcoming classes and intensives here.