May 18, 2014

Reader Q&A: Flubbing Lines

***The following Q&A exchange was taken directly from an email conversation with a blog reader. I felt that the question(s) asked, as well as my response, would be helpful to other readers. No names or personal identifying details have been shared in order to protect privacy.***


Hello Andrea!

I'm a new reader of your blog and I really really love it. You're one of the few acting blogs that make pretty frequent updates and your stories are very interesting to read.

As your blog easily shows, you are a pretty successful working actress! congrats for that. I am a smaller town Nova Scotian actress who is moving to Toronto in September. Living in a small film industry area, I've been extremely lucky to get the work i've gotten! But soon I will be moving to where the competition lives and the pressure is on. I was wondering if you had any personal advice on lines. I don't have a problem with memorizing lines per say.. but rather, I get so nervous on set that I am constantly more worried about forgetting my lines than being in character. One time I tried to memorize the lines SO hard that it came instantly, but then they changed the entire paragraph on me right before filming and I kept accidentally saying the old lines (of course -.-). I would much rather be focused on my scene and character, but forgetting the lines keep freaking me out!

Do you have any advice?

Thanks girl, keep booking those roles!



What you need to remember is that ALL actors flub lines! No matter how big, famous, and successful they are, messing up lines happens. It's really NOT that big a deal unless you're screwing up every single take. And if you are having trouble with some of your lines, the script supervisor (if you're on a professional set) is there to throw you a bone when you forget!

Unfortunately, I'm not qualified to give any advice on HOW to memorize lines. I'm not even sure how I do it. It comes fairly easy for me, but I've also been acting for a while at this point. Like you said, you would much rather focus on the scene and your character, and I agree. What's easier for me is being more in tune with what I'm bringing to the character and what's happening in the scene. When you're connected to those important aspects of the scene, the lines just come easier.

If you live with a roommate or significant other, enlist their help when you first get your sides/script. I always get my husband to help me run lines. But when he's not around, I just read through a couple of times and I'm usually pretty good with picking up my lines and cues.

Your downtime on set is also a great time to hone your lines. You spend so much time waiting to shoot, take advantage of that! And finally, just relax. We're all human and we all mess up sometimes. No one is going to fault you for it. Just nail it on the next take.

Thanks for reading my blog, I really appreciate it!!


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