Aspiring actors know that they must become accomplished in cold reading a script. That means fine tuning the ability to read for a part from a script you have never seen. Cold reading is not as easy as it seems, but it is an essential skill for an actor. Here are some basics to help you shine on your next audition.
In regular theater, actors are giving a long time for memorization and preparation. Theater actors often have a prepared monologue in their repertoire that they recite at auditions. There is a difference in film and commercial auditions, however. In a film audition cold reading is the accepted format. There is usually no monologue portion.
Typically, the industry convention is to give actors their script at least one day before the audition. But this seldom happens. The film industry is so busy and extemporaneous, that actors simply have to adapt to the flow and demands of producers and directors. If you can hone your cold reading skills, you’ll never need to go into an audition worried.
How do you learn to cold read? The best way to learn to cold read is to jump right in. Just grab a script, read a line, memorize it, then immediately recite the line without reading the script. The only way to master cold reading is to practice. With much practice and repetition, you will advance from cold reading a few words at a time to cold reading several lines at once. Once you have practiced some cold reading alone, then find another actor to work with. Practicing the skill of cold reading will someone else will improve both of your skills.