October 25, 2018
Cold reading is when you read a script or text aloud with little to no rehearsal, practice, or study prior to the audition. It is a common technique used by actors and an important one to master. A lot of people assume that there isn’t a way to prepare for a cold read, but there are plenty of steps you can take to really nail it and ultimately make yourself stand out from the rest. To master cold reading, it’s the same process as trying to master anything else—practice.
The biggest and best way to become a great cold reader is READING EVERYTHING out loud. Articles, books, emails, text messages, anything and everything you see. Actors essentially read for a living so you want to be great at it. The more you read out loud, the better cold reader you will become.
Now when you have an audition that requires a cold read, there are a few things you can do to make sure you perform well and land that role. First off, despite the fact that you may not have a script to study, there are still ways to prepare. For example, do your research before the audition. Look up the show, film, or product that you are auditioning for and try to grasp a true understanding of the show/film/product and connect to it. BECOME FAMILIAR with the characters, the time period, and the story/company. You can find material online from a similar genre and practice in front of people!
Another thing to keep in mind for a cold read is making sure you’re adaptable. It is important to be able to make a change if asked by the casting director to show them you actually listen and can adapt. So if you have a more solemn piece, you take it seriously, and if you have a funny piece, you can go wild and have fun with it. Also, do not be afraid TO MAKE CHOICES! You would rather be strong and wrong than stay on the same note for the entirety of the audition. Everyone who comes in is reading those same lines, so find your unique spin and go with it.
Additionally, don’t forget to pay attention to PUNCTUATION within a script. Writers put it in for a reason; punctuation shows how sentences should be read and if you ignore it, you tend to miss certain cues. Lastly, it’s always important to BE YOURSELF. Some of the best auditions are people who go into the audition room and aren’t afraid to be themselves!
Ultimately, there are ways to prepare and practice for the dreaded cold read. If you follow these steps, you are way more likely to nail your cold read audition versus the many others who go in thinking there is no way to train for it. Now that you have the information on how to succeed and master the cold read, go practice! You’ll be an expert in no time!