Mary Hodges' question
_In an audition taping, when there are multiple characters in a scene, where should your focus be? Because it's camera, slightly off of camera (but that point of focus is for one character...? How wide of a net (frame) should you allow your focus to roam? Also is it appropriate to ask casting if they have a point of focus preference?_
The camera does funny things. If you look too far to the left or right, to the camera it will look like you're looking off into poltergeist land and will look too over the top.
If there are 3 characters in the room, the central character who you're trying to get something from, your focus should be on your reader. Any auxiliary characters who enter the room, your eyes should place them in the upper right-hand corner of the edge of the camera, (not the lens, but the plastic rim of the camera).
And any other character should be in the upper or middle left. To make it simple. Imagine the reader placing her hand on the left hand side of the camera. Look at that hand. Or the left hand side of the camera.
So, your focus moves a matter of inches to the left or right of the camera.
Try this at home with your phone
Stack some books up and put your camera on top of it. Sit in your chair. Put a cup on either side of the camera, touching it. Just that close. Then turn on the camera and while talking out loud say,
"I'm looking at the cup on the right" and look at it.
"I'm looking at the cup on the left."
Then look at it. Then move your eyes dead center, right above the top of the camera and say,
"Now I'm looking at the reader."
Stop the camera and watch that short tape. And you will see how just the tiny adjustment of focus reads really truthfully in the room. Practice this and watch how you get better at creating the reality of talking to multiple people in an audition.
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April Yvette Thompson