We stress the importance of reading out loud. It may seem simple, and maybe you haven’t done it in years, but it can be hugely effective in improving everything from your acting to your ability to quickly assess a script, make choices, and pull the words off the page. Sir Ian McKellen claims that reading out loud was how he learned to act, and I think most of us will agree that he knows his stuff in that area. So, good enough for Sir Ian, good enough for us. Here’s a simple exercise you can almost anywhere and on your own time: Pick three things to read. Any bit of written media will work. Start small if you want. A pamphlet, a matchbook, a newspaper article, a newspaper ad, a comic book, a shopping list, someone’s blog, anything. Over the course of the day, collect those three things. Now-- and this is where it gets tricky –read them. Out loud.
Read each one at least once through, and if you’ve got time and you’re enjoying yourself, read them through again. See if each time through differs for you. See how the writings may be different from each other. Is one a story? Is one just trying to sell a product? Is one using a story to try and sell a product? Is one just a list of numbers on a receipt? If you’re having fun, give a different “character” to each one, or even switch it up within the writings.
You may not feel a change after doing this exercise, but trust us, it gets your brain and mouth working in all the right ways. Most importantly, as long as you’re reading out loud there is no wrong way to do this exercise. Unless of course you’re a monk who had, until this exercise, taken a vow of silence. Or if you’re in a library where they frown on doing anything out loud.