What is a cold read?
A cold read is when an actor is asked to read from a script with little or no rehearsal, or time to review it. This technique is used in theatre, television and film auditions and sometimes rehearsals. Usually, an actor is asked to do a cold read during an audition when the casting director, producer or playwright wants to get a general idea of the actors’ performing capabilities.
Cold reads can be especially hard for young actors, many of whom are still perfecting their reading skills, so we’ve prepared a couple of tips for your child to master cold reads!
Read read read!
It will be much easier for your child to handle cold reads if they feel confident reading new material out loud. So encourage them to practice reading aloud every day, as a way to strengthen the skill. You can even be their reading partner – it will help your child get more motivated if they don’t have to practice alone.
While there’s no way to know which lines an actor is going to get during a cold read, they should prepare what they can. Meaning doing as much research about the project they’re auditioning for, and of course arriving early to the audition. This will give your child a chance to compose themselves and concentrate before the audition, and maybe even get some extra time with the script!
Once your kid gets the script, they usually have a couple of minutes to quickly run through it. Encourage them to read it aloud before the audition starts. And teach your kid to ask the casting team questions beforehand if anything in the script is unclear.
During a cold read, your child should pay attention to their scene partner (if they have one). When their scene partner is talking, they shouldn’t frantically look into the script. Instead, they should be looking at them and responding in character.
Cold reads are never perfect, nor are they expected to be. To make a mistake or stumble on a word is normal, so coach your child to not get discouraged if they make a mistake. In a case where your kid stumbles on a word, they shouldn’t stop reading, nor is it advised to start over. They should relax and recover, meaning keep reading in character.
Cold reads are tough for even the most experienced actors. Remind your child that their natural talent as an actor is not a reflection of their cold read. Instead, teach them that being good at cold reads is a skill that can be gained and improved. Practice, patience, and of course, you support as a parent will help your child do their best in a cold read. Good luck!