"Commercials, Unveiled" with John McKinney

Voiceover Lab

New York

"Commercials, Unveiled" with John McKinney

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

6:30 PM
Check-in begins at: 6:15 PM


There are few industries as mysterious or confounding as the world of commercial acting.  From the talent selection process to copy interpretation, misperceptions abound.  No doubt you’ve felt this to be true every time you audition.  Breakdowns are scanty at best.  Direction is confusing if not ludicrous.  One acting teacher will say one thing, another will say the opposite. In short, everyone’s playing a guessing game – including many in the industry – trying to anticipate what ad agencies want in their talent.  It’s as if no one really knows what’s going on.

Why not come meet someone who does?

As a former award-winning copywriter for over twenty years, John McKinney has created – and overseen casting for – over a hundred national TV and radio campaigns and understands the concerns and secret “rules” of copy delivery.  And as a former radio DJ and voice actor himself (and currently a published playwright), John understands the actor’s process and can explain the business in their own language.

This two-hour seminar will pull back the veil from the murky, labyrinthine world of commercials and voiceovers and provide much needed insights on everything from breaking down copy to audition technique to networking tips.  The final segment of the class will be reserved for Q&A so each actor can address their own special concerns.  

Please note: there will be no reading as this is strictly a lecture/Q&A.


John McKinney began life as a radio DJ where he worked at various rock stations throughout the Northeast both on the air and as a producer of commercials and promos. He later migrated from the airwaves to a twenty-year career as a copywriter for several major New York ad agencies (Kenyon & Eckhardt, Grey, LCF&L, Gotham, to name a few) where he not only won some prestigious awards for his TV and radio campaigns but also took an active role in the hiring of actors for many national campaigns. All the while, John still kept a hand in voice acting, voicing TV and radio spots for General Foods, Verizon and other megabrands.

Today, this unique and diverse range of experience serves John well in his current capacity as Casting Director at Pomann Sound where he has cast voiceovers for Heineken, Verizon, Burger King, Comcast and countless other brands. He also coaches actors privately, working mainly with top level talent.

When not casting commercials, John spends his time pursuing his other calling as a playwright. His stage plays have earned over thirty productions worldwide, five publishing contracts and two NYIT Award nominations, including one for Best Original Script in 2013. John often discovers new talent for his commercial casting through his theater connections, and vice versa.

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