In the audition room, actors have the opportunity to become famous over night. But, what do you do when you have a small one-liner, a speaking part in a movie or TV show that is only a few words? How do you make that one-liner stand out?
Recently, on Reddit, one user asked that same question and other working actors shared their advice.
Here are the 3 best ways to make a one-liner stand out
Show up and show out
It’s never just a throwaway role. And here in LA, actors don’t show up to ones-liners all the time. It boggles my mind.
This is not only an opportunity to meet and introduce yourself to the casting director but also to be seen by the producers, writers, directors. An audition is essentially networking but also building up a relationship for future, better gigs.
Moreover, a lot of times one liners can turn into multiple liners, multiple days of work, recurring to series regular.
Never take for granted a one-liner or throwaway role, because I will gladly come in to audition in your place.
Find your purpose
Figure out how that line serves the purpose of the show. Small roles like this serve one of two purposes. You either help the protagonist get what they want. Or you prevent them. So it sounds like you are the latter. So keep that in mind, and remember your purpose and how you serve the story. You’re not the lead, you don’t have to create a crazy character ark. By what you must do is find an intriguing and compelling way to stop the lead you are most likely acting with, from achieving their objective. That’s how you book that role.
Plant a seed
You’re not just auditioning for that role, you’re planting a seed for everything after, with everybody that’s in that room.
And one thing leads to the next. Early on, I took a role as an extra through a craigslist ad. Turned out it was an Emmy winner from NYC coming to our town. One of the small speaking roles, the guy got fired because he couldn’t follow blocking directions. The director pointed at me and said to get with wardrobe and get a suit on. Ended up showing on a major cable channel. So my reel had the channel logo on bottom right of the screen for a speaking role. Helped me get several indie film roles, and those grew too. That little logo on one clip of my reel, along with a few clips from those indie shorts, helped me get a real agent, too. You never know.
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