Auditioning is part of every working actors life, and while some find this process to be invigorating and exciting others view auditioning as a necessary evil. While there is no doubt auditioning can be a nerve-wracking experience, film actors can enhance their ability to connect with their scene partner while simultaneously disclosing your acting ability to casting directors.
Sight reading is a vital skill for any actor as it allows casting directors to focus on your acting ability rather than your ability to simply read a script, which may help garner a higher percentage of callbacks and booked gigs.
What is Sight Reading?
It seems that sight reading is still a foreign topic for many actors; however, this essential skill should be the first topic any film actor learns.
Sight reading is the ability to grab a few lines from your script and then deliver these lines directly to your acting partner. Unless you have a photographic memory, it is impossible to grab an entire paragraph of dialogue; however, with sight reading you can pick up your lines and deliver them so it looks as if you’ve memorized your lines rather than simply reading them off of the page.
Example of Sight Reading
Before delving into the specifics of how sight reading discloses your acting ability to a casting director, I want to ensure you know exactly what sight reading is. Below is an example of sight reading.
(Grabs the first two sentences with his eyes, looks up and delivers these lines without looking at the page)
Hello, this is the first sentence. Now you can see how sight reading works.
(Grabs the next two sentences)
Now you can look back at the paper. Quickly skim the page to pick up these sentences.
While this example may be confusing to some, with practice you can properly sight read. Look for other articles in my profile that relate to the specifics of sight reading for detailed information about this auditioning technique.
How Sight Reading Discloses Your Acting Skill
Typically, if an actor is line reading his eyes are continually on his script. One big problem with this is it creates a virtual wall between you and the casting director. It is within this wall of isolation that a casting director is only able to tell how good you can read, not how well you can act.
With sight reading, you grab your lines and then drop the script so it becomes like a part of you rather than a hindrance to your performance. As you deliver your dialogue, you are able to utilize your entire face and body during the delivery, instead of just using your voice as line readers do. This allows the casting director easy view of your acting ability. Plus, when a casting director sees you sight reading you are instantly categorized as a professional actor as this skill is something new/beginner actors do not do.