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Backstage Experts

7 Tips for Effectively Using Cue Cards in Auditions

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7 Tips for Effectively Using Cue Cards in Auditions

Commercial auditions can be an absolute blast… until you forget your lines. As all experienced actors know, you cannot take your commercial copy into the audition room. But you can learn how to use a cue card to your advantage! These tips will help.

1. DO find the where the cue card is located. Normally, it is directly next to the camera.  

2. DO review the cue card and particularly observe where the key words or phrases are. Just in case you forget your place, you can immediately identify those key words on the page and pick up where you lost your place. You should normally have time to review the cue card as the casting director or assistant looks up your Casting Frontier information before your slate.  

3. DO NOT skip over your scene partner’s lines while you review the card. If you are familiar with everyone’s lines, you will know what your cue line is! Knowing your partner’s lines will also help you listen and react appropriately. 

4. If you walk into a room and the casting director is ready to film immediately, you may ask the casting assistant for a second to read the cue card before your slate. This should not take long (just a second), because you should have already reviewed your commercial copy at the beginning of your audition. Please remember to be respectful of the casting director’s time, but a second or two doesn’t hurt anyone. If the lobby is crowded with a number of actors, there will probably be more of rush. With an emptier lobby, the casting director will probably be more relaxed and willingly give you a moment. 

5. DO try to memorize your commercial sides as much as possible before entering the audition room. Memorization will not only give you a more comfortable performance, but you will appear more confident and ready to book the job. Almost all professional commercial actors can memorize quickly, so make sure you sharpen your skills in this area whether it’s with a good cold reading class and/or at-home practice. 

6. DO look at the cue card when you need to when you are auditioning. If you feel the lines slipping from your memory, it is permissible to look at the cue card—that’s why it’s there in the first place! Finding a natural place to sneak a glance at the cue card will play to your advantage.  You can look at the cue card while appearing to the camera like you’re in thought, looking around the room. The smoother you can be in glancing at the lines, the better. 

7. DO NOT use the cue card as a crutch. Its function is to help when you absolutely need it; it should not be the primarily focus, drawing your eyes away from camera or your scene partner. So only sneak a glance when you really to.

When you use the cue card to your advantage, you will be leaps and bounds above less-experienced actors.  Break legs at your next commercial audition!

Like this advice? Check out more from our Backstage Experts!

Mae Ross is an acting teacher and Backstage Expert. For more information, check out Ross’ full bio!

 

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