Vying for your dream role on stage or on screen? Any audition can be scary, but especially so if it calls for reading cold read audition scripts without ever seeing them before. Here are some helpful audition tips from Huntington Beach, CA teacher Natalie E. to help you prepare with confidence…
Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a complete novice, auditioning for a cold reading can be nerve-wracking. But with these 4 easy steps, you’ll be well on your way to acing your audition and landing the role!
What is a Cold Read Audition?
Cold read auditions are a type of audition in which the actor is given a piece of material – usually a scene from the show they are auditioning for – and asked to perform it on the spot. This can be a daunting task, but there are a few things you can do to prepare:
- First, take some time to familiarize yourself with the material.
- Read it over a few times, and make sure you understand the characters and their motivations.
- Focus on your own performance – remember to stay present in the moment.
- Stay connected with your scene partner.
By following these simple cold read audition tips, you can ace your next cold read audition. Consider signing up for acting lessons today. Check out more of the benefits of doing so by watching the video below:
What is the Purpose of a Cold Read?
This type of audition is commonly used for television and film auditions, as it simulates the conditions of actually shooting a scene. In a cold read, the actor is not given any time to prepare, so they must be able to quickly understand the character and the situation.
This type of audition can be very challenging, but it is also an excellent way to show off your acting chops.
If you can handle a cold read with confidence and ease, it will demonstrate your ability to think on your feet and remain calm under pressure – both essential skills for any actor.
How to Prepare for a Cold Read Audition
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!
How to Audition for a Play Cold Reading
It’s really no different than any other type of audition – so follow the cold reading audition tips above.
However, when auditioning for a play, there are a few other things you can do to prepare.
First, it’s important to be familiar with the playwright’s style. If you’re unfamiliar with the playwright, take some time to read some of their other work to get a sense of their voice. It’s also important to know the characters you’ll be reading for.
If possible, try to find out as much as you can about the characters before the audition. What are their motivations? What do they want? What are their flaws? The more you know about the characters, the easier it will be to bring them to life during the audition.
Finally, be sure to warm up your voice before the audition. A few vocal exercises will help you project your voice and prevent you from sounding nervous. With a little preparation, you’ll be able to give a great cold reading performance.
Where Can I Find Cold Reading Audition Examples?
There are a few different places you can look for cold reading audition examples.
One option is to find online resources that provide samples of cold reading scripts. This can be a great way to get a feel for the style of cold reading and see how other actors approach the material.
Another option is to attend workshops or classes that focus on cold reading. This can give you the opportunity to practice your skills in a safe and supportive environment.
Finally, you can always ask a friend or family member to read lines with you so that you can get some experience performing cold readings. Whichever method you choose, make sure you take the time to prepare so that you can give your best audition possible.
Auditioning with Cold Reading – You’ve Got This!
The four easy steps we’ve outlined here will help you prepare for your cold reading audition. But don’t stop at this article – sign up for lessons with a reputable coach to get the most out of your preparation.
And finally, practice, practice, practice! The more you work on your material and rehearse in front of others, the better off you’ll be when it comes time to audition. We wish you the best of luck and hope these tips help you land that role you desire.
Natalie 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!
Photo by James Drury