While training to be an actor, I was taught never to be in commercials, never in corporate videos and never be an extra. "Your talent deserves better Michael, you are a star!" That last bit may or may not come into fruition in the public's eye, it really doesn't matter to me one way or another.
I can tell you something cool though....
Working in commercials has stretched my imagination and pushed my talent and crafting into livable real world situations. And while my objective may have been to push a product, I've practiced using masking techniques and different tactics to achieve my objective without being quite as commercial. On the corporate videos I've done, I've been given pages of dialogue and most recently a page and a half monologue to be memorized and lived in within an hour before filming. Extra work has taught me that everyone has a dream, and they are working for that dream. Some of the most incredible people I've met with wonderful stories are extras...at this moment. Treat them with respect, they're incredible.
Now that I am making the hard push for the TV/Film, and with a little bit of luck I'll get a shot. I realize how grateful I am for these experiences. Most of all, these people.
It's the Dennis Kibby's of the world that you immediately respect and want to listen to, it's the Tom O'Hare's and Nikki Pederson's who walk this world with honor and fight the fights for the little guy everytime, whether people are watching or not, it's the Anthony Abeson's and David Cady's of the world who give more than just acting lessons but a part of their soul and dreams for bringing truth and humanity to the screen, and it's the Jaiden Kaine's of the world who continually impress you by pushing themselves to the next level no matter how many times they get knocked down. What impresses me most about these amazing individuals, is they stop and help you up when you have fallen. I have no doubt that they will be king of their mountains, but they seem to believe there's room for more than just one at the top. They are succeeding in incredible ways, with honor and humility.