Today’s #terminologytuesday was a request that we are happy to oblige!
When you go in for a comedic audition, it’s important to first decipher whether the show is a single-cam or multi-cam comedy.
Single-cam & multi-cam comedies have a different tone/feel and your performance should be adjusted as such.
Multi-cam comedies can feel “bigger” and a little more “theatrical.” They are more fast paced and joke-driven. Shows like Seinfeld, Friends and Big Bang Theories are all multi-cam comedies. In short, they are also all 1/2 hour comedies shot in front of a live audience.
The reason for the difference in humor largely attributes to the fact that there is a live audience—making them feel more like theater. There are stages set before an audience and the “play” is captured on multiple cameras as actors walk from one set into another, often in just one take with multiple cameras capturing the necessary angles to create a seamless experience for television. Because of this, multi-cam scripts take an otherwise 22-32 page television script and turn it into a 52-58 page script.
Single-camera sitcoms are written in a more standard format, much like feature film scripts. They can convey more complex, nuanced emotions and themes. Because of this, they can explore a wider range of genres.
If you’re unsure whether a script you’re reading is a single or multi-cam, check the spacing. If it is single-spaced without act breaks, it most likely is a single-cam show. A double-spaced sitcom script is a dead giveaway of a multi-cam format. The extra spacing allows cast and crew to write additional directions and make production changes during filming. Swipe to see the differences.
If available, always see if you can try and watch a few episodes of the series prior to coming in (at least the pilot, if possible). If you’re going in for a pilot, use those script analysis skills. How does the pacing read? What does the language/dialogue tell you about the comedy?
Analyzing the script, doing your research, and knowing the style of comedy you’re going in for are all important pieces of homework when working on a comedy audition.
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