Breaking Down the Script

byCharlie Sandlan

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Many actors do not know how to break down a script for an audition or a reading. In this video, Charlie Sandlan discusses the difference between how most untrained actors approach a text versus how a professionally trained actor instead brings life to a script.

Most Actors Memorize Their Lines and Rehearse

Hi, I wanted to talk about a problem that, I think, many actors have, and it could be very frustrating. When you get a significant piece of material, let’s say you get five, ten pages of sides for an audition or you’re doing a reading, and you have to look at a script, and you get cast in something. You look at the script, and you have no idea how to break it down. That’s what actors do; they break down scripts.

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"If you're going to be able to bring to life what the screenwriter or what the playwright has written on those pages, then you have to know how to break down a script."

Charlie SandlanExecutive Director, Head of Acting

Now, most actors, especially ones that aren’t trained, they’ll memorize their lines, and they will practice and rehearse how they want to say their lines into a mirror or out loud, and that’s how they will do it. It’s an amateur kind of sad, bad actor. If you want to be able to create very rich, fascinating behavior, if you’re going to be able to bring to life what the screenwriter or what the playwright has written there on those pages, then you have to know how to break down a script.

There are particular questions that you need to be able to answer, and they need to be answered in a very simple, accurate, and personal way. You need to learn how to craft your previous circumstance. You need to learn how to craft an acting relationship. You need to learn how to craft shared circumstances. When you learn how to do that when you learn what actions are because actions are the clay of behavior.

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That is what actors can do. They’re able to try to achieve an objective of actions. That is something that you have to be able to do second nature. When you do that homework, and you implant that inside of you, and then you’re ready to get on stage or on camera, and you can improvise, be in the moment, out of your head, and trust that all that work is there, that is when you are going to really bring something very insightful and exciting to your work as an actor, as opposed to line readings, memorize the text.

You don’t want to be that kind of actor.

Script Analysis and Cold Reading Classes

Learn More About Script Analysis and Cold Reading

The Maggie Flanigan Studio ( https://www.maggieflaniganstudio.com/ ) trains professional actors based on the teachings of Sanford Meisner. The professional actor training program includes script analysis class and cold reading classes. Actors who are interested in applying to the program should call the studio at (917) 789-1599 and schedule an admissions interview.

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