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How to Prepare Auditions: The Kimball Studio Method of "Active Prep"

An actor prepares an audition script by highlighting their lines

Auditioning is its own art. At Kimball Studio we know the prospect of auditioning for film and TV roles can seem daunting at first. In fact some of the most common questions we get asked are about how to prepare auditions, how to stand out in the audition process, or tips for co-star or guest-star auditions.

That's why our founder Kelly Kimball cultivated the Active Prep technique—a comprehensive method designed to fortify your auditions and uphold their authenticity.

Active Prep isn't just about memorizing lines: it's about infusing them with life and depth. Whether you're gearing up for a film, TV, or even a stage audition, this technique delves deep into character connection, ensuring your portrayal resonates with vitality and authenticity.

Picture this: You step into the audition room (or more accurately, you sign into your "zoom" audition room) and you're already fully immersed in your character's world. Every line, every gesture, is infused with purpose and meaning. That's the power of Active Prep—it goes beyond rote memorization to foster a genuine connection with your character and your scene.

But how does it work? Active Prep takes you through a step-by-step process that hones your skills and enhances your performance. From understanding your character's motivations to embodying their emotions, Active Prep equips you with the tools you need to deliver a compelling audition. Let's dive into the process:

  1. Tap and Read: Start by tapping the top of your page and reading your sides from start to finish. Take it all in slowly, imagining yourself as the audience. Even pay attention to crossed-out lines or stage directions. This initial reading is relaxed yet immersive, allowing you to absorb the essence of the scene.

  2. Highlight Your Lines: Once you've familiarized yourself with the scene, highlight only your lines. This step helps to focus your attention on your character's dialogue and intentions.

  3. Circle and Substitute: Circle every person, place, or thing mentioned in the script, and find substitutions for each. For example, if your scene is set in a restaurant, circle it as a "place" and substitute it with a restaurant from your own life. This technique helps to personalize the scene and make it more relatable.

  4. Discover Your Character's Objective: Stand up and perform a "one-minute" exercise to find your character's objective. For more about our one-minute exercise techniques, see our blogpost here. Begin with the opening line "I want/need from you..." and speak as your character to another character, viscerally finding their objective. Note your initial emotion and aim to find an emotional arc within the minute, bringing this journey back into the scene.

  5. Read Aloud with Punctuation: Read aloud all the lines, including the other character's lines, paying attention to punctuation. Circle the punctuation for your lines only, as it signals the intention of the scene and helps guide your delivery.

  6. Repetition: Act out both parts of the scene, repeating your lines over and over until they feel honest and alive. This step helps to internalize the dialogue and bring authenticity to your performance.

  7. Say it Back: Read both parts of the scene again, but this time, repeat back the end of your reader's line before delivering your own line. This technique fosters active listening and allows for more natural and dynamic interactions between characters.

Here is a video of Kelly Kimball walking us through the full Active Prep Process:

By following the Kimball Studio Active Prep technique, you'll not only memorize your auditions more effectively but also keep them alive and authentic. Whether you're a seasoned working actor or just starting out, Kimball Studio's proven approach to audition preparation will help you shine in every audition.

So, why do Active Prep? Because it works. Our students have seen remarkable improvements in their audition performances after implementing this technique. And it's not just about landing the role—it's about honing your craft and unlocking your full potential as an actor.



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