GET IN MY BRAIN! How to Memorize a Script

We've all been there. Six days to get the music, lines and blocking down.

You stay up long hours after work, classes, rehearsal and whatever other adulting life throws at you.

And now, because you're stressed and exhausted, no matter what you do, the lines won't friggin' stick! 

But maybe, just maybe, it's not that you can't memorize everything, it's just that you haven't found your method yet. 

We all learn in different ways.

Some lucky people have photographic memories- the innate ability to read it once, and remember it forever. Now, while you guys are total rock stars (and the rest of us hate you- just a little bit), you're in a very small minority. 

So, for the 99% of us who abhor memorization, let's talk about some practical ways to remember those dreaded lines & lyrics.

Here are four of our favorites:


1. SEE IT - This may be old-school, but writing all of your lines out is a tried and true way to get those words into the brain.

     Natalie: Writing them out with a pencil & paper seems to work best.

     Kevin: But, if that seems too last century, try typing them out and see if it works for you! 

2. HEAR IT - There are a bunch of apps out there to help with memorization. Most require you to upload a PDF version of the script. Take a look at Rehearsal Pro ($19.99), Line Learner ($3.99) or Script Rehearser (FREE!)

3. MOVE IT - Relate the lines to specific movements and blocking, or even use different focal points for each thought.

     Kevin: My favorite way to memorize is to get on the treadmill and kill two birds with one stone (that's a terrible phrase, by the way.) For me, the repetitive movement does something to jostle my brain, and the words and lyrics seem to stick. Are you an overachieving, Type-A personality (psst- Natalie, I'm talking to you)? Try using Script Rehearser while you're on the treadmill. Just get used to people staring at you while you silently mouth your lines. I have.

     Natalie: Kevin is a much nicer gym partner than I am. I put my AirPods in and say the lines out loud. I figure if other people can be on the phone, then I can have an imaginary convo with my scene partner. FYI- I do it walking my dog, at the grocery store, in my car... When mama's gotta learn a script, I couldn't care less what anyone else thinks.

4. LETTER IT - This sound totally crazy, but it works.

     Kevin: It has turned out to be my new favorite way to memorize! Get a piece of paper and a pen. Write the first letter of each word in your script. For example: "To be or not to be" now becomes "T B O N T B"! Don't knock it until you've tried it. 

     Natalie: I learned this technique from Nelson Dellis, who has an incredible video on YouTube. Check it out here: How to Memorize Lines Instantly.

 

BONUS: RUN IT - Find a friend to be your partner.

     Natalie: Honestly, I've found that there is no better method of getting out of your own way than finding a patient line running buddy. Hit up a roommate, a relative, your kid... anyone who can read will do. And if you feel like you don't know anyone, head over to Facebook. Post in almost any theatre or film actor group and you'll find someone who will trade time with you. Then use and abuse them... in a nice way, of course.

     Kevin: She's not kidding. Trust me. 


 

In the end, you MUST keep a positive mental outlook. We know, we know...this sounds "crunchy-granola," but if you use positive affirmations to tell yourself, "It's easy to memorize" or, "I learn things quickly," you might just surprise yourself!

Have a method we haven't tried? Feel free to share YOUR method of memorization with us below!  

Click HERE so you don't miss out on our next post!

-Kevin Kelly & Natalie Cordone- theConnectedPerformer.com

2 comments

  • Julia
    Julia New York
    Hey Natalie & Kevin, thanks for sharing! Here are the ones that work for me. #1. Writing them out with a pencil & paper. #2. Relate the lines to specific movements and blocking. #3, Line Learner (I need to revisit this one) #4. I discovered this one early in the Pandemic: Write the first letter of each word in your script. I really like it!

    Hey Natalie & Kevin, thanks for sharing! Here are the ones that work for me.
    #1. Writing them out with a pencil & paper.
    #2. Relate the lines to specific movements and blocking.
    #3, Line Learner (I need to revisit this one)
    #4. I discovered this one early in the Pandemic: Write the first letter of each word in your script. I really like it!

  • Charles
    Charles Louisville, KY
    Great information. I've always found writing out my lines to be best for me. I also after getting my lines down, also spend some time familiarizing the lines of the other characters I'm speaking and listening to in the scene. Didn't know about the app programs, great to have in our current "Social Distancing" world. So thanks for that.

    Great information. I've always found writing out my lines to be best for me.
    I also after getting my lines down, also spend some time familiarizing the lines
    of the other characters I'm speaking and listening to in the scene. Didn't know
    about the app programs, great to have in our current "Social Distancing" world.
    So thanks for that.

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