Cold readings are never any fun at an acting audition. You can’t prepare ahead of time and be comfortable with your character, which can leave you feeling nervous at the start. This is not how you want to feel before an audition, so here are some helpful tips on delivering a great cold reading that could help you land the part.
5 Tips on Acing a Cold Read
The first thing to remember is that when you are given the script, immediately familiarize yourself with it. You don’t have to memorize it, but you want to make the most out of the limited time you have to go over the read. Also, remember to relax and take very deep breaths. This will keep you from sounding rushed and limit the number of mistakes you may make.
- The next thing you want to do after familiarizing yourself with the script is to dissect your character and break down the scene. Figure out what you character is doing? What your character wants? What the relationship is with the other characters? What is your character feeling? Establish where the scene takes place. This is important in establishing a connection with your character and helps you to deliver a more authentic performance.
- Use action to demonstrate what your character wants in the scene. Just because it’s a cold read doesn’t mean you have to stand still or be a statue. You can actually write notes in the script to give you cues on when to add more emphasis to certain parts.
- Make the best choice for your character and deliver your performance with conviction. It’s important to be confident at an audition, and confidence comes from choosing a character that fits you and that you can relate with. However, if you are feeling anxious or nervous use it to fuel your performance instead of drag you down and ruining your reading. More emotion can potentially set you apart from the other actors.
- Remember to take your time but not so much so that you are talking in slow motion. Think of it as a musical rhythm. Time your beats (also known as action) well. Stay attuned to the directors suggestions.
- Sometimes the director will ask you to read the scene with a partner. Don’t be alarmed; simply use the partner to your advantage. Interact with them; keep them engaged by making eye contact at the beginning and the end of your sentences.
Yes, cold reads are not fun and they may lead to a few mistakes, but remember casting directors expect that to occur. In fact, what will impress them the most is how you recover and fight through your slip ups on your way to delivering a good performance. So if you can keep these tips in mind you can easily ace your cold read and land the part you’re looking for.
When Nicolas Cage met Johnny Depp in the 80s, he advised Depp to pursue a career in acting.