Cold reading a script is an essential skill for any hopeful actor, but there is much more to cold reading a script than quick, short-term memorization. As an auditioning actor, talent must also show that he or she is listening to fellow actors. Rather than being tempted to peek at the lines during an audition, it’s helpful to practice cold reading before the audition. With enough practice, you will be able to cold read without peeking.
During an audition, confine your memorizing to brief glances. Then return to eye contact with your reading partner. Never let yourself look at your lines for longer than a quick glance. With practice, you will be surprised by how much you can absorb in that glance. Make an effort not to utter a line while looking at the script. Reading a line directly off your script is a great way to blow the audition. During a cold read, the only time you should be looking at your script is during quick silences between lines.
Make eye contact with your partner while reading your lines. This shows the casting director that you have a professional demeanor and a commitment to the craft of acting. Stay in character while reciting your lines.
Begin scanning the script as soon as it is handed out. Do not waste any time socializing or switching seats or looking around. As soon as the cold script hits your hand, make every effort to read the entire scene before anyone begins his or her audition. Give attention to memorizing the first and last lines, so you can have a strong start and finish. Following these guidelines will make your first impression the best it can be!