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How to Memorize Lines Faster

Model script reading

Tips for memorizing lines fast.

Whether you're a current acting student - or an actor looking for your big break - you know that auditions are typical. But what if your audition is the next day, and you have to memorize many lines? We've put up some pointers to assist you in rapidly learning your ropes.

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1. Write your lines.

Do not type your lines. This technique works well for lengthy scenes with speeches. Writing your lines out by hand helps you to connect the act of writing them down to seeing them on paper. Make sure you concentrate on putting pen to paper and nothing else. It will allow you to focus solely on expressing yourself without being distracted by other actors' dialogue.

2. Run lines with a partner.

Running lines with a partner is a popular memorization technique. The secret to memorizing lines is to run them with another actor, not your buddy from down the street. Running lines with another individual holds you accountable. Allow them to instruct and interpret stage direction while you listen carefully. During the initial run, concentrate on the phrases and script. After a few run-throughs, you will be comfortable with the words and can focus on delivering your lines convincingly.

3. Take the time to answer all of these questions for yourself.

Closed everything but the one line you wish to remember with a piece of paper. Re-Read the same line again and again until you're confident. Try reciting the bar without looking at it once you've got it. Please continue to read through each successive line until you've mastered them all.

4. Take a stroll or nap for a while.

After studying lines, Gold advises taking a stroll or napping. The knowledge your brain has processed shifts from short-term memory to long-term recall while you relax, allowing you to retrieve information more easily. Walking also helps to strengthen muscles and aids in memorization.

5. Use a mnemonic device.

You might also use a mnemonic device to help you remember your lines. Make a list of the first letter of each word in your script. Looking at those letters will jog your memory and make retaining your line more accessible. Consider the mnemonic device as a shortcut for thinking about it this way.

6. Learn the cue lines.

You should memorize your lines and learn the cue lines — these are the lines that lead into yours. You'll be more punctual and able to deliver your lines on time if you know the cue lines.

Additional Tips:

Some may argue the most challenging part of becoming an actor is memorizing lines. But, those who have been in the industry say that it's the easiest part of the job if you follow this acting secret. Recently on Reddit, actors shared their acting technique and formula to memorizing lines for an acting job and their advice is pretty amazing. Here's what they had to say:

It's all about 'Repetition, repetition, repetition'

Repetition, repetition, repetition. Pun intended. Seriously though, the more readthroughs you do, the more you remember. I usually know the whole script by the end of the show, and I memorize by reading and reciting my lines again and again and again. Once you work blocking, everything becomes a lot easier to memorize because of muscle memory and such (or maybe that's my pseudoscience bs talking.)

Use "Acting Tricks"

I always find it interesting that people find memorisation of lines so difficult and are impressed by it. Personally, I think it's one of the easiest bits. There are lots of little tricks you can use (cover up lines, going progressively further till you've memorised a whole page, for instance), but ultimately if you really understand the play and get it completely in your head through lots of repetition, the memorisation is fairly easy. So basically - read it over and over to yourself. Try to actually think about your lines as your reading them, this will make memorising easier. You will be surprised by how simple it is. - B0sm3r

Record read throughs

I usually record cast read-throughs and listen to that over and over, saying my lines with my recorded voice as I go. The current show I'm in, I recorded the entire show in my own voice, omitting my own lines. I left empty air in the recording so I could fill in my line without stopping and starting the recording. This helped immensely especially because I learned all my cues quickly and easily while recording everyone else's lines. - KrisKrosJellyBean

Follow a three step plan

First, repetition, as others have noted. Like the Pimsleur method of learning new languages, repeating the same words over and over and over will burn them into your brain. Second, internalize the storyline and your character's wants, needs, desires etc. at any given point in the story. If you know the story and know what you want in key places, it will aid in your memorization -- and also save your ass if you drop a line. Third - blocking helps with memorization tremendously. Linking the words you say with walking stage L, or entering, exiting, answering the phone, etc. will cement them in your memory. Associate the physical with the verbal. - pameladeritis

Need more help? Check out these articles on how to memorize lines faster.

Have an acting tip? Leave us a comment below.

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