LEARNING LINES

Opening a new script is an exciting moment but can also be rather nerve-wracking, especially if you don’t have a lot of time for memorising lines. In the acting industry you can often get work or auditions with very little notice, scripts change overnight and TV shows shoot on a very fast turnaround.

Therefore it’s a good idea both as an aspiring and professional actor to have a couple of tricks up your sleeve for approaching text. And unless you’re only going to work as an improv comedian you’re going to meet a script sooner rather than later.

Here at YAFTA we feel that getting sides for an audition at the last minute or facing a big script for a new role doesn’t have to be daunting. Here are our top YAFTA tips for tackling those lines:

Write them out.

The oldest tip in the book but one that comes first on our list for a reason. Writing out lines is laborious but it is a very good way to really get the words into your head.

Speak!

Practising your lines the way they will be performed; aka out loud, is another great way to both learn lines and practise the acting along with them. Rehearsing with someone else will of course give you the most realistic experience but you can also record your lines or simply your cues on your phone to practise alone.

Know why you’re saying what you’re saying.

Don’t just learn the lines by rote. Think about the words, what they mean and what your character means by them. If you understand what you are saying and why you have a better chance of remembering them. Read the other lines, learn your cues and know what you are responding to. That way you can react to your cues rather than simply remember your lines.

Try an app.

There are lots of new options appearing using technology to help actors rehearse and learn lines. LinePlease which is text input based and WeRehearse video chat are just two to try out.

Find out what type of learner you are.

Everyone learns differently and traditional techniques might not be right for you. Are you a visual learner? Kinetic? Auditory? Try colour coding your lines, walking around as you recite them, using music, tapping a beat as you learn, the options are endless.

Play around.

Don’t treat line learning as a chore, you’re getting to do what you love; act, have fun with it! Play around with the lines and the way you practise them. Use acting exercises and games on your script and don’t forget to enjoy yourself. (More on this in our “preparing a role” tips coming soon!)

Bonus Tip.

Remember there are no rules! The way you learn lines is a personal thing. What works for one actor might not work for you so keep experimenting until you find a system or a combination of options that suit you.

We hope these tips give you some ideas the next time you’re preparing for an audition or starting work on a new script. If you’re feeling a little rusty on your script preparation and line learning YAFTA has a number of options to get you back in shape.

Our weekly acting for screen classes cover not only the craft of acting but script analysis, audition prep and industry skills. We also have a range of masterclasses which give you the opportunity to meet and learn from industry professionals, for example, casting workshops where students prepare scripts for practise audition sessions with casting directors. Check out the website for more details. www.yafta.co.uk.

Good luck with the line learning and see you on screen!

Elliot Laurence trained at ALRA North after graduating from Sheffield Hallam University. Continuing to work as an actor he has worked with companies such as Bolton Octagon, HOMEmcr, Collingwood Learning and Sheffield Theatres.
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Adam received his training at The Academy Of Live And Recorded Arts (ALRA), where he studied stage, screen and audio performance. Since graduating Adam has been cast in various productions in a versatile range of mediums including voice over, theatre, music video, and film. Adam has experience working as a teacher with children, adults and vulnerable groups too.
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Anna Dawson is an Actress, TV Presenter and Musician alongside being a Writer and PR/Marketing Exec. Additionally Anna works in production and has worked as production manager on various feature films such as the recent Scott & Sid which filmed in Yorkshire. With a degree in Politics from Durham University and a long list of acting credits in film, TV and theatre, Anna was chosen to become the Public Relations Officer for the Equity Yorkshire Ridings General Branch Committee.
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Lee Maxwell Simpson gained a first class degree in Drama from Manchester University before training as an actor at London's Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. After graduating, he appeared in a number of commercials, notably for Thomson Holidays and Moonpig.com, and various short films and stage productions, including a National Youth Theatre tour to the Middle East and a spoken word European tour with the novelist Jonathan Coe.
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Ian Puleston-Davies is a professional actor who has recently filmed Marcella, Beowulf and Lewis. Ian played Owen Armstrong in Coronation Street for 5 years prior to his recent acting achievements. Ian has an impressive acting CV having been in most major soaps and dramas in the UK over the past 20 years. Some of his credits include Eastenders, Waterloo Road, Silent Witness, Life on Mars, I'm Alan Partridge, Dalziel & Pascoe to name a few. He is currently writing his own screenplay and working as an actor but will also be finding the time to teach YAFTA masterclasses. Ian supports the development of actors at YAFTA.
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Charlotte is the Managing Director of YAFTA. She is a TV Presenter, Actress, and Agent. Charlotte also owns YAFTA Talent Agency and YAFTA Consultancy. Charlotte is currently working as a TV Presenter for various companies including Made in Leeds TV. In 2015 Charlotte had her own TV show called ‘Challenge Charlotte’ which aired across the Made Network in Leeds, Tyne & Wear, Bristol and Cardiff, the show is set for a second series in 2016. She also played the role of Hannah O’Rourke in BBC1’s Happy Valley and played various roles in TV Comedy Sketch Show ‘Cool Beans’. In January 2016, Charlotte filmed the part of Jane in Coronation Street. She will also be one of the judges for Made in Leeds’ TV Programme ‘Star Made’.
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Charlotte is the Managing Director of YAFTA. She is a TV Presenter, Actress, and Agent. Charlotte also owns YAFTA Talent Agency and YAFTA Consultancy. Charlotte is currently working as a TV Presenter for various companies including Made in Leeds TV. In 2015 Charlotte had her own TV show called ‘Challenge Charlotte’ which aired across the Made Network in Leeds, Tyne & Wear, Bristol and Cardiff, the show is set for a second series in 2016. She also played the role of Hannah O’Rourke in BBC1’s Happy Valley and played various roles in TV Comedy Sketch Show ‘Cool Beans’. In January 2016, Charlotte filmed the part of Jane in Coronation Street. She will also be one of the judges for Made in Leeds’ TV Programme ‘Star Made’.
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