The commercial is so badly written and ham-handed that I would ordinarily lunge for the remote and mute it, but I am frozen with pity for that poor young actor, who probably went to acting school and had to convince his parents that he didn’t want to become a lawyer or a doctor and then he moved to New York or L.A. and lived ten to an apartment and made the rounds and sent out his headshot and waited tables, hoping and hoping to become . . . well maybe not the next Bradley Cooper, but at least get good character roles.
And *this *is what he is doing. *These *are the lines he has to say. And he was no doubt happy to get this job, and the actors who didn’t get it envied him.
It doesn’t make me want to buy nuggets, it makes me want to go to bed for a week in sorrow, and also thank my lucky stars I am not an actress.
But seriously, those lines! That script! I hope he does go on to earn a fortune and win twelve Oscars, but can you imagine the horror on his face the first time he realized those words were going to have to come out of his mouth? Doing *porn *would be less humiliating. Poor bastard.
Honestly, I wouldn’t mind being a professional commercial actor. If you start to look closely, you do see a lot of repeat faces.
Sure, it’s probably not what they wanted to do, but if you can get a spot in a national commercial for a major company, and it airs for a long enough time (hello, royalties!) you can probably make a decent year’s salary in just a couple of gigs.
I heard a radio interview with Jane Lynch who did a lot of commercial acting gigs in the late 90’s/early 2000’s before she broke into the movie (and then TV) biz, and she said it was pretty good, all things considered. She said the one downside was eventually you’d get too “big,” and you might not get cast anymore…most ad agencies don’t want recognizable people in commercials…or, conversely, they want someone VERY recognizable, i.e. a celebrity of some kind.
Though I do find it amusing to see the same people over again. One of my favorites is “the Twix guy.” He was in two or three Twix commercials, playing the same character, as was the girl who played his girlfriend. He was also in a commercial for cell phones, where he got arrested trying to break into a friend’s house because he didn’t get service and couldn’t call his friend to ask where the spare key was.
The odd thing is, he was wearing the same outfit in the phone and one of the Twix commercials. Twix. AT&T
Eh. I just saw a commercial for jewelery last night in which the script went something like this:
<husband and wife standing in a new house, with unpacked boxes stacked all around them>
WIFE (looking despondently around the room: How are we ever going to get this place feeling like home!?
HUSBAND (holding jewelry box): Open this box first. (WIFE opens box, and lets out a surprised gasp. She is deeply moved) Wherever you are, that’s my home.
WIFE: I’m always home with you (I actually don’t remember what she said here, but it was something equally treacle-y)
At least the McDonald’s ad can be viewed as sort of retro-schlock, intentionally-bad-but-it’s-ok-'cause-we-know-it.
I’ve *done *commercials: it is damned difficult and humiliating, a *lot *harder to say those . . . McDonald’s lines . . . than to say actual well-written ones. Seeing that spot and realizing he was “lucky” to get it reminds me of why I left acting so many years ago (well, that and my being ugly and not very talented). Even the top stars often have to accept crap (look at Jason Lee, going from *My Name is Earl *to those *Alvin *movies!).
Yes, they may make a shitload of money doing Alvin movies and McDonald’s commercials, but I wonder if they go to bed yearning for those O’Neill and Wilde and Shakespeare scenes they did back in acting class . . .
There are three reasons to undertake any artistic endeavour.
The potential for recognition, whether in the form of career advancement or in the form of publicity.
The artistic satisfaction.
Ideally, every gig you take provides a balance between those three aspects. The balance you prefer is part of your signature as an artist.
In this particular case, there is enough of 1 and 2 that I would have auditioned for the gig, and I would have been proud to have got it. There is a curious attitude toward actors in the US - people think from big name Hollywood stars that all actors pick and choose what their next project will be. For most of us, our next project is what ever we can get or get out of the business.