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How to Memorize Lines Like a Pro

June 24, 2021

how to memorize lines

Memorizing lines is a crucial part of becoming an actor, but almost every actor has trouble with it. Yes, even the movie stars.

Luckily, there are some simple methods you can try to help you memorize your lines faster and make sure they stick. In this guide, I’m going to break down my top seven tips for how to memorize lines.

1. Try Retrieval Practice

Instead of reading and re-reading your script, put it down and quiz yourself. Recite as many of your lines from memory as you can, and then check yourself.  Memorizing this way will show you which lines you can easily retrieve and which ones you need to work on more.

2. Use Spaced Repetition

Don’t cram or practice your lines in one long sitting. Take breaks. Test your memory by spacing out your recitations.

3. Start at Different Spots in the Script

Thanks to the primacy and recency effect, our brains naturally remember the first and last things we see. This is why you feel really confident about the beginning and end of your monologue, but the middle is mushy. To combat this, focus on the spots in your script that need more attention.

4. Memorize Lines in Chunks

This tip is particularly helpful for learning how to memorize a monologue. Go back to your script analysis, break your monologue up into 3 acts and memorize your lines by acts. Breaking up the script into chunks will make it more manageable. 

5. Change Up Your Location

There is a phenomenon called state-dependent learning. Essentially, when we learn something, the environment we’re in becomes tied to what we learned. That’s why we have a hard time remembering our lines in the audition room when we learned our lines in the kitchen. Try practicing in different places like the gym, on a walk, while you’re doing the dishes, or simply in different rooms of your house.

6. Learn the Why Behind the Words

Exploring the meaning of the lines will help you remember them better. Pay close attention to the words. Think about why your character is using those exact words. If you have a clear understanding of the WHY behind your words, they will stick more easily.

7. Use the Image-Based Memory Technique

The human mind has a strong affinity to images. It remembers images better than anything else. While you’re learning your lines, look for the imagery in the words. The more vivid the images, the better you will remember the words. 

Final Thoughts On How to Memorize Lines

Memorizing lines is no one’s favorite part of acting, but it’s a crucial part of the craft. Different actors will do better with different memorization techniques. Try them all so that you can figure out which ones make learning how to memorize lines the easiest for you. 

If you’re ready to take acting classes in Austin, Texas at DuPuy Acting Studio, check out class info here.

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