In a cold read audition, an actor receives a script just before the audition, without any idea about its content. And the actor has to read the script well. Such auditions are held for commercials. However, producers can request it from actors for TV shows, theatrical performances, and films too. All of you, whether you are an aspiring or experienced actor, have to go through it. Attending acting classes at Barry John Acting Studio can help you have a mastery over it. Here are some steps for your support:
1. Practise well
Usually, it is hard to practise all the possible lines of an actual cold read audition. As an aspirant, you can practise fleshing out the role of a character, reading an original & fresh script, and being responsive to other readers instantly. You should go through multiple practice tests before appearing for the real one. In spite of differences in the real words, practising a lot can help you do your best.
2. Record your practice yourself
You should assess your performance yourself. It has limited space. However, recording your cold reading yourself will help you know the mechanics and find out the mistakes from an audience perspective. You need to find whether your facial expressions fit the scene or not, whether you rush or words or not, and so on. If you have no proper idea what to do at your end, you should note down and make adjustments accordingly.
3. Take a snapshot of the whole script
Going through the whole script ahead of time can make you have a sudden change in plot, character, or emotion, if you know the received project for cold reading. Instead of reading the whole script, you should take a bird eye-view of it. A quick skimming can help you know what is coming next.
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4. Be familiar with the set and setting
You should immerse yourself in the mindset of your character and find what just happened. According to Barry John, scenes generally start in the middle in television shows or films. Your first line is a response to what has just happened and what someone has said to you. For better performance, you should imagine the surroundings, relationships, and emotions around your character. Further, you should think about the context of the scene.
5. Have some physical movements
A cold reading is not just reading the text. You should communicate with your body language as per your verbal language. So, you should cry, smile, contort your body, or wink if the script calls for it. Producers or selectors value your emotional ranges aligned with the script while auditioning you.
6. Pay special attention to the beginning and ending
You leave big impacts on the audience and selectors through the opening and closing of your performance. For a strong eye-to-eye contact delivery, you should use the valuable pre-auditioning minutes to memorise the first and last lines of the script you have received.
7. Feel relaxed
Take a few seconds to breathe deeply and release your tension before you start giving your performance. You should be very careful about your treatment with the script. Barry John states that an awkward silence is a killer of a cold reading audition. You should not take too much time turning the page. Instead, you can make a fold on the corner to facilitate page turning during the audition.
8. Establish an eye-to-eye contact
Many aspiring candidates just keep looking down at the script and reading it during the audition. It is not good. You should hold the script in one hand and keep the other hand free so that you can quickly look down when needed and have eye-to-eye contact with the audience. You should have a balance between your script reading and contact with the audience. Keep looking up towards the audience and selectors as much as possible.
9. Be a careful listener
A cold reading is similar to improvisation. It is for you and the audience around you. You should be attentive to other readers to have an idea about their characters and make the requisite adjustments.
10. Let your cold reading go
It is usual to miss a line. However, you should keep the script meaning and scene demand in mind. You should memorise the wise words in the time you have at the site and avoid making a blunder. Further, you should stay in your character.
Giving the best in an audition comes through constant practice and rehearsal. Your acting school or self practice can help you have a mastery over cold reading and facilitate you be a winner.