What It Is
What It Does
Help you learn your lines by playing back your cues.
Where to Buy It
What It Costs
Memorizing a part is one of the things that opens a great rift between actors. For some it’s easy, for some it’s difficult. Some have to hunker down and painfully brute force through the task, whereas others seem to do it effortlessly on their feet. One solution won’t work for everyone, but if you’re the type who learns best by ear, you may want to take a look at (and a listen to) the iPhone app LineLearner.
A few months ago we examined Scene Partner, another app for Apple devices that would let you work through your lines with an electronic reader, but required downloading (and in many cases purchasing) scripts. LineLearner works on the same basic precept: that by hearing your lines in a real-world situation you’ll be better able to quickly assimilate them.
The big difference is that LineLearner doesn’t depend at all on preexisting scripts. Instead, you record all your lines and your cues one by one and can then choose to play back either everything (so you can learn the shape of your part) or just your cues (so you can practice delivering them yourself). It may be time-consuming or difficult to get your costars in on the act, but if you can swing it you get the benefit of being able to work out the best ways to respond to the people you’ll actually be performing with.
There are some tweakable settings, which let you configure some basic options (such as whether you want your line to play after leaving the necessary gap of time, in case you’re in the striving-for-line-perfection phase of rehearsal), the thoroughly no-frills LineLearner does not offer many options. This is most evident as far as editing. You have the ability to reorder or delete clips, but that’s about all. If you make a lot of mistakes while “programming” the app, you may have to spend just as much time re-recording them, which could be a pain.
Of course, what do you expect for $3.99? That price is a big part of what makes LineLearner attractive, particularly compared to Scene Partner, which includes a lot of hidden costs if you want to buy more scripts or read against a range of different computerized voices. A special free “Lite” version of LineLearner is also available, but it limits you to ten lines, which makes it useless for all but the smallest roles. As long as your needs are modest, and you’re willing to spend the necessary time setting up, auditory learners are likely to find LineLearner right in line with their needs.