Changing the Line to Motivate Your Character

Sun Sep 21, 2014 ∙ 17:26pm ∙ Donald The Dialect Coach

Sometimes in an audition situation you get the script the same day, the day before or (if you’re really lucky) a couple of days before the audition.


What you’ll find is that there will be some lines that don’t feel natural when you say them – no matter what you do!


What you need to do in that situation is:


Take the scripted sentence, figure out how you would say in your day-to-day life, then say the scripted sentence in that way.


Let me explain.


Let’s say that you have a line in your script that says, “I’m flabbergasted by your actions.”


You would never, ever in your entire life say this line, right?


This is one of those lines that you might not be able to wrap your head around.


You’ll have a hard time figuring out how to “plug in” to that sentence and make it believable.


What I suggest doing is finding what you would say in place of the scripted line.


For me, it would be, “I can’t believe you did that.”


That feels a lot more natural to me. That is something that I say every once in a while.


Do this:


  1. Practice saying the new line. “I can’t believe you did that.”


  1. Focus on the inflection that you have. Is there a sense of fear? Is it slowly building? Is your pitch high or low? When does it change? Observe the qualities of your inflection.


  1. Focus on what you do with your body while saying the new line. Do you use your hands? Is there a gesture? Does your head move? Where is there tension?


  1. In order to take the line from the script that you could plug into before and make it into something that you can connect with, you need to take the inflection and physicality that you used when saying, “I can’t believe you did that,” and transfer them both to the scripted line, ”I’m flabbergasted by your actions.”


You should say, “I can’t believe you did that.” 3 times and immediately follow it up with, “I’m flabbergasted by your actions.”


Be sure to focus on the inflection and physicality of the line.


Now, you’ve taken a line that was foreign to you and you’ve turned it into something that you can connect with. That will make the line delivery much more natural and add believability to your audition.


Use this tip with ANY line that you’re having a hard time grasping. It doesn’t matter if it’s Shakespeare or a more modern piece on stage or in film.


If it’s a line that you’re having a hard time wrapping your head around, change it into a line that YOU would say in everyday life.


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