A Time to Work


Guy Camilleri teaches acting at Electric Lodge in Venice. Photo Courtesy Guy Camilleri.

by Guy Camilleri


Now that I’ve surfed, eaten breakfast and socialized, it’s time to take a nap… I mean to get to work. Though in theory, I could easily continue to ‘soak up’ the Venice vibe for an hour more. But I won’t because there is work to be done today. The Webster’s Dictionary defines work as “activity in which one exerts strength or faculties to do or perform something.”

However you decide to learn your lines, if you are in a crunch situation, get started right away. Photo Courtesy Thinkstock.

As an actor and acting coach, I work daily at my craft. For example, when I’m acting on-set, I’m listening and reacting to what’s being given to me. When I’m coaching, I’m listening and reacting to the specific needs of my client. On this particular day, I’m working with an actor on an audition for a feature film. With six pages to cover, we explore the text and the task at hand. In this case, the immediate task at hand is the need to learn the text (lines) since the audition is the following morning.

Now that pilot season (the period of time between January and April when the studios create samples of new shows) is in full effect I thought it would be a good time to share five of my favorite ways to learn your lines, whether it be for film, television, or a play.

  •  Type or write them out. A sense of authorship comes into play and speeds up the process as you type or write and repeat the lines out loud.
  • Dig into your character’s needs, obstacles and actions. It helps close the gap between you and your character and differentiates learning vs. memorizing.
  •  Cover the lines while you recall them, resisting the temptation to uncover them. Instead, think about your character and why they would say that particular line in response to what the other character(s) just said.
  • Take your lines for a walk along Venice Beach, or get on a treadmill. Adding a physical component is a relaxing and highly effective way to absorb the text.
  • Do it the old fashioned way; have someone drill lines with you!
Explore the text and the task at hand. Photo Courtesy Thinkstock.

However you decide to learn your lines, if you are in a crunch situation, get started right away. An advantage to learning the lines early on is that you get to start using your imagination, intuition, and instincts to create a dynamic character.

Guy Camilleri is a Venice-based actor and acting coach. He teaches regular classes on Wednesday nights at Electric Lodge, 1416 Electric Ave., Venice. For details email [email protected] Follow Guy on Instagram @guycamilleri

Read Camilleri’s previous post here.



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