A few tips on script learning techniques from our vlog presenter and actress Jessica Jay…
I’ve spoken before about the difficulty we have as actors with script learning techniques and large chunks of script, especially if it is to be performed directly to camera, in one long monologue, in one long take!
Some people seem to naturally gifted, others not so much. I wouldn’t say this was a skill I was born with but it’s certainly something I have practiced and practiced over the years and now am very confident with. Some weeks I can have up to 4 or 5 scripts running through my head in rotation and let me tell you, its confusing and incredibly draining.
So, how do we learn and retain this much text?
Luckily we are far more technically advanced these days than when I was at performing arts school, so it makes sense to utilize these advancements. I find using voice record on my phone or on the iPad incredibly useful for dialogue scripts. I record the script reading ONLY the other persons lines, then leave a 10 second gap in between each line for me to insert mine! Not only do you now have yourself as your own reading partner but you can be on the tube, with your earphones in, reading through and rehearsing your audition or scene. It sounds really obvious but it surprises me the number of actors I have mentioned this too have have not thought of rehearsing in this way.
Read it out Loud
Read your words where possible! To anyone who will listen! I usually choose the Dog as he is more responsive than my other half haha! Don’t “act” it, read it, as monotonely as possible. This way, you do not develop any muscle memory (sorry – a very actory term!) or pre-planned way of delivering your lines.
If you are neutral in your rehearsal you are far more likely to be able to quickly adapt to your directors requests or any changes you are thrown on the day! Trust me, if you have pre-decided the way you will stand, deliver and react and then rehearsed and rehearsed so this is set in your mind and body, it can be very difficult to change with a moments notice. Directors expect actors to be versatile and sometimes in castings, they ask you just to perform something with a different impetus or with a different accent just to see if you can, even though your actual interpretation might be spot on. It happens, so be prepared.
I don’t know about other actors out there but I find it near on impossible to learn text and perform confidently if I do not know what I am talking about or it makes very little sense to me. If I am learning a scene for an audition, I need to understand the context of that scene and where it comes in the story, and what the characters establish in that scene. Always request this info although often you are not given it, so make a decision on what sense you make from it and commit to it.
If I’m presenting or vlogging, relaying info on dancers or a certain music video shoot for example, I like to have SEEN the video! When I began vlogging for Silvertip, Geoff had to have many painful and long conversations explaining to me the benefits and using GoPros, Ghosts, Sony FS700’s, etc! Once I understood and had seen demonstrations, my delivery hopefully seemed far more natural and informed which is the name of the game!
So, there you have it, my top tips for learning scripts!
There are many techniques and methods but these few I’ve mentioned, I have found the most practical and useful over the years. What works for you? Tweet us on @silvertipfilms and tell us!
Memorizing scripts is stressful!