Tonight I joined a plethora of other actors to read newly minted screenplays fress from the film academy presses. These scripts represented the final product of New York Film Academy's screenwriting class. They varied from drama to comedy to action. And the evening was like a crash course in cold reads - with an audience!
The scriptes were recieved only a few days before, and casting was quickly rotated and rearranged that evening. What did this mean? Basically - performing a cold reading in front of an audience of directors and actors and the writer of the script you were grappling with that instant. It was energizing! The most clear lesson: commit. Even if the decision didn't make perfect sense the actors who commited to their decisions always outshone those who were timid. More surprising, the actors that made strong decision were also better recieved by the writer - even if it moved the script in an unintended direction. Of course I would never recommend purposely improv-editing someone else's hard work - but it goes to show that commitment is always appreciated. After a timid (I'll admit) read of one script I relaxed and had fun falling into diffrent accents and genres and charachters throguhout the night: an uptight british investigator, southern girl out on the town, and a slighted Italian glamazon to name a few.
It was also, of course, a great opportunity to meet some new screenwriters and actors. Many thanks to Sindy Nurse, who invited me to the reading and Randall Dottin, an inspiring filmmaker who organized the event.