Good cop, Bad cop

There is a missing ingredient in your camera audition that many of you are overlooking, and therefore missing a HUGE opportunity for your character.

Audition Scenario: you are auditioning for a suspect in an interrogation room. Law & Order, Person of Interest, The Good Wife.

There are two detectives in the scene with you.

You are relating to your reader as if he/she plays both detectives. You keep your focus on the one reader throughout the scene.

Everyone is an individual. Even cops and detectives.

If you really pay attention to the writing you will notice there are slight (or big) differences of character between the two detectives.  One thinks you are guilty and threatens you with force. The other is pretending to be your ally to get you to confess. Good cop. Bad cop.

Have you made it clear to your audience that you are talking to TWO different people?

When auditioning, be specific with your focal points and differentiate the off-screen characters’ personalities.

You can completely convince audiences to “see” the off-screen characters. We see what you see. Take the time to really flesh out the believable differences between the multiple characters in the scene with you.  Make it visual and personal. Guide us to really “see” the monster coming at you and your child, or the annoying waiter interrupting your scene.

And, yes, this applies to any audition scene with multiple characters off-screen! A four year old and a friend, a waiter and your lover, Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker. Your character relates to each one of them differently.

TOP TIPS for acting with multiple off-screen characters:

  1. Focal Points. Pick an imaginary point for the second cop to sit off-camera. (I suggest picking a spot on the other side of the camera from your reader, at your eye level.)
  2. Character Work. Distinguish and SHOW us how you feel about the two characters speaking to you. How are they each triggering you differently?
  3. Practice. Rehearse it so you are confident with playing these choices in the audition room. Practice your focal points and emotional differences.

Now, you will be more specific in your technical skills AND your acting choices.

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