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To Read, Or Not To Read

October 31, 2012

In the past, I have worked as a reader. I enjoy being a reader, because not only am I helping other actors in their audition prep, but it’s great practice for me as well. It never hurts to work on your cold read skills. I don’t usually work with a reader, because my roommate is willing to help when I have an audition. Recently, I got an audition, and I decided to switch it up a bit. I did read with my roommate, but I worked with a reader as well. It was a great experience, and I think I will definitely consider this option for my next audition. It was nice to get a different take on the scene. The sides I had to prepare were very emotional, and they required me to have very good timing. You never know how the reader in the room is going to read the scene, and it’s nice to hear a couple different takes on it. From my experience as a reader and someone who has used a reader, here are my reasons for hiring a reader:

  • It is less expensive than hiring a coach, and you have the freedom to use your own approach with your character – whereas a coach may try to direct or persuade you in a different direction.
  • It will give you the feeling of being “in the room”. Instead of simply reading through the scene by yourself, you can imagine yourself in the room and play off the reader. It will help your timing, emotions, and character development.
  • By running through the scene over and over, you can hear your cues, and it will help you memorize your lines more efficiently, rather than just running them by yourself.
  • Rather than running the lines with a family member or close friend, you are getting a “stranger’s” take on the scene. Ideally, you won’t know the reader in the audition room either, so this will help you feel more comfortable with the scenario.

There is also the job of being an audition reader. However, that can be a different experience all together. I did this once before as well. It was really interesting to be on the other side of the casting table. It makes you more aware of your choices as an actor, and I definitely recommend doing it if you are given the opportunity.

A reader may not be for everyone, but I have definitely benefited from using one – and I’m pretty sure I will use one again in the future. Have you used a reader in the past? Was it a positive experience, and would you use one again?

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