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Personal Development

10 Foolproof Ways to Memorize A Script

December 8, 2019

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Written by Colette Nichol, Story Strategist and Filmmaking

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

In this post, I’m going to share with you how to memorize a script so you can get off the page fast!

These memorization techniques will help you no matter what you’re looking to memorize. But they are extremely effective for speeches, videos, plays, monologues, presentations, and on-camera acting or presenting.

How to Memorize a Script
Memorization can be simple and easy if you know (and apply) the right techniques.

Most online videos shine when there is no script.

Non-actors tend to do best when speaking off the cuff.

But sometimes you need a script, and you need to memorize it. Maybe you want to do a direct address sales video. Or you want to create an online course with certain pieces that need to be precise.  Or you just want to do something creative and fun that requires a script.

Sounds great! But how do you go about doing the memorizing?

Well, you’re in luck because I happen to have many years of memorization under my belt. Aside from creating videos, I’m also an actor.  

And I have an obsession with solo theatre.  That means memorizing 60 plus minutes of monologue. That’s about 30 pages of text.  Sounds hard, right?

It is, and it isn’t.

Like most people, I am not a born memorization genius.

Some people have glue-like memories.  Not me.  Unless there are some key ingredients in place.

So here they are – the top memorization techniques that can help you memorize as many lines of dialogue or monologue as you’re crazy enough to want to learn.

If I can do this, so can you!

These are my top 10 memorization techniques for learning a script by heart:

1. MOVEMENT.

Walk and talk my friend.

Go for a walk with your script.  Pace around the house with your script.

Rehearse actions with your script.  

Just move your ass, and those words will stick longer and more easily in your brain.

2.  KNOW WHY YOU’RE SAYING IT.

What are you trying to communicate?

Focus on the why behind each line.  What is your goal with each line?  Find the feeling inside yourself that connects to that goal.

3.  BREATHE!

 If you don’t have oxygen running through your body by the truckload memorization becomes much more difficult.

Allow your ribs to expand, your belly to hang out and your breath to be deep. Think about how babies breathe; that’s what you’re aiming for.

4.  RELEASE TENSION. 

The better you are at releasing tension the more you’ll be able to retain what you’re memorizing.

Breathe and release tension throughout the whole memorization process.

5.  CONNECT THE IMAGES IN YOUR TEXT TO IMAGES IN YOUR MIND.

If you’re telling a story, see the story in your mind as you run the lines. 
Paint the picture in your head, and you’ll be able to recall it better.

6.  STAY HYDRATED.

It’s hard for your brain to work when it’s dehydrated. 

And your vocal cords will thank you too.  So that means drinking water two hours before memorization starts.  Yup, it’s that specific.

7.  SPEAK OUT LOUD!

Whatever you do… don’t try to memorize a speech or lines or anything inside your head.  

Speak the speech I pray thee! Speak it out loud. Over and over! You can do it in your full voice. You can whisper it. It doesn’t matter, as long as you’re speaking the words.

8. TAKE LOTS OF BREAKS.

Work on your script for ten to twenty minutes.

Then take a five-minute break.  Come back.  Rinse and repeat.  Do this a few days in a row and you should be ready to go.  Your brain works better when it can start and re-start.

9.  TALK TO SOMEONE (REAL OR IMAGINARY).

Remember that you’re a human, not a robot.

Humans talk to other people, not to the wall.  So focus on the words you’re saying and who you’re saying them to.  Your ideal client perhaps?  Imagine them in your mind’s eye and say the words.

10.  KEEP THE SCRIPT IN YOUR HAND UNTIL YOU DON’T NEED IT.

Don’t force yourself to get off the page early.  

Give yourself the gift of time. Look down at the paper as much as you need to.  Eventually, you will find yourself not needing the paper at all.

BONUS MEMORIZATION TIP: REHEARSE BEFORE BED

For some reason, when we rehearse before going to sleep, the words stick in our minds more deeply. There’s definitely a scientific reason for it. But frankly, I don’t care what it is because I know it works.

Actors (myself included) have long used this hack to speed up the memorization process.

That’s it!

How to Memorize
Do your memorization (or some of it) before bed. It really helps! — photo by Gaelle Marcel

And don’t worry if you don’t memorize everything in one session.

Or if you come back the next day and can’t remember anything. Your mind is working.  Trust yourself.  The process always works.  It just works a little differently for every person.


About the Author

Hi! I’m Colette. I’m a solo filmmaker and story strategist based out of rainy Vancouver, Canada.

I LOVE to help aspiring filmmakers pursue their dreams and start making films. This blog is designed to help you start gaining the knowledge you need.

If you want more then get on the waitlist for my solo filmmaking program. It opens up 1-2x per year.

CLICK HERE to get on the solo filmmaking program waitlist.


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Welcome! I’m a story strategist, filmmaker, and teacher based out of rainy Vancouver, Canada. My mission is to give you the tools and tactics you need to pursue your filmmaking dreams, so you can start making films this year! No more waiting for the right time.  Join the inbox party: take my free mini-course and start building your filmmaking skill set.

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