Monday, July 6, 2009

Thanks for the Memory

Continuing on the acting from a director's POV, I am amazed as we start to do local auditions (Dallas/Ft. Worth) how much the NYC actors came in prepared. Almost all the NYC ators came in with their sides memorized. They may have still held the paper, but they had them memorized.

Here locally, so far, only one or two have memorized the sides-- and the roles are much smaller, so much less to memorize.

I can definitely see the advantage of knowing your lines. It frees your mind to concentrate on other decisions. I'm not sure why someone would not memorize if they've been given the sides a few days in advance. In fact, one guy who came in to read in NYC was pretty good, but clearly wrong for the role he read. We gave him sides to read for another part and sent him out. Ten minutes later he came back in with them memorized. That was impressive.

Anyway, just an interesting observation.


  1. I think that's interesting. I was told never to have the sides completely memorized because then it might come off as not being organic.

    Personally, I like to have them memorized, but the words only, not how I will deliver them. That way, I can make sure I don't keep repeating it the same way and instead I can react naturally to the scene in the moment.

    I've heard different points of views to whether or not it should be memorized, borderline memorized, or completely cold read...I just know I do better when it is, for the most part, memorized. Either way, it's helpful to hear that it does come off as a plus to be off-book.

  2. I totally agree with you Stevie. That's a great point-- memorize the words and not the deliver. Maybe learn them flat. Because as a director, I do want to see a change when given direction. If someone has memorized a delivery, they will appear unable to be directed.

  3. I feel that one of the most important things, if not the most important thing, is connecting with your scene partner. If you connect with your fellow actor, it will be organic because you are reacting off of what they give you. Even if the other person is not memorized, you can still work to find their eyes or feel their energy in the room. For the director to see anything, you've got to get your face outta the script and lift the words so they will come to life. I've always felt like I am a better actor when I can make the other actor look good;)

    Looking forward to working with you, Daniel.
    -Lauren Ashley

  4. Ha! You found my blog. :) Lauren-- I really enjoyed the call backs. I'm not a big fan of the first auditions and usually don't sit in on them (but the producers wanted me to). Call Backs are where I do indeed get to see how you play off the other. I can imagine it can be very difficult to play off a flat reader.