Bringing the Funny

In my acting class last week, we focused on scripts from comedy series and I learned that comedy series are more fast paced than dramas and other shows. When auditioning for these parts, it’s important to stick to the words of the script because the humor and jokes are embedded into every word. Leaving out a few words here and there can completely change a joke.

Another thing that I’ve learned, is to “connect with the world of the play”. Now, that’s not saying that the “play” is a theater show, but a “play” is the body of work that you’re auditioning for – a commercial, a TV show, a film, or a theater production. If I were to audition for the TV show “Friends“, but I recited the lines in a very dramatic way like the people on a soap opera, I probably wouldn’t get the part because I didn’t do enough research on the show or understand what the world of the play was. “Friends” was a comedy so most of the lines from that show were very funny so if I auditioned for it, I should be, well, funny. Understanding the background, the world, and the concept for the project you’re working on is key to delivering a good audition.

My scene was from a pilot called “Sober Companion” in which I played Jeremy, a shopping addict who was assigned to watch over a self-destructive attorney to make sure he stayed clean. When I first read the lines, I thought that my character was a serious one. Even though, his addiction was shopping, he talked about how dark things got and how he had massive debts and stole from his family.

But as I did some research on the show, and begin to spend some time with the script, I realized that this was a comedy and the writers were making a funny comparison between my character’s addiction to shopping versus the lawyers addiction to alcohol. This made a huge difference in my approach and delivery of my lines. I had a line like “Addiction’s addiction. It’s all the same,” but I said it in way that came across funny. I knew my lines well enough so I was able to make bolder choices like speaking really fast, drawing out words, and widening my eyes a little. I think my body language matched the words I was saying.

When I was done, my class applauded for me and I was surprised because we generally clapped after my instructor analyzed our performance and we had a second take at the script. I felt that this was a “win” for me because my audience was able to connect with my performance with my first take. Sometimes, you don’t always get second chances so giving it your all the first run is very important and I’m glad I was able to accomplish that with this scene.

My instructor said, “You see how Sedrick brought his own quirkiness to the scene? He reminds me just like Eddie Murphy!”

That’s high praise indeed! That definitely made me laugh, but it sounds like another win to me!

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