IMPORTANT NOTICE! TO GET THE MOST OUT OF THIS BLOG POST, ICE COLD READ IT OUT LOUD… STARTING RIGHT NOW!
WHEN YOU’RE DONE, GO BACK AND THEN COLD READ IT. IF YOU’RE REALLY SERIOUS, READ IT A THIRD TIME WITH YOUR EYE CONTACT MOSTLY OFF OF THE PAGE (OR SCREEN).
OK! So, last week we covered the importance of doing PROFESSIONAL LEVEL WORK… as opposed to shoddy, hack, partially focused work. If you didn’t read last week’s blog post, go back and do that. It’s a quick read with several KEY WORDS defined for you. After you’re done, just pick back up here. If you have been effectively following along (including doing the ACTOR’S FREEWAY exercises), we’ll pick up from there.
- ICE COLD READING: Delivering the dialog without pre-reading your material… at all! (What you should be doing right now!)
- COLD READING: Delivering dialog after reading over your material once or twice. Not memorizing — or even partial memorization.
- LINE LIFTING: Picking up and delivering lines of dialogue while keeping present with good eye contact and not getting lost in the text.
- RATCHET TECHNIQUE: A CBSI Process for effective, disciplined eye control and proper handling of cold read material.
- POWER READER: Someone who’s mastered the art of cold reading to the point where not only does the read seem prepared… but the copy in hand seems to have disappeared.
All of the above should be worked and executed without the use of a highlighter.
Here’s a little test to see if you’re really ready to do the work necessary to advance as an effective Cold Reader. Right now you’re asking yourself, “How do I become a Power Reader?” Is that you? If so… here we go! If not… well. Keep reading.
Here’s your first step. Get this under your skin — In the book Outliers, author Malcolm Gladwell says that it takes roughly ten thousand hours of practice to achieve mastery in a field.
So, your first step is preparing yourself for the MARATHON and not the sprint. It’s gonna take some time. Ten Thousand hours worth of time? Maybe not. How come? Because Gladwell’s talking about a FIELD and I’m talking about a PROCEDURE. Now, having said that… you still HAVE TO DO THE WORK! Actors who don’t learn how to effectively cold read become STEP SKIPPERS. Check it out…not so good.
The next step is GETTING OUT OF YOUR HEAD and building TRUST IN THE MOMENT! You have to trust the moment you’re in, not becoming overly concerned with what’s coming next. Try the BALL CAP exercise from THE ACTORS FREEWAY below.
Next thing to work on is increasing your EYE FOCUS, so you can aim on where to read next — and your PERIPHERAL VISION, so you can take in more words/lines when you do go down to the page. You’ll also be able to pick up your CUE LINE. This will assist in maintaining more EYE CONTACT with your scene partner.
Also, extremely important is ACTIVE LISTENING. You not only have to process what your scene partner is saying, you have to listen to what’s taking place between you and your fellow actor or the other character(s) in the scene
When you’re preparing a cold read it’s important that you also keep in mind the following:
- KNOW YOUR WHO, WHAT, WHERE
- KNOW YOUR BEGINNING, MIDDLE, END (It doesn’t matter if it’s five pages or five letters (under five), there is a beginning, a middle, and an end!)
- KNOW THE PEAK/APEX/CLIMAX/CRESCENDO OF THE SCENE (This greatly assists you in effectively taking the journey of the story.)
- KNOW THE ARC OF THE SCENE (The arc may be stretched out over the scene or tightly compressed in one word.)
And the last thing I’ll cover in this teaching is KEY! And that key is… READ OUT LOUD!!! AND DO IT OFTEN!!!
The more you read out loud the better a cold reader you will become. So, get on it! Unless it adversely disturbs others, read everything you can out loud. Labels, a book, this blog, even billboards when you’re stopped at red lights! Huh?! This is what we do people. We read for a living. Get used to it and more importantly — GET GREAT AT IT! You do that and it could quite possibly become your living…your life! The working actor!!
THE ACTORS FREEWAY – [Your free weekly exercise.]
- Put on a ball cap and pull it down over your forehead just above your eyes.
- Tilt your head down so you can only see what’s right in front of your feet.
- Now, walk around. (You’ll most likely have to walk slowly. Depending on your environment (familiar/unfamiliar), you should be able to speed up as you acclimate to that environment.)
- Now, make a track or a path for yourself that you’ll walk laps around. (A step at a time.)
- After you’ve done this a few times, speed things up.
- See how many times around it takes you to move at a quicker click.
- Once you’ve got that down, move to a new location and do it again.
What this does is force you into operating in the moment and not looking ahead. As you apply this to other areas of your life, your brain will catch up… as a result, your reading will as well. (Think Fighter Pilots and Race Car Drivers. Ultra precision. Ultra performance!)