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    #11
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    Well...here is what I do. First off, I don't like memorizing or for that matter even spending much time at all reading the other characters' dialogue except as needed to learn my lines. The best acting is true and if you start focusing on the other dialogue it will become so predictable it will hurt your performance.

    If you've ever done a scene where the other person comes at you with their lines totally different than expected you feel this kind of truth to the scene where you really are reacting to what they are saying.

    But anyway...on memorization. First off it's good to get a good feel for what is actually happening and be able to summarize it simply so you are not just reciting a list of lines. Much how the best way to give a speech is to create an outline with bullet points rather than to read it word-for-word.

    When moving on to the actual memorizing of lines it's good to always start at different points in the scene. Humans have a tendency to remember the beginning and the end but not the middle...so start from the middle sometimes.

    Also, it helps to say the lines flatly...learn them by repetition but don't always "act" them or else it will kill your actual performance AND it will ruin your memory if the way you rehearse them is not suitable for the way the other characters in the scene play their parts. i.e. a scene where a couple is fighting may make you imagine your character to be angry but the other actor may start their lines with tears...now your huffing and puffing fight isn't suitable...you might be so focused on adapting that you forget your lines.

    Visualization is also great...imagine what your character might be thinking, create mental triggers like when another actor says a certain word it is tied into your next line.


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    #12
    Unscripted Mod Erik Olson's Avatar
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    Great thread. I still wake up from nightmares about having forgotten my lines from my college acting days.

    Thanks for the tips.

    e
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    #13
    Senior Member Will Clegg's Avatar
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    I always found it helpful to learn the lines backwards. I would read the scene from end to beginning several times. By doing this, I would find the logical progression to the scene - knowing where it ends helps you remember where you have to go. I used to do shows in Italian, a language in which I was not quite fluent, so this was especially helpful. But it works in your native language too


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    #14
    Member _joe's Avatar
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    One trick I found works well for me is that when first reading the lines, I would read a sentence or two and then say it-- the trick being that you never say the lines if you were still reading. so you're either reading your next sentence or saying it out loud, never reading and saying at the same time. One or the other.

    That way, you force yourself to have to process what you've just read as opposed to just spitting out what you see on the page.


    hope that helps!


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    #15
    Senior Member Ted Spencer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by _joe View Post
    One trick I found works well for me is that when first reading the lines, I would read a sentence or two and then say it-- the trick being that you never say the lines if you were still reading. so you're either reading your next sentence or saying it out loud, never reading and saying at the same time. One or the other.

    That way, you force yourself to have to process what you've just read as opposed to just spitting out what you see on the page.


    hope that helps!
    aka "taking it off the page"
    "Behind the shelter in the middle of a roundabout
    A pretty nurse is selling poppies from a tray
    And though she feels as if she's in a play
    She is anyway"

    From "Penny Lane" by Lennon/McCartney


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    #16
    Senior Member Michele Seidman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rsbush View Post
    Sorry but I strongly disagree with this. The lines will NEVER come naturally, they must be learned by repetition, repetition, repetition. And as others have said, learn them dry or cold, without emotion. It is by far the most boring part of preparation but you need to know them backwards and forwards because the first thing that happens when you connect emotionally while playing a role is that the lines disappear on you. They just fly right out of your head. This will happen if you are any good at all and it should be happening in rehearsal not in performance. Get anyone and everyone you can to run lines with you. Do it cold without acting, as fast and as often as you can possibly stand. Then do it again. And again. And again.

    rsbush.....here here! good on you for saying this.

    funny how people think the lines will just come naturally if they prepare the character first. yes...for film it can make you get a bit stale but ONLY if you try to play the character while you lock down lines.

    and on stage we learn how to do the lines night after night, week after week and keep them fresh for each new audience.

    the speed trick really does work and i have taught it for years with great success. even had some producers and directors surprised to learn it and try it themselves just to see if it worked. loved their reaction when it did!
    Sincerely,
    Flora Barren (A Little Mouth to Feed)
    aka Michele Seidman
    imdb / 800Casting / Actors Access / Michele and the Midnight Blues




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    #17
    Senior Member El Gato Negro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rsbush View Post
    Sorry but I strongly disagree with this. The lines will NEVER come naturally, they must be learned by repetition, repetition, repetition. And as others have said, learn them dry or cold, without emotion. It is by far the most boring part of preparation but you need to know them backwards and forwards because the first thing that happens when you connect emotionally while playing a role is that the lines disappear on you. They just fly right out of your head. This will happen if you are any good at all and it should be happening in rehearsal not in performance. Get anyone and everyone you can to run lines with you. Do it cold without acting, as fast and as often as you can possibly stand. Then do it again. And again. And again.
    From my experience (back in my acting days doing theatre) I would have to say almost 70 to 80 percent of rehearsals were all about mesmerizing the lines, which was frustrating and unnatural. At the end of the day it is the actor responsibility not the director to invoke the role. Wither by research, introverted observation or time spent on stage.

    It becomes to dogmatic to just focus on repetition. I never memorized my lines ever. It was more of a digestion and absorbing the lines but never repeating lines like a emotionless robot.

    To me repetition is just as uncreative as using personal history to evoke emotions. Personal history is biased and has the limitation of your personal experience. For me imagination was key.
    Indie Film Producer
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    #18
    Senior Member rsbush's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by El Gato Negro View Post
    From my experience (back in my acting days doing theatre) I would have to say almost 70 to 80 percent of rehearsals were all about mesmerizing the lines, which was frustrating and unnatural.
    Most probably it was so frustrating and unnatural because rehearsals are NOT for learning your lines. Learning your lines is homework. If you're rehearsing and you don't have your lines down, just put the book down and give it your best shot. But don't ever rehearse a scene on it's feet with your face in the book and don't let anyone you're working with do it. I can't stress that enough. It's completely and totally unprofessional and unexceptable.
    And yes, learning your lines by repetition is not a creative exercise. It's the WORK you must do in order to free yourself so that you can be creative, loose and free while acting. Not chained to the text.
    I agree with you that imagination is key. That's true no matter what technique you employ. Imagination, concentration and attention.
    Last edited by rsbush; 01-19-2009 at 08:00 AM. Reason: clarity


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    #19
    Senior Member Michele Seidman's Avatar
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    I was going to be good but dag nab it...always gets me when someone who 'used to act' but never spent their life at it is certain they know the best methods.

    I don't tell people who run the cameras what the best methods are because I just shoot a little video now and then. I don't tell editors how to clip scenes because I am a rank beginner at it. I don't tell directors how to get the look they want because I have done it two or three times. I don't tell screenwriters how to write....or DP's how to assist directors...or Grips, or Sound or ANY other department how to do their job because I don't do it or only did it enough to have a very basic or general understanding.

    YET..anyone who ever acted a few times think they know for certain 100% what works best.

    Am I nuts to want the info to come from a person who has spent their life working on it? I don't think so but maybe I am wrong. But then...Dale Carnegie said get the information from someone who has done what you want to do...not from someone who did it once.

    Sort of like the people who once sold Amway for 5 minutes claiming it a scam when others made huge money at it and the government declared it one of the few true multi-level marketing businesses.

    Sorry...jumping down off my soap box....oh yeah...wait...I DID a soap...guess I can stay on the box.
    Last edited by Michele Seidman; 01-20-2009 at 07:42 PM. Reason: forgot to temper things!
    Sincerely,
    Flora Barren (A Little Mouth to Feed)
    aka Michele Seidman
    imdb / 800Casting / Actors Access / Michele and the Midnight Blues




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    #20
    Senior Member El Gato Negro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michele Seidman View Post
    I was going to be good but dag nab it...always gets me when someone who 'used to act' but never spent their life at it is certain they know the best methods.

    I don't tell people who run the cameras what the best methods are because I just shoot a little video now and then. I don't tell editors how to clip scenes because I am a rank beginner at it. I don't tell directors how to get the look they want because I have done it two or three times. I don't tell screenwriters how to write....or DP's how to assist directors...or Grips, or Sound or ANY other department how to do their job because I don't do it or only did it enough to have a very basic or general understanding.

    YET..anyone who ever acted a few times think they know for certain 100% what works best.

    Am I nuts to want the info to come from a person who has spent their life working on it? I don't think so but maybe I am wrong. But then...Dale Carnegie said get the information from someone who has done what you want to do...not from someone who did it once.

    Sort of like the people who once sold Amway for 5 minutes claiming it a scam when others made huge money at it and the government declared it one of the few true multi-level marketing businesses.

    Sorry...jumping down off my soap box....oh yeah...wait...I DID a soap...guess I can stay on the box.
    Well for starters I was a working actor for over 5 years, the majority in theatre and some indie productions. I sure as hell didn't get into acting for the money or fame considering I was a theatre actor. I did it because it was my passion nothing else. I was a theatre major and went to the same acting school with Richardo Chavaira (he was a senior and I was a freshman). I did about seven theatre productions while still in High School and I got paid for each one of them.

    Now, I made a choice to focus on being a working director for film. So spent 3 years doing nothing but PA work and moved up to grip for 3 years. For the last 2 years alone I have done nothing but 1st AD/2nd for features, music videos, commercials; working with talent including Eva Longeria, Mike Starr, Douglas Spain, Todd Allen, etc. I am not bragging, the point I am trying to make is I know what I'm talking about I have collectively over 16 years of experiece (I'm 33 now). I got my first paying acting job at 17 and I was still in high school. I have first hand experience on numerous sets on what does and does not work.

    Now I will refrain from letting my passions get the best of me and I will hold my tongue. I am humble enough to admit my mistakes. I made a general statement on acting methods without giving more examples. So I rephrase my comment. These are the methods and techniques that work for "me"!
    Indie Film Producer
    Film Funding Blog


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