Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Tools of the Trade: Memorizing Lines

A major television casting director actually said it to me last week - "Your audition must be memorized."

He went on to explain that because so many roles are cast off tape, your energy needs to constantly be coming at the camera. And every time you dip your head to look at your sides, your energy dips. He stressed again and again - "Your energy has to come out of your head!"

A solid point, but I was still surprised by his vehemence. Most casting directors tell you to try to be off book, but always have your sides in your hand and use them when you need to. The wisdom I've lived by is this - don't focus on being off-book, focus on your acting.

So it was surprising to hear someone say, "Just memorize it." He's not the first - Homeland casting director Judy Henderson said the same to

Alright, fine. Time to up my game and work out my brain!

Acting teacher Doug Warhit always says your brain is a muscle - learning to memorize lines quickly and effectively is just about working that muscle. Here are a few techniques I've picked up --

  • Do it in front of a mirror. Pick up a script or a book - even a magazine article will do. Memorize the first line, then look up and say it. Then move on to the next line. Once you've mastered that, try two lines at a time. And so on and so on.

  • Practice with a friend - See how far you can get without looking at your script. I always find running lines with people helps me memorize much faster.

  • Write it out - When I was memorizing monologues in my theater days, I used to write them out word for word, over and over. I still do this if I have long speeches in my audition sides.
Try one or more of these every day, and you'll be memorizing pages a day in no time!

1 comment:

  1. it's funny - i used to book a lot more back in the day when i was just reading it off the paper and didn't take any audition classes!