Having my first ever audition with a casting agency, I arrived to be handed a page long script that I was required to memorise, then perform without the paper, ten minutes later.
I quickly grabbed a blank piece of paper and Mind Mapped the content, added additional components I had to include about myself. I ran through the content, associating components to make a story and focused very hard.
Soon, it was my turn to head upstairs where I passed a lady exiting who was shaking her head at how poor her memory was. ‘Good luck!’ she said, as she walked passed.
First audition, first time looking straight into a camera in a studio, a few nerves and on third attempt – I got the entire script out!
I’ve asked Bill Jarrard to share a few tips that he has taught me over the years, to give some insight how it’s possible to memorise a page of text in less than ten minutes:
- First skim read the text to put it into context. You’re basically just trying to get a reasonable idea on what the scene and dialogue is about. (30 secs)
- Read it a second time, using a highlighter or pen to mark key words, and noting where the flow of the dialogue changes. (2 min)
- Read it again sub-vocalising as you go to get the ‘sound’ of the dialogue into your head, while visualising the scene in full action mode. (2 min)
- Put the text page away and create a Mind Map of the flow of the dialogue, based on your visualisation of the scene. Remember to use key words, images, symbols etc to make the scene come alive, creating new branches at scene or dialogue changes. (2 min)
- Now compare your Mind Map to the actual text to see how well you represented it, and update your Mind Map to improve the flow and strength of your visualisation. (1 min)
- After studying the final Mind Map lay it aside and rehearse your lines – you’re just about ready to win the role – do this twice if you have time. (2 x 1 min)
- When you are in the audition ‘see’ the Mind Map as you read – don’t think about the page of text. Visualise the colourful image loaded Mind Map to bring the scene to life – and have fun acting (unless of course it’s a death scene, in which case have fun inside).
Lastly, as Lauren will tell you, in an audition the casting directors don’t always expect you to be word perfect – that will come when you get the part. But they do want to see if you’re able to grasp the scene, can reflect it back reasonably accurately, and are able to ‘perform’ for the part. It may seem like a tough task, particularly in less than 10 minutes, but I guess that’s why there are so many unemployed actors. Good luck.