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The Science and Art of Acting for the Camera by John Howard Swain

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Chapter 21

The Moment Before and the Tag

In a commercial, as in a film or an episode on TV, or in a play, your character needs to be coming from someplace. His/her life can’t begin with his entrance or his/her first line of dialogue. If you don’t find some way of engaging in the storytelling before the story begins, you’ll always be at least a beat behind and you’ll never catch up.

The good news is you don’t need to do the elaborate work for a commercial that you would do in preparing for a film, but you do need to do something. So, what do you do?

The best way to make sure you’re engaged is to come up with a question your first line of dialogue answers. Then have the person you put in the camera, the one with the problem, ask you that ...

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