How To Memorize Lines Quickly
Updated: Dec 12, 2020
We're talking about memorization tips I love & hate!
Check out the video above or read the transcript below
Memorization is the #1 skill an actor needs to concur and quickly. Now everyone learns differently so some of these will engage your senses, body & vision to cover all bases.
Memorization is a muscle. You need to practice memorizing even when you have nothing you need to memorize so that you can keep strengthening that muscle. I can tell you since I switched from doing Theater to Film & TV, my muscle has definitely weakened. It also has to do with confidence, the more you do it the better you will feel about it!
Know the story.
Before you start memorizing you really need to understand the story, or you'll just make it harder for yourself.
Understanding the arc of the piece where is the character at the beginning, middle and end. This means knowing the Objective & Obstacle and really being clear on what's happening.
This is my absolute favorite, all of my students know that I swear by this! Take your script and write down each letter of each word in the line to form an acronym. You'll end up with a full page of acronyms that you will use as your script. Read through the script a few times only use the acronyms. The final step is to try to recite the script on your own.
Read & Repeat
This is the most popular way to memorize lines. Read the first line and say it without looking over and over and over again. Then say the first two lines.
Write them Out
Write your lines over and over again until the words are ingrained in your being. This takes a lot of time and your hands might start hurting but it definitely works.
For each beat assign a different motion so that your body can help with the memorization. Our muscle memory is so strong. For example.
If you know the map of your character's emotion then it's super easy to tie the lines to the feelings.
Mind Palace - This is all about taking thoughts and attaching them to images. Looks like a lot of work to me, but very interesting and theres a bunch of little known facts about Shakespeare in this cool video that explains it so you should check it out. Link below. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qm4ZjFxTCs0
Ok...Here are my least favorite tips.... Do you they work, yes. Will they create issues with organically listening to your partner and being able to take direction... yes. But they work, and if you are cramming for an audition or performance, I want you to have all of the options.
This is great because you can literally practice your lines anywhere, on the train, in the car, walking down the streets.
The issue is that you are at risk of memorizing the emotions as well as the lines, which makes it really hard to take notes. If you are into this style of memorization you can use the app Scene Study which I love.
Things to remember:
Memorize the lines but not the emotions
Run your lines once a night
Put it on your phone!
Mind Palace - Taking thoughts and attaching them to images. Try it out.
Looks like a lot of work to me, but very interesting and theres a bunch of little known facts about Shakespeare in there so you should check it out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qm4ZjFxTCs0