Cold reading is acting out a scripted scene with very little preparation.
It’s an art for actors to pick up the script of any genre and lift the lines off the page, melt into a specific character, and react in the moment as someone else. It’s a misnomer that there isn’t any way to prepare for a cold read audition. These are skills that you can easily master with time and practice, as well as investing in some cold reading classes in Los Angeles.
If you rehearse in front of your phone or a camera all the time, you will find an ease in auditioning. On-camera and cold reading acting classes can be your greatest tool in advancing your acting career and giving you the confidence and joy in auditioning.
Five Steps to Acing a Cold Read Audition
- Do your research prior to the audition. Even though you don’t have a script, you can still look up the show and research its storyline. Develop a familiarity with the company and showrunners. Try to get a sense of the scene and character you might be asked to play. The actor demographics on the audition call-outs are usually a giveaway. Putting in all this time will help you have a better understanding for what the casting director is searching.
- Take a risk and make bold choices. This is advice you’ll receive in any cold reading class in Los Angeles. Make a strong choice and identify the action (objective), then endow the object (the person you’re talking to) with specifics so that you define the relationship. Lead with that and you’ll find that the words flow and leap off the page. It’s all the more impressive to producers if you’ve just gotten the material. The worst thing you can ever do is try and say lines “correctly” or give line readings.
- You need to keep your voice grounded to prevent the unnecessary inflections that actors tend to fall into. Also pay attention to punctuation in the script you’re given. Commas, periods, and hyphens are important clues for dialogue delivery. All of this can only be achieved with practice and specialized training at cold reading classes in Los Angeles.
- Be engaged with your fellow reader. Follow the 80/20 rule — 80% of your attention ought to be on the reader opposite you and 20% on the script. Looking at the other person and listening to what they’re saying will help you play off of their performance and create a cinematic moment, rather than appearing stilted and inflexible.
- From a technical point of view, make sure your voice and speech are warmed up by drinking room temperature water and doing vocal warm-ups. Watch what you eat and drink on the day of the audition. You don’t need the added pressure of dealing with a dodgy stomach or throat when you’re cold reading.
Here’s some advice from the acting coaches at our cold reading classes in Los Angeles:
Cold reading requires daily reading out loud. I always encourage actors to read and read out loud daily. Scripts. Books. Poetry. Magazine. Anything, to practice “picking it up off the page.”
Understand what the essence of the scene is about and fully committing to the truth of that essence. After that, it’s about relaxation and focus.
Learn Self-Taping Audition Techniques
Every actor needs to know how to self-tape. The ability to self-tape an audition allows actors to be considered for projects that are casting in Hollywood and worldwide, regardless of where they’re based themselves. Our Self-Taping Audition classes in Los Angeles will improve your cold reading skills. Each week you will be provided a selection of scenes across genres to shoot and share with your class.
- Learn how to deliver an engaging and memorable performance on your self-tape. Stand out from hundreds of other submissions for the part.
- Learn how to catch the attention of the casting director within 30 seconds.
- Understand everything you need to know about the technical side of self-taping your audition demo reel, including the best equipment to use.
- Learn what your best camera angle is
Enroll at Michelle Danner Acting Studio
Ace your cold reading auditions with Los Angeles classes at one of the best performing arts schools in the U.S. Michelle Danner has worked with the who’s-who of Hollywood, including Henry Cavill, Seth MacFarlane, Gerard Butler, Salma Hayek, Chris Rock, Michael Pena, Christian Slater, and more. Check out our range of interactive online classes to improve your acting skills at a distance. Feel free to contact us for more information about our acting academy or our cold reading classes in Los Angeles.