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  • 5 Steps for a Legendary Cold Read

    Let’s get real: A professional cold read is 10–20 minutes of laser-targeted prep to lay down a winning audition. A properly prepared cold read can have the same impact as a fully prepared audition, where the actor has at least 24 hours of prep time. 
    This is analogous to how sometimes a 30-second commercial can make you laugh harder than a five-minute “SNL” monologue. It’s the compelling choices made—not the time and effort spent—that makes one successful and the other not as much. Smart choices make a lasting impact. Labored, inauthentic choices—or those reeking of acting technique—only reflect the misguided effort used to get there. 
    Sherri Shepherd, a former student, once performed a cold read in my class where she was reacting to a home invasion, under the threat of imminent death and rape. It was one of the most dangerous and impactful performances I’ve ever seen. She didn’t make the mistake of pasting together a flimsy take on the material after frantically scanning it twice. She took a requisite amount of time, around 20 minutes, to make specific, fun choices and organize her mind. It was remarkable in that—without being off-book—she

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