Cold Reading: Turning Text into Behavior
An actor’s ability to cold read is essential to establishing a professional career. Cold reading is simply the ability to take a script, and with very little time, pick that text up off the page and turn it into behavior. This is not easy. Most actors, when they audition, or are in rehearsal, have their noses buried into the script. They have this misconception that the words are what is most important. They worry about their lines, and merely refer to the other actors in their scene. Well-trained actors know instinctively that the other person is where the life is.
Working Under All Circumstances
Cold Reading is a 10-class course dedicated to developing the actor’s ability to take a script, and in very limited time be able to come into an audition room and create behavior. This is a skill that most actors do not work to develop. Very talented actors who cannot cold read well, will not work very often. This is a second-year class, which gives our students the opportunity to apply what they are learning in acting class to cold reading.
Professionally, actors will often audition with material they have prepared, only to be asked in the audition to take a look at another part and come back in. Or they show up to rehearsal or to set with 10 new pages of dialogue for the day’s work. And quite often, actors will not get material before hand due to the secretive nature of network and studio privacy, and can sometimes get sides 10 to 20 minutes before their audition. This class teaches actors how to work under all of these circumstances.
Working with Readers
The first few weeks will focus on the theater audition, and how actors deal with being paired with other actors in an audition setting. We then turn our attention to cold reading monologues. Taking a major chunk of text and turning it into spontaneous, vivid behavior in a short period of time is very challenging. Cold Reading will spend the last few weeks dealing with film & TV sides, and the challenges that come with working with a reader. The majority of professional auditions will require this skill. Often times a reader is just a casting director or their assistant reading lines while operating the camera. This NYC acting class will teach our students how to use their craft in order to create compelling behavior no matter who they are working with.
Cold Reading is 10 classes over 10 weeks, and has only four students per class allowing for extensive individual coaching. Students will have thirty minutes to work on material and will then audition. Notes and discussion will follow with an opportunity to try again. The small nature of this class allows the student a tremendous opportunity to hone this skill.
“As an actor, the core of what you have to rely on is your sense of truth and humanity. Not only did Maggie allow me to discover & embrace mine, she also taught me that As an actor, the core of what you have to rely on is your sense of truth and humanity …”
“Cold reading is a class that most directly correlates with booking work. Charlie teaches you how to step up to a few pages of sides, and in twenty minutes, apply the tools you are learning in acting class, into a character and script you’ve never seen before.”
“I watched myself go from being uncertain in my choices and unsure of how to craft in such a short period of time, to being confident in the decisions I make because of my refined process. Cherry gave me the tools I needed to utilize such a short amount of time in a worthwhile way.”