Police Squad invented the spoof cop show genre, and tons have followed in those footsteps. Last month we wanted to shoot a short screen test for a show we want to shop around. It’s a police spoof, but much more absurd than Brooklyn Nine Nine.
We don’t have to go back all the way to The Andy Griffith Show or Barney Miller to find good ones. There are plenty from the last few years like Pacific Station on Netflix or The Good Guys. Those are good, but there are way better ones from recent years.
Yes, I’m talking about Reno 911! and Britain’s A Touch of Cloth. Those were both plain brilliant, and a lot closer to what we were looking for if you can find the right standing sets so you don’t have to build it all from scratch.
All you need for a great scene like this is two or three really clever comedians, a script with a high density of JPM… yes, that’s Jokes Per Minute, and then a film shoot location, preferably one that’s ready to go.
If you’re not in Los Angeles it’s a bit more challenging to find a film production studio, but they’re out there, and they cost far less than trying to build it all from scratch.
From there you just need to sprinkle in some clever production value. For example, put a camera with a fish eye lense in the Police Station Set while the perp or perps think they’re alone and make it look like CCTV footage. It’s quick, cheap, and easy, and you can let the actors riff on the concept of spilling the beans in horrible and embarrassing ways.
But you don’t go straight to the confession with it. No, you confess to everything BUT the crime. Confess to taking an extra sugar packet, cutting in line, tithing 10% on net instead of gross income. Gotta flip the script to compete in an already overcrowded genre.
If you’re in the Interrogation Room Set, you’ve got even more options. Set up three cameras; a wide and two singles, then do pickups as needed for reactions. You can shoot quickly with minimal setup, plow through reams of dialogue, and still have room to play with the script and let the comedians work their magic.
This all assumes your video shoot locations are clear, tidy, and ready to go.
So what’s the future of our scene? Well, it’s not promising. It’s incredibly challenging to get actors’ schedules to lineup to make something, even when there’s pay on the line, but we’re not dead yet. Still have to finish “Who Is Bobby Joe?” before tackling another major project, and that is still coming along, though at a pace I can only describe as exasperating.
On the plus side, I’ve got a whole new series of videos coming out in the next month that should span a half dozen segments. A good thing too because I haven’t released enough content this year and I can only hope my subscribers are half as disappointed as I am.