How To Learn Your Lines: Advice for Actors

1. Adding It Up

A widely-used technique for memorising scripts is repetition. By repeating your lines multiple times, you can commit them to muscle memory, freeing your mind to focus on your character’s emotions and interactions. 

You can practice repetition by either reading your lines repeatedly or speaking them aloud. Choose the method that suits your learning style best.

Lucas Albion prefers reading his lines, saying, “I cover lines up and see if I can remember them once they’re familiar. If you can get the line three times in a row, you’ve probably sunk it into your brain.”

Similarly, Lillia Squires spends hours staring at the script until it sticks, while Öncel Camci continuously repeats the lines, varying his delivery by screaming or speaking them in different tones.

For those who find verbal repetition effective, Amy Tara suggests an advanced approach: “I usually record the other person’s lines and leave a gap for my own. Then I play the recording and repeat my lines.”

2. Break Down the Script

Learning a lengthy script can be overwhelming. Breaking it down into manageable parts can make the task more approachable. Here are some methods favoured by our finalists:

Chiara McDougall explains, “Uniting is a big technique that actors use to divide the text into smaller chunks.” This makes learning the script less daunting and more achievable. “It takes the pressure off learning this huge text,”.

The Word Build-Up Another effective method is the ‘word build-up.’ Start by saying the first word, then add the second word, and continue this way until you complete the sentence. Arnold Patrick Lumu explains, “By the time you’re done with one line, it’s in your head. You break it down thought by thought, line by line.” Yasemin Junqueira supports this method, noting that it avoids getting stuck in patterns or rhythms, focusing on learning the words as they are.

3. Incorporate Physical Movement

Physical activity can enhance memory recall. Many actors use movement to make the process of learning lines more engaging and memorable.

Charlotte Delima advises, “Don’t just sit behind the page. Move with the lines.” Chelsie Lockwood agrees, suggesting activities like cleaning the room while reciting lines to help embed them in memory.

4. The Tennis Ball Technique

For those who benefit from multitasking, the tennis ball technique is highly effective. Edward Neale explains, “I throw a tennis ball against the wall while learning lines. It helps with multitasking and ensures the lines stick.”

Darcy Braimoh uses a similar method, describing himself as a reactive learner. He uses a ping pong paddle to bounce a ball, which helps him embody the lines more fully.

5. Record the Lines

Recording your lines and listening to them like a podcast can be a helpful memorisation tool. Ria McLeod shares, “I record myself saying the lines and play them back during long drives or while doing chores. But be cautious of falling into a fixed pattern or rhythm in your performance.”

Jess Gough takes this further by recording her scene partner’s lines as well. “I record the other person’s lines on my phone and read them in. Then I play the recording and it’s like I’m having a conversation with myself,” she explains, which is useful for practicing on the go.

By incorporating these diverse techniques, actors can find the methods that work best for them, making script memorisation a more manageable and effective process.

It’s important to realise everyone has a different method that works for them and it will take time and dedication to realise what works for you. See our upcoming screen acting courses to put your skills into practice with our industry leading team.

Save Your Cart

Enter your details below to save your cart for later. In the meantime, we might even send you a discount code!