For the acting community

Tips on Learning Lines
Total posts: 38
Joined: 11 year(s) ago
Posted 11:57 AM Dec. 11, 2011

Getting your lines down cold for a film or play involves a lot more work than one would think. You can go over the script with your scene partner, but unless the two of you go through life joined at the hip he or she is not often available when you are. Bringing in a friend or significant other to read the lines with you can be problematic because (a) ho hum, they're not invested in the outcome and have other things to do and (b) they're likely to give you a flat read in any case.

Alternatively you can highlight your lines on the page and hold the script at your side for quick reference as you memorize, or hide sections of the script with your hand as you learn them, or record the scene partner's lines and flip back and forth in the script as you flub your own. It's frustrating and a slow slog.
Here's a tip I learned from an actor in Los Angeles that has proved very effective for me, doesn't require a partner or script in hand, and goes anywhere. Here's what you do: read (act) the entire scene into a hand-held voice recorder. Read your scene partner's lines loudly and with whatever emotion and pacing you think is appropriate. When you get to your own lines in the scene, speak them at a whisper.
Later - driving to the day job, walking down the street, making dinner, whenever you have a moment alone - pull out the recorder, play the scene back, and speak your lines in a normal tone and with feeling. If you blank or get a line wrong, the correct whispered line is right there for immediate reference.
It works like a charm and has cut the time it takes for me to learn lines by at least half.
Total posts: 8
Joined: 9 year(s) ago
Posted 3:15 PM Jun. 9, 2012
I agree with this; I do my best learning by means of a tape recorder!