Motive Success Story: How Beth Fraser Booked a National Ad Campaign

August 14, 2017 by Motive Retouching Image for Motive Success Story: How Beth Fraser Booked a National Ad Campaign

Here at Motive, we love headshot retouching.  But you know what we love even more?  When our clients realize their dreams, succeeding as actors, models, and more. 

More importantly: it means a lot to you.  Why?  Because you can learn from other folks’ setbacks and successes. 

That’s why we launched Motive Success Stories.  They’re interviews with clients who are making it big in the industry, offering insights, personal lessons, and advice for all actors breaking in and breaking through.

Our featured client: Beth Fraser!

MR: Tell us about this most recent big success.  How did it come about?  What was the process for you to land the gig?  And what about when you actually had to work the job -- how did that go?  Please let us know how the process of shooting multiple "sequels" of the commercial has been.

BF: I would say it was the current Nasacort campaign that is running.  It will be my fourth year on the campaign as the spokesperson.  Of course it came about in a crazy way.  The audition was fairly normal and straightforward - name, slate, speak into camera or read the board if necessary (this I have found to be a skill in itself) and go on with your day.  Then, when I got the callback I was also scheduled on set for a film so I spent the whole time hoping against hope I would make it in time, which luckily I did.  It was a Skype callback, the production was in NYC.  Those feel extra tough for me because there is no one in the room to connect to and you never know how many folks are watching.   I felt pretty good about the callback and it turned into a booking.

At the time it was not for a campaign but just for an informational video which would end up as a point-of-sale in drugstores.  This was for the launch of the drug which had previously been only for prescription, so it was a pretty big deal for the company.  I was stoked to book it.  Then, a few days later I was told they were now thinking they wanted a blonde and I would have to go another round against some other actors.   It was tough, but I went in and told myself I was "the one to beat", as they had already chosen me previously, so I believe that carried me through. 

I flew to New Jersey and spent the day shooting the POS and flew right back home the next day.  After all of the back and forth with casting it really just felt like any other job. I had no idea I would be called back to NYC two weeks later to shoot the launch of their campaign - I have been lucky enough to be their spokesperson ever since.   We shoot all the spots once per year over the course of a day using a combination of teleprompter and script. 

MR: What got you into acting?

BF: The first time: when I was five, which may have coincided with the first time I saw “The Wizard of Oz” on TV.  I have only ever wanted to be two things since I was a kid - an actor and a paleontologist.  My first major role was Wilbur the Pig in Charlotte's Web in second grade and from then on dinosaurs became more of a hobby ;-).

MR: How did you get started in the industry?  What about once you moved to LA/NY/Chicago/wherever?

BF: My first true foray into the industry came by way of Home Shopping Network in Tampa where I was an on-air model for several years. I toyed with the idea of becoming a host, but that gig is way too hard for me!  After booking the commercials that got me SAG eligibility I moved out to LA.  It was very overwhelming at first so I took a job as a casting assistant to Jeff Hardwick who was very kind in taking on someone with no experience.  I learned so much working for casting.  I highly suggest for any actor - if you can be a reader or an assistant, jump at the chance.

MR: How did you train/prepare yourself?

BF: I graduated from college with a degree in Broadcast Journalism, and I think that really helps me when it comes to spokesperson work.  There are so many different classes in LA that it can be mind-boggling... but the awesome thing about that is you can pretty much be assured, if you are interested in any aspect of the industry or craft - there's a class for that!   To speak to that, I have taken improv classes at UCB and Groundlings, commercial classes with Judy Kain, Killian, and now over at AHC, a writing for actors class at BGB Studio - and those are just series, that doesn't even include the ongoing classes I have attended!

MR: What were some incremental successes you had?

BF: My first big commercial also gave me my SAG eligibility. It was with Dick Vitale for Pontiac.  I was told they had to shoot it in Florida because that's where Dick lives, so I was lucky enough to get an audition and book it. 

MR: What were some setbacks you faced?

BF: I have made many, many mistakes. But I have also tried to learn from those, so I don't consider them setbacks or failures.

MR: What was the hardest part of your journey?

BF: The hardest part still to me is the time when you get pinned or put on avail. You feel great, you are so close! Then, sometimes... nothing. Or the role gets cut. Or you see the spot later and realize they went in a totally different direction.  It's so hard to get that far and then most of the time you have silence if you don't book it.  I don't know if I will ever get used to that.

MR: What was a “breakthrough” moment for you?

BF: The most recent was this year, when I landed in an acting class that inspires me and boosts my confidence. It has brought me to the path I needed to be on to move to the next level.

MR: How did you go about choosing your photographer and getting your headshots?  The thought process and decisions?

BF: I have bounced around to a few photogs but I have my faves - I really feel that, like class, a photog should be a personal decision. Headshots, like auditions, are incredibly awkward. So I choose people who I am comfortable with (Dana Patrick, David Mueller, Joanna Degeneres, Shelli Wright), whose work I look at and think “Damn, I want to look like those people.”

MR: How did you go about choosing your retoucher and getting your retouching?  The thought process and decisions? 

BF: I need retouching that is natural. I want to see the lines on my face - your face tells a story.  I believe I first found Motive through a Yelp search many many years ago.  I used them once, liked the ease of it all as well as the natural retouches and I became a fan. It's so easy and fast (and no, this isn't a suggested endorsement - believe me, I would tell you if I liked others as well!).

MR: How did you persevere through the tough times?

BF: Whenever I feel super low, I take the hike up Mt. Lee to behind the Hollywood sign as fast as I can.  I get there (out of breath most of the time) and look out over this beautiful city and I think "I will conquer you."  I also get out of town, or try something new.  I find if you get out of your head and live life, it helps you in your acting life as well. 

MR: What was your highest point?

BF: The first year I was able to survive purely on money made through booking jobs.

MR: What’s driven you throughout your career?

BF: I'm stubborn. I have wanted to do this since I was a child and haven't felt satisfied yet.  When I feel that satisfaction (or if maybe boredom comes along), then I will do something else with my life.  But for now, acting and my family is all there is for me.

MR: What’s the worst piece of advice you ever got?

BF: Eh - all the bad advice comes from my own head. ;-)

MR: What’s the best piece of advice you ever got?

BF: I was working as a server in a high end restaurant when a lone gentleman came in early in the evening for a meal.  I served him and we had pleasant surface conversation, and of course I mentioned at some point that I was an actor.  The gentleman paid, he got up, threw his brown leather jacket over his shoulder, and as the dusk light filtered in through the windows he smiled and said "Never give up Beth, never give up."  He walked away and I picked up the check to see his signature - it was Curtis Hanson.

MR: What surprised you most in your career?

BF: Oh man - everything. Every day is different. There are super highs and super lows.  I think that is one thing I love about it, the absolute un-knowing-ness of it all (I also HATE that about it, LOL).  I do think a big surprise was when I moved out to LA with my SAG eligibility and two commercials under my belt, I thought it was going to be easy to pick up an agent and start auditioning right away... boy was I wrong!

MR: What went exactly as you expected (if anything)?

BF: Nope - not one thing has turned out as I expected. Honestly, that's OK. I don't know at this point that I would have it any other way.

MR: What would you tell aspiring actors?

BF: Get in a class.  Find the one that speaks to you, that makes you feel good about your work. Most importantly, find one that pushes you.  Get as much advice as you can, then research it and choose what feels right to you.  If you can, think about moving to a smaller-but-still-hot market to start.  Like ATL or even Vancouver if you have Canadian residency.  And then change it up. Don't ever let yourself get too comfortable.

One thing I had to learn was to be able to walk away for a few days (or weeks)   I became afraid to leave town, knowing I was missing auditions… but that is awful thinking, especially for someone whose work is highly enriched by their life experiences.   I took up pole fitness for a little over a year before I became pregnant and just loved it!   It was something I was interested in and I believe it filtered into my character choices.  So, live your life, explore your interests.  But if you go somewhere - DON'T FORGET TO BOOK OUT!

MR: What would you tell actors who are on the way but haven’t yet broken through?

BF: Audition audition audition.  Work.  Be in class. Take care of yourself. Keep your eye on the prize.  Realize this is a business and you are one in two or three thousand submissions a casting director sees for each role.  What can you do that will help you stand out (but in a professional manner)?  If you are SAG, sign up for AFI Conservatory! They are always looking for actors for their films.  It's a minimal commitment and it's tons of fun, plus you get tape and experience.

MR: What kinds of routines, habits, classes, etc., do you engage in now to raise your game and/or keep your skills sharp?

BF: I am in class constantly. I am watching as much TV and film as I can.  I audition for everything.  It's all a continuous learning process. I believe to get to the level of a series regular, I need to work as much as they are even if I don't have that job (yet).

MR: What’s your ultimate goal?

BF: Series regular - preferably a multi camera sitcom.  Those shows hold the best memories for me, and I would love to be able to help create that for someone else.

MR: How are you going to keep moving ahead?

BF: I am in class at Lesly Kahn Studio which I LOVE.  I am very lucky to be with a great teacher and an amazing group of actors who support each other, hold each other accountable for business, and are ridiculously talented.  I am going to keep my ear to the ground, keep developing my relationships, keep doing good work. 

Do you have a success story you want to share?  Reach out and let us know!

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