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4 Ways to Memorize Your Lines Like a Pro

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Memorizing lines can be challenging for many actors. And yet, there are a few tricks to the trade that can help you memorize more quickly if you’ve landed a gig and are given a script.  The process may seem daunting at first, but practice makes perfect!

Here is the first way to memorize your lines like a pro.

First and foremost, you need to take care of yourself.  Make sure you are getting enough rest.  Research has shown losing half a night’s sleep for just one night can limit your ability to focus and lead to memory loss (not over time, but immediately).  If you get an adequate amount of sleep every night, you’ll be able to maintain your cognitive skills for longer period of time, which will help greatly as you memorize your lines.

Here is the second way to memorize your lines like a pro.

Once you’ve given the script, ensure you are in a quiet space and limit distractions so you can start to soak in every piece of it.  You’ll need to be in a place that is free from distractions.  Turn off your phone, or place it on silent, and sit somewhere comfortable.  Limiting stimulus and discomfort is critical to ensure you’re able to focus on the task at hand and memorize the pages in front of you.

Here is the third way to memorize your lines like a pro.

Do a simple read-through first to memorize, taking a look at what is on the page without overthinking nonverbals.  Then, return to it, adding in your character expressions, body language, etc., as you read.  Visualize the scene and situation as if it were a real-world event you’re experiencing. This will help you internalize it a way that natural to the way our brains remember things. In no time, you will have the lines down and can shift your focus to making the role pop from the page.  It’s important to know what your character is supposed to say before understanding mannerisms, idiosyncrasies and quirks, body language and the like.  These things are all key must-knows, but you need to understand what the character is going to say first in order to know what movements should accompany the dialogue. 

Here is the fourth way to memorize your lines like a pro.

A tried-and-true method for memorizing dialogue is to write down the lines on a blank piece of paper as you begin to commit them to memory to see how many lines you’ve actually mastered.  This way, you’ll have a solid understanding what you have down pat and what you need to continue to work on.  Research has also shown that completing an action while you are reading is a powerful way to commit the words to memory.  Of course, this won’t work for everyone.  However, if you tend to be someone who is easily distracted, try keeping your hands or legs busy while you’re peering down at the paper in front of you.  Having the whole body engaged could help you to memorize your lines more quickly. 

These are just some of the tricks you can consider when you’re trying to learn your lines.  Chances are, you’ll find a way that works best for you and once you have this down, it will be easy to memorize pages and come to the set fully prepared.

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