How to Prepare for a Cold Reading Audition in 4 Easy Steps

cold reading a script

Vying for your dream role on stage or on screen? Any audition can be scary, but especially so if it calls for reading a script without ever seeing it before. Here are some helpful audition tips from Huntington Beach, CA teacher Natalie E. to help you prepare with confidence…


Preparing for a cold reading audition can seem like a daunting task. How can I make strong choices if I’m still on book? How can I truly capture the life of the character if I’m only reading a couple of lines? What if I make a mistake while I’m reading?

Here are four simple audition tips to help you prepare for that big audition or callback:

1. Practice, practice, practice.
Start by reading plays and screenplays. Read them voraciously. Read them out loud with your friends, family, or acting coaches, read them out loud by yourself in your room, read constantly, and do your best to act the parts as you go along. After all, the best way to get better at something is by doing it, right?

2. Familiarize yourself with the material
Often, we audition for plays that have already been published, or for new works that are based on movies, novels and stories, or other plays. Read, watch, or listen to the script or source material, paying special attention to the character or characters for which you are auditioning. Think about where that character comes from, and what role they play in the context of the show; it is also good to think about the kind of clothing that character wears, as it might help you connect. In short, do your homework and come prepared to make educated choices!

3. Warm up
Would you try to learn a complicated ballroom dance step without stretching first? Probably not. So don’t go into your cold read cold; make sure that you’ve warmed up your body and your voice. Do a few stretches, and make sure to include some tongue twisters — preparing your articulators and breathing muscles will go a long way in preventing you from tripping over your words. If your body and voice are warmed up, you’ll be ready for whatever the audition throws your way!

4. Have fun!
That’s the reason we’re doing this in the first place, right? Go big or go home! Don’t be afraid to play, and don’t shy away from the strongest choice! Experimentation and exploration is the best part of being an actor, so go for it!

Ultimately, the people sitting behind the table are looking for two things: do you capture their attention, and do you seem like you’re fun to work with? They want you to be good, they’re on your side, so don’t get nervous — with these audition tips, you can confidently show them what you can do, and how excited you are to work!

NatalieENatalie E. teaches singing, songwriting, audition prep, and more in Huntington Beach, CA. She received her BA in Drama from UC Irvine, and has been studying classical voice technique for 10 years. Learn more about Natalie here!



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