Whether you are thinking about pursuing a career in the performing arts, or whether you are already signed up for acting lessons, did you know that there is so much available to you in terms of furthering your education and preparing you for acting auditions or casting calls?

Even though it appears that actors have an easy life, it is in fact a bit of a misnomer. The truth is that behind every actor’s success is a great deal of hard work, endless acting auditions, and practice. Good actors know that to hone their craft and enjoy a successful and rewarding career, they constantly need to sharpen and practise the great many acting techniques available to them.

From improvisation to sight reading and method acting classes, there is much to learn about acting. It may seem overwhelming at first, but after an introduction to the various techniques, many actors get a good feel for which techniques appeal to them most. Once they know this, they can hone their craft and go after the acting script that suits them best.

In this article, the many benefits of sight reading and how it can be added to other helpful acting audition tips you will need to pursue a career in acting.

Why Are Sight Reading Classes So Important?

When it comes to acting, sight reading has a very significant role to play, so whether you have aspirations to become a professional actor, or simply want to enjoy it as a hobby, sight reading is something that you should try and incorporate into your craft.

Essentially sight reading is the practice of reading an acting script or other form of text aloud, without ever having seen it before!

For this reason, sight reading is also known as cold reading and you can expect that this will be a common requirement for most casting calls that you attend. In fact, it is so important that many actors take sight reading classes and this is one of the most useful acting audition tips you will ever receive.

Besides acting auditions and casting calls for films or TV shows, you can also expect to draw on the skills of your sight reading classes in other acting technique classes or workshops. In addition, your reading classes will benefit you when it comes to running through an acting script with a cast. Whether for the stage, TV or film, the skills you develop from your reading classes will make you stand out as a true professional and valuable team player when it comes to rehearsing with the rest of your cast.

There’s simply no doubt that sight reading classes are vital to the success of every actor’s career.

Acting Audition Tips for Actors

The reasons why sight reading classes are so popular are numerous.

One of the most important of these reasons is to help both actors and casting directors at acting auditions. When you are at an audition, you will notice that the casting director might request that actors go through a cold reading during the audition. This helps him, or her, to get an overall feeling of your ability as well as how easily you can adapt to changing environmental or character prompts.

It’s also not uncommon for playwrights to attend casting calls to hear, not only how an acting script sounds, but also how others interpret their work. For the scriptwriter, it is essential to know how a piece sounds and flows as there can be quite a difference to how a piece is written and how it sounds when spoken aloud.

Finding Sight Reading Classes

When it comes to drama studies there are so many different types of acting lessons available from audition technique classes, method acting classes, scene study, and even classes dedicated to learning how to read an acting script without ever seeing it before!

In many cases sight reading is covered in other acting classes, however, if you require extra help with your sight reading skills, or if you are new to acting and want to learn more about what sight reading actually is, then you should try and find out about dedicated reading classes near you.

As mentioned, perhaps you are already enrolled in acting classes but want to supplement your drama education with sight reading classes.

It could also be that you recognise that cold reading skills are one of the best acting auditions tips you have ever received, whatever your reason, there are many sight reading classes available for every level of ability.

audience giving standing ovation in ornate theatre
Choose a sight reading class tailored to your preferred type of acting, whether this is theatre, film or tv. | Source: Unsplash

If you are not already enrolled for full-time performance art studies at a university drama school like the University of Cape Town or the University of Pretoria, you could contact them to find out if they offer part-time sight reading classes. Alternatively, look into reputable drama academies like Helen O’ Grady which offers a range of classes to prepare you for acting auditions.

Private tutors are also an excellent way to learn how to act or supplement your education. You could try the Superprof website which is host to hundreds of tutors all across South Africa. If you can’t find an acting tutor near you, to give you sight reading classes, you could even enrol for online lessons with one from further from home, all you need is an internet connection and webcam.

One of the advantages of using a Superprof tutor is that in many cases the first lesson is at no charge! This gives you a valuable opportunity to discuss your acting goals and challenges upfront before committing to the lessons.

At this lesson, you can also find out about the tutor's preferred teaching methods and background. This is important because if you are aiming to receive casting calls for Shakespeare productions, you don’t want a tutor who is going to make you reading acting script after acting script for comedy!

The Different Types of Sight Reading Classes

Sight reading classes can also differ in content depending on where you decide to take your course. They can also vary according to the preferences and background of the acting coach or tutor that you choose.

For instance, at some acting schools, improvisation classes are combined with sight reading classes because these two skills often go hand in hand to impress directors at casting calls. And this is another one of those acting audition tips that you should remember!

Sight reading classes also comprise of varying practices. You will probably be required to practise cold reading individually, as well as in groups or with partners. There is no doubt that all of these methods will boost your confidence at acting auditions and ultimately contribute to you landing more acting jobs!

Hollywood sign at sunrise
Preparing well for auditions can help you land a life-changing acting role!| Source: Unsplash

Being talented at both improvisation and sight reading can bring any text to life, but when it comes to an acting script, it is a combination that is certain to take you places. When it comes to acting auditions these are two major skills required by every casting director.

At the end of the day, your sight reading skills should help you with one or more of the following:

  • Supplement your formal drama education.
  • Give you confidence at casting calls.
  • Secure your callbacks at acting auditions.
  • Help to hone your improvisation skills.

As you research the sight reading classes, remember to ask whether your practices will be filmed or not. Although not essential, as you can imagine it is extremely helpful to be able to observe yourself on camera when it comes to any kind of drama course, including reading classes.

Sight Reading Classes Don’t Only Benefit Actors

While it is obvious that sight reading classes can benefit both new and established actors, it is worth noting that sight reading skills can be enormously helpful even for those who are not looking for acting audition tips!

Having cold reading skills can aid business professionals to deliver speeches and presentations with more fluidity. It can also teach them where to place emphasis in order to create mood, which will also make the text sound both compelling and authentic.

actress and drama teacher during acting lesson
Sight reading is an importantcomponent of auditions for both actors and casting directors. | Source: Superprof

In short, sight reading classes are also extremely beneficial (and almost essential) for anyone who does a lot of public speaking.

6 Key Acting Audition Tips

Finally, it should be remembered that succeeding at casting calls will ultimately land you more acting jobs.

Here are a few tips to prepare you for acting auditions that will help you to feel confident while you showcase your talent.

  • Take extra sight reading classes to read cold acting scripts.
  • Hone your improvisational skills.
  • Always turn up early for acting auditions.
  • Practice! If you are given a script on arrival, find a quiet spot to go through the lines.
  • Listen! Keep your ears open for instructions from, the casting director, impromptu requests, and valuable feedback.
  • Find an acting tutor to help you prepare for really important auditions, the time and financial investment might seem negligible by comparison to the elation of landing a career-changing role!

Most importantly, break a leg!

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Niki is a content writer from Cape Town, South Africa, who is passionate about words, strategic communication and using words to help create and maintain brand personas. Niki has a PR and marketing background, but her happiest place is when she is bringing a story to life on a page.