How to: Recalling Scripts As Memories | Memorization Techniques For The Actor


Happy Saturday Friends!

I find myself, script in hand, beginning a memorization process that’s a near reflex for me. My station is set, coffee brewing.

I recall being a teenage theatre student. The epic crash and burn of monologue testing.

To set the scene, Picture this: A room of 16 year old actors. Flavored water as far as thee eye can see. [So trendy!] The walls, floors, drapes, all black.

Minimal chatter of scene study. My theatre instructor at the desk, waiting. One by one, we’re called up to test our memorization. One point off for each word missed in our assigned monologue.

That 3 minute test equates to an after school panic attack.

*If you know me personally, this is a shock. I’m a very calculated, detail-oriented performer. I fall in love with each dialogue. It took time.

For years, I thought “I’m bad at memorizing.”, “What’s wrong with me?”

This led me to check out books on neurology.

  • Over the years, I found what worked for me.
  • Confidence came with preparation.
  • When preparation meets opportunity, well, that’s how you make your luck.
  • I wasn’t always this way.
  • Nearly a decade later filled with choosing to get uncomfortable.
  • I like to identify my weak points and give them love until they become strengths.
  • Regardless of age, you’re always a student. Remember that!

Your success will come from finding a technique that works best for you. Try these!

  1. Emotional Outlining: Take your text, grab pen with paper.

Transcribe the driving emotion behind each sentence.

  • This way you build a foundation.
  • What is motivating the text? This helps the flow, how you recall the information.
  • This is referred to often as “Mind Mapping”.
  • This technique lends itself to understanding the psychology of the text.


Tech Savvy? Here are some apps I recommend:

  1. First is Mind Vault, this app aids in memorization by removing key points of text to practice.
  2. Secondly, Rehearsal® Pro. This app sits around twenty bucks. It allows the user to have a virtual study buddy. Run lines with the program, and more.
  3. Last, Lumosity. Strengthen your brain with games. Doing this in your leisure will strengthen the synapses and pathways between neurons. Bodybuilding for the brain.



Scene study is far more than repeating a string of sentences and regurgitating them back.

  • The deeper you understand the context, along with visual aids, your brain strengthens this information you’re learning.
  • The more developed this is in your mind-the greater chance of recall.
  • So once again, go line by line, build that very world supporting the dialogue.
  • These images are your personal connection.
  • Attach memories to the text.
  • Speaking from memory is natural.

Think about July 25th, I’m serious. What did you eat for breakfast. Don’t know? Was it an average day?

What if July 25th your significant other proposed?

I bet you would remember every last detail-the smell of your partner even.

It’s a developed, vivid memory.

So, create this from the given dialogue.

Hard to forget a line when it’s a story in your memory. This will feed directly into character development.

  1. Technology strikes again! Use the voice recording app that came with your phone, record the dialogue. Play this often. Driving, showering, sleeping even. The longer the text is in your brain, it transitions from short term memory, to long term.
  2. Alpha Waves: Use your resources. Youtube has a collection of Alpha wave tracks for deep studying. Alternating the pattern of your waves can induce deep focus. Play this as you dive into the text.
  3. Writing: Writing the script over and over is another technique. This wasn’t a hit for me. I found the auditory, and visual techniques work best, with me.
  4. Supplements: Click the link for helpful information!


  1. Movement: Some individuals respond to movement when memorizing. If you have a gym membership, study while you walk on the treadmill. Walk around your neighborhood. Even listen to audio of the text, while reading and pacing. [One of my go-to techniques]
  2. Break it down: Often times, I’ve recited lines using the natural pace. Unless the scene is written as a giant run on. Use the organic pacing. All the while striving to comprehend the mindset, and motivation. Take your time.
  3. Practice: The more you work the text, your brain will hold onto that information. It becomes significant in your memory.

Memorization: is the process of committing something to memory. So commit, do the work! You’ve got this.

So, with these techniques, you have the tools to recall from memory.

I hope these help! Have a tip for memorization? Comment below to help others in our community.


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