5 Great Ways to Master Your Cold Read Audition

By Webmaster

  • 5 Great Ways to Master Your Cold Read Audition

    Who says that doing a cold read means you can’t perform at your best?

    (By Jim Webb)

    (Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash)

    Doing a cold read audition is a lot like getting thrown into a pool when you haven’t yet learned how to swim. You haven’t had much time to prepare, to learn your lines, to develop your character, to understand the story. Yet, into the pool you go. Sink or swim, it’s all on you.


    RELATED:
    What is a “Cold Read”?


    Naturally, inexperienced actors will kick and thrash about in the “cold read pool”, before fear and fecklessness grips them and they inevitably drown. But does it always have to be this way? Must every actor suffer the same fate at a cold read; thrashing about, attempting to swim, before the pressure of the moment consumes them and they sink to the bottom like a rock?

    Fortunately, there are some things an actor can do to survive a cold read audition. Below are a few:

  • Remember, a cold read audition is an audition, not a reading

    Remember, a cold read audition is still an audition. It’s not a reading. Even though you’ve had little time to study the material, you are still expected to perform the role, not just read it. That means keeping your head up as often as possible, rather than burying it in the script.

    Keep as much eye contact with the reader as you possibly can. Keep your face alive and engaged for the camera. You’re not just reading, you’re acting!

    Grab your lines and go!

    One way to keep your head up while doing a cold reading is to grab your lines and go. In other words, read a few words to yourself, lift your head and say those words to the reader, before dropping your eyes back down to grab the next few words.

    You repeat this process throughout the course of the audition, even if it means taking your time and performing your audition very slowly, in a way that feels almost unnatural. It’s better to go slowly and give a great performance than to speed read and give a lousy one.

  • Use your thumbs to follow along

    Because you’re doing a cold read, it’s very easy to lose your place in the sides or script. Using your thumbs to keep your place is crucial. Hold your script at chest level, without covering your face, hold the script with both hands, when possible, and ease your thumbs down the page as you go from one line to the next. Simple, right?

    Using your thumbs in this way not only maintains your place on the page, it maintains your confidence. Your thumbs essentially tell you what to say next. There’s a confidence in that. You don’t have to search for your next line. You know exactly where to find it. Always.

    Identify the “moments”

    Who says that doing a cold read means you can’t perform at your best?

    All you have to do is identify the important “moments” in the script. Use whatever brief time you have to prepare, not to learn as many lines as you can, but rather, to identify as many key moments as you can.

    For example, if there’s a line that your character says that defines their character, one that alters their relationship with the other characters, one that demonstrates a change in the character, one that is particularly emotional – those are moments to concentrate on, with what little time you have to prepare.

    The rest of your audition might be a little flat and stale. But when those moments – those all-important moments – come up, you will be prepared.

  • Use your normal auditions to practice your cold reading skills

    When you receive sides or a script for a normal audition or booking, take the opportunity to practice your cold reading skills.
    That is, you’ve just received your sides and you know you have time to prepare adequately for the audition. But before you get into your normal preparation – learning your lines and building your character – why not take a moment to perform the sides like you would at a cold read?

    As the old saying goes, “Practice makes perfect”. That adage applies to your cold reading skills, as well.


    You Might Also Like:
    What is a “Cold Read” Audition?


     

    Recommended Posts

  • Ad

  • A Farewell to Carl Reiner 

    A Farewell to Carl Reiner  Reiner became a force in Hollywood, thanks to his acting skills, jokes and creative ingenuity (by AM Staff)  (Carl Reiner in Ocean’s Eleven) We would like to bid…

    5 Basic Facts About Uta Hagen

    5 Basic Facts About Uta Hagen  “If you want a bourgeois existence, you shouldn’t be an actor” (by Tonya Tannenbaum) Uta Hagen was an American who rose to prominence, first as a successful…

    Memory vs. Imagination: Which Approach Works Best?

    Memory vs. Imagination: Which Approach Works Best? Actors have many different devices for achieving magic (by Tonya Tannenbaum) (Photo: Ben Sweet/Unsplash) How should an actor work-up the emotions needed to perform a scene…

    Kate Winslet’s Advice to Actors

    Kate Winslet’s Advice to Actors  Winslet’s main advice to actors: keep going!  (by Jim Webb) (Kate Winslet in The Reader) Kate Winslet is an English actress who first found fame when she was…

    5 Basic Facts About Tom Hanks 

    5 Basic Facts About Tom Hanks  From Forrest Gump to Mr. Rogers; memorable performance after memorable performance. (by Jim Webb) (Tom Hanks in Bridge of Spies) Tom Hanks is an extraordinarily versatile actor. …

  • Ad

  •  “I think the word “acting” is a bad word for what we do.” (Dennis Haysbert)

     “I think the word “acting” is a bad word for what we do.” (Dennis Haysbert) (Arranged by AM Staff) Do you consider acting to be the art of performing a character or the…

    5 Basic Facts About Viola Davis 

    5 Basic Facts About Viola Davis  Davis is the first black actor to achieve the Triple Crown in Acting (by Jim Webb)  (Viola Davis in How to Get Away with Murder) Viola Davis…

    7 Self-Tape Instructions Actors Often Ignore

    7 Self-Tape Instructions Actors Often Ignore Treat your self-tape like you’re baking a cake. Follow ALL directions and you’ll get a sweet result. (by Jim Webb) (Photo: Luis Quintero/Pexels) Self-taping was already the…

  • Ad

  • 5 Facts About Denzel Washington

    5 Facts About Denzel Washington The greatest African American male actor in the history of American cinema? (by Jim Webb) (Denzel Washington in Man on Fire) Is Denzel Washington the greatest African American…

    What is the “Pick-an-Eye Technique”?

    What is the “Pick-an-Eye Technique”? An unofficial name for a brilliant acting technique (by Jim Webb) You probably already know who Michael Caine is from all his many roles in films like The…

    3 Misdemeanors to Avoid on Your Acting Résumé

    3 Misdemeanors to Avoid on Your Acting Résumé Misdemeanors aren’t felonious, but they can still be problematic (by Jim Webb) (Photo: Niu Niu/Unsplash) When it comes to an actor’s résumé, there are differing…

    5 Basic Facts About Robert De Niro

    5 Basic Facts About Robert De Niro One of the most storied careers the entertainment industry has ever seen (by Jim Webb) His legendary roles, in various iconic films, have established Robert De…

    Netflix and Quarantine…and Watch Some Great Acting!

    Netflix and Quarantine…and Watch Some Great Acting! You can see lots of great, original movies, featuring some stellar acting performances, on Netflix (by Carmichael Phillips) (Photo: Freestocks/Unsplash) So, this Coronavirus pandemic has you…

  • Ad

  • 7 Basic Facts About Meryl Streep

    7 Basic Facts About Meryl Streep Here are 7 basic facts about the “greatest actress of her generation”: Meryl Streep (by Jim Webb) (Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada) Meryl Streep is…

    Actor Stories: Geoffrey Owens’ Rise and Fall…and Rise Again!

    Actor Stories: Geoffrey Owens’ Rise and Fall…and Rise Again! Owens’ newfound fame has given his career a renaissance (by Jim Webb) (Geoffrey Owens) “I’m Geoffrey Owens and I am an actor!” That was…

    Actors Who Have Tested Positive for the Coronavirus

    Actors Who Have Tested Positive for the Coronavirus The acting community has not been spared from the destruction (by Jim Webb) Covid-19 is ravaging our public health system and the global economy. It…

  • Ad

  • Actor Stories: Molly Shannon’s 10-Year-Struggle to Beat the Odds in Hollywood

    Actor Stories: Molly Shannon’s 10-Year-Struggle to Beat the Odds in Hollywood How many years are you willing to dedicate to your dream of becoming a professional, working actor? (Arranged by Carmichael Phillips) How…

    Keep Your Actor Body!

    Keep Your Actor Body! Cut Down on Sugar to Stay in Shape During Quarantine (Todd Bruce) Coronavirus has robbed us of something many of us hold dear: our weekly or monthly trips to…

    Quarantine and Build

    Quarantine and Build…Your Acting Career! 5 Things You Can Do to Improve Your Acting Career While Under Quarantine (by Jim Webb) (Photo: Ani Kolleshi vu Dazveny /Unsplash) “It was the worst of times….

    Don’t Do These 7 Things When Choosing a Monologue

    Don’t Do These 7 Things When Choosing a Monologue Here are some things you should absolutely avoid when choosing your next monologue (by Jim Webb) Are you looking for a new monologue? Don’t…

    The Push Strategy vs. The Pull Strategy

    The Push Strategy vs. The Pull Strategy What if you, as an actor, didn’t wait for the market to demand your acting services? (by Carmichael Phillips) (Photo: Merakist/Unsplash) “My career began the day…

  • Ad

  • 7 Basic Facts about Stella Adler

    7 Basic Facts About Stella Adler Stella Adler left behind a powerful legacy, inspiring a who’s who of iconic actors (by Carmichael Phillips) Stella Adler (February 10, 1901- December 21, 1992) may have…

    “Tenacity is almost more important than talent” (Mark Hamill)

    Mark Hamill: ‘Tenacity is almost more important than talent’ What kind of person does Hamill believe should become a professional actor? (Arranged by AM staff) (Mark Hamill in Star Wars) Actor Mark Hamill…

    Don’t Panic! It’s Just a Redirect.

    Don’t Panic! It’s Just a Redirect. 5 Things You Can Do to Reduce the Fear of the Dreaded Redirect (By Jim Webb) Human beings didn’t always dominate the Earth. Once upon a time,…

  • Ad

  • Actor Stories: How Rashida Jones Almost Gave Up on Acting

    Actor Stories: How Rashida Jones Almost Gave Up on Acting ‘It felt like a waste of time to keep doing this over and over again’ (by Carmichael Phillips) Ok, fine! Rashida Jones’ entertainment…

    Christian Bale: “Don’t be a one-trick pony”

    Christian Bale: “Go for new tricks. Don’t be a one-trick pony” “Don’t fall back on your old tricks” (Arranged by Carmichael Phillips) (Christian Bale in American Psycho) In an interview with the Oral…

    5 Great New Year’s Resolutions for Actors

    5 Great New Year’s Resolutions for Actors Here are some great New Year’s resolutions you should strive for, if you haven’t already (by James Webb) We are a few weeks into the new…

    10 Reasons You Didn’t Book the Role You Should Have Booked

    10 Reasons You Didn’t Book the Role You Should Have Booked There are countless potential reasons why you didn’t book the role you thought surely you were going to book. Let’s just start…

    “Listen and React” (Michael Caine)

    Michael Caine’s Greatest Advice to Film Actors: Listen and React “Listening is really what acting is all about, for movies. It’s not like the theatre. It’s an entirely different situation.” “When I was…

    What is the “Repetition Exercise”?

    What is the “Repetition Exercise”? There are several objectives that the Repetition Exercise seeks to achieve. Chief among these is to increase the actor’s reliance on their instincts. (by Tonya Tannenbaum) The “Repetition…

    “Education is so essential” (Jake Gyllenhaal)

    Education is Essential “Education is so essential, because there’s no way of knowing what good material is, or knowing if a story is original, or knowing what makes a story original, or know…

    5 Basic Facts About Sanford Meisner

    5 Basic Facts About Sanford Meisner Though he died in 1997, his work continues to live on… (by Carmichael Phillips) Sanford Meisner (August 31, 1905 – February 2, 1997) had a profound impact…

    Load More