Acting in the Million Dollar Minute, the Sequel: The Art of Acting in TV Commercials

Acting in the Million Dollar Minute, the Sequel: The Art of Acting in TV Commercials

by Tom Logan
Acting in the Million Dollar Minute, the Sequel: The Art of Acting in TV Commercials

Acting in the Million Dollar Minute, the Sequel: The Art of Acting in TV Commercials

by Tom Logan

Paperback(Updated and Expanded)

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Acting in the Million Dollar Minute deals exclusively with the art of acting in commercials. Updated, revised, and expanded for today’s commercial actor, Tom Logan uses decades of experience to give the commercial actor insight into what happens on set and how a commercial is shot. He includes guidance on how to decipher the meaning behind the commercial script, begin and end each performance, immediately obtain the auditioners' attention, and beat out your competition. In addition, Logan offers direction on "taking the camera" from another actor (i.e., upstaging), working with the product, what separates the actor who got the part from the actors who didn't, and how to give the director a performance he can “cut” in the editing room.

Compiled from thousands of comments from hundreds of casting directors, ad executives, producers, and more, Acting in the Million Dollar Minute provides practical advice from an award-winning director.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781538137642
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 01/19/2021
Edition description: Updated and Expanded
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 1,076,451
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Tom Logan is a multi-award-winning director who has written, produced, and directed a long list of TV shows, feature films, and national and international TV commercials. He is the author of the very popular How to Act & Eat at the Same Time: the Do's and Don'ts of Landing a Professional Acting Job and How to Act & Eat at the Same Time: The Sequel. Tom has two sons and lives in Newport Beach, California, and on Lake Coeur d'Alene in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

Epigraph xiii

Introduction xv

Chapter 1 The Importance of Commercials 1

The Commercial "Type"

Show Me the Money

Commercials Are Big Business

The Importance of Commercials for the Actor

Do I Have to Move to Los Angeles or New York?

The Birthing Process of a Commercial

Crawling Around on the Floor Acting Like a Lion

When Does the Audition Begin?

Chapter 2 The Slate 21

The Importance of the Slate

Hitting Your Mark

The Frame Lines

What We Look for in the Slate

Other Things We May Ask for in the Slate

Should You Slate "in Character"?

Glasses and Slating

Tail Slate/End Slate

Chapter 3 The Top Four Complaints About Your Performance 49

Complaint Number One: No Human Qualities

Complaint Number Two: No Personality

Complaint Number Three: No Warmth

Complaint Number Four: No Fun

Making Mistakes

Chapter 4 Commercial Dialogue 77

Types of Commercials

Commercial Styles

Analyzing the Script

Comedy versus Drama


Marking the Script

The Good News-Bad News Syndrome

Coloring the Words



Pacing the Copy

Accents and Dialects

Cue Cards versus Scripts

Speaking From the Script

Speaking From Cue Cards -The Teleprompter

The Earprompter

Memorizing the Script -After the Dialogue

Chapter 5 Basic Commercial Acting Principles 121

No More Drunken Polar Bears

The Banging-Your-Head-Against-the-Wall Method

Frame of Reference


Research Through Observation

Character Objective

Memory Substitution


Chapter 6 The Hero 141

Mentioning the Product Name Words That Put the Product in Its Best Light

Handling the Product

Miming and Props - Eating the Product

Chapter 7 Why Most Multi-Person Auditions Don't Work 157

Discussing the Scene in Advance

The Director's Role: Fixing the Scene

Chapter 8 Multi-Person Commercials 169

Can an Acting Partner Ruin Your Performance?

Try to Find Out in Advance Who Your Partner Is

Study All Parts

The Separation Problem

Two-Person Slates

Slating Chemistry

Who Really Tells the Message in a Scene?

Reacting to Third Parties

Building a Physical Relationship

Give the Director an Editable Scene


The Importance of Partner Chemistry

Reading From Your Partner's Script

Pacing the Scene With Another Actor

Anticipating Your Partner

Chapter 9 Openings and Closings 199

The Opening Shot

The Closing Shot

Cutting Scenes Together

Chapter 10 Playing the Visual Environment 211

Giving a Visual Performance

Season and Locale

Chapter 11 Basic Camera Staging 221






Crossing in Front of Another Actor

Head Movement




Working With the Set

Chapter 12 Script Terminology 247

The Hard-Sell and the Soft-Sell

Terms Every Screen Actor Must Know

The Storyboard

Chapter 13 How Commercials Are Shot 257

Sequential Order of Shooting

Character Progression

The "Shooting" Script

Your Relationship With the Crew

The Actual Shoot

"Roll Camera"

The Shots

Chapter 14 That's a Wrap 277

About the Author 281

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