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Acting in Television Drama: Free Online Video Acting Lesson

Acting in Television Drama

Hello! It’s actor/director/instructor John Walcutt here! I teach the TV/Film Acting Scene Study class at 3-2-1- Acting school in Los Angeles. On this video are 2 of my acting students performing an interrogation scene. This is a very typical scene in television’s episodic dramas, or a “procedurals.” Indeed, this is part of the “procedure” on these shows, to find out who did it! You see these scenes play out every night on TV’s hour-long dramas. It is a scene where the series regular (the cop) interrogates, interviews, or just questions the guest star (our actors here) about a missing or dead person. This is why I chose it for my lesson plan. If you want to make your living as an actor in film or television, this is EXACTLY the type of scene you’ll need to know how to perform at an audition.

The master class I teach at 3-2-1- School, is geared toward you becoming a professional actor on television and in film. Other classes here focus on acting in commercials, and on kids acting in film and TV. My TV2 Scene Study class for TV/Film acting class focuses on giving teens and young adults the experience, techniques and confidence to get hired for acting roles in movies and on television shows.

This scene is very likely the scene from this episode which the casting director would actually ask you to use for your audition. You would prepare it on your own, then go in and perform the scene for the casting director. You would be doing the scene with a “reader” in the office. This is not a professional actor. Rarely is he even an actor at all. The reader is someone (secretary, assistant, gopher…) who the casting director hires to read off camera with the actors. They just read. You have to bring in all the choices, emotion, truth and tension. You will often be put on tape, as you see here, so that others (the rest of the casting office, producers, directors) can view your audition footage later.

If your goal is to have a successful career as an TV/Film actor then, it is extremely important that you learn how to prepare these dramatic TV/Film scenes.

The following are the questions I have my acting  students ask themselves:

What and where are the “beats” in the scene?  How can you make the stakes high (remember: it’s called DRAMA!), and escalate the tension in the scene? How do you make it personal, authentic, and specific, and avoid playing a “tone”? How to avoid being “theatrical”? What is the “turn” in the scene? What is the “button”? Learn more at 3-2-1 Acting Studios!

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Here is the Intergation Scene for you to practice!

Cameron questions Taylor.

She was going to the Square to get some fancyjogging watch.

Vanessa say anything about meeting a friend?

Kip indicates “no”.

She may have met Ginger. Or Justin. But I’m not sure.

Virgil slides a pen over to Kip.

Will you write down their names? How does she know Justin?

They dated for awhile. Not one of my favorites.

A pregnant moment. Then,

There was another kid. Charles something…
I don’t know.  Find Ginger. Talk to her She’d know.

Who’s Ginger?

‘Nessa’s best friend. “Sister” she calls her. Wait… (beat)
She was going to spend the night with Ginger last night.
She sent me a text. I got it at dinner…

Cameron watches Taylor for a moment. Then,

Kip, did you know Vanessa was pregnant?

OFF a stunned –Taylor


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