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.
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.
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!)
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!