Using the Script to Guide Your Vocal Choices

Sun Sep 21, 2014 ∙ 17:22pm ∙ Donald The Dialect Coach

If there is one thing that’s going to immediately give you success in cold reading, it’s using those action verbs – but I’m here to give you more!


There are several secret signs that you can look for within a script that will tell you how to say each line the first time that you’ve seen it.


The first secret sign is called a hook.


You use a hook anytime that you raise the inflection of your voice. In the Standard American Dialect, we naturally hook our voice at the end of a question.


If I asked you, “Do you want to go to the mall?” The pitch of my voice would rise on the word, “mall.”


A hook indicates to the person listening that you’re either.


  1. Waiting for a response.




  1. You have more to say.


It makes sense that you would hook at the end of a question because you’re waiting for someone to say:


  1. “Heck Yeah I’ll go to the mall with you!”




  1. “I’m sorry, Donald. I don’t want to go to the mall with you.”


Sometimes a hook happens in the middle of a sentence.  


Anytime that you see a comma in a sentence, the word before that comma is going to be hooked.


Let’s take a look at this sentence:


            After we go to the mall, I want to go to the video game store.


What you should do in your script (and eventually in your head) is draw (or imagine) an arrow hooking up underneath the word “mall.”


That means that you have to hook the word, “mall.”


The sentence would then look and sound like this:


            After we go to the mall, I want to go to the video game store.



Because of the hook on the word mall, the listener gets a sense that there is more to the sentence.


A hook can really save your bacon.


Often times when you’re auditioning you begin to think –


I can’t breathe. I’m saying all of these words and I don’t know when to take a breath!


Here’s a helpful hint:


Anytime that you need to take a breath – it doesn’t matter if it’s at ANY point of the sentence – all you have to do is hook the word you say before you take your breath.


A well-placed hook can keep you from rushing through your sentences.

The worst thing that you can do is go into an audition room and hold your breath while trying to get through the lines. That’s going to make your performance uncomfortable to execute and even more uncomfortable to watch.


It’s perfectly OK to take a breath! We’re all human and we need to breath J


Use the hooks, commas, and question marks! Feel free to hook any word up whenever you need to take a breath.

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