Rehearsal: An iPhone App to Help Actors Learn Lines
Learning lines is one of the chores that bedevil all actors. There is no “one way” to do this as everyone memorizes and retains lines differently. For some it comes easy, for some it is like pulling teeth. One thing that is common in all of this is the highlighting of lines in a script. I know several actors I work with who use technology to help them in the memorization process. One touts his successful method of recording lines that cue his lines into an iPod and then playing that back so he can insert his lines as they come due.
It was only a matter of time before someone came up with a tool or tools for the iPhone to attempt to help actors with this process. David H. Lawrence XVII of Heroes fame worked with RipTide Games to come up one such solution called simply Rehearsal. (iTunes link.)
I haven’t tried this out yet, but here is how the system is designed. You download the free app and then set up an account with a custom rehearsal email address. When you get your hands on a script (PDF or Microsoft Word format) you forward it to that address. From there you load the script onto your iPhone. The script then becomes interactive. You can add notes, highlights, photos, or videos. You can black out your lines so that you can rehearse a scene with only your acting partners(s) lines.
You can also playback and record your scene with the lines flowing in a teleprompter like fashion. There’s a function to allow you to email and MP3 of your work which I guess might come in handy if you need to send audio of an audition to a client or casting director.
While the app is free, there is a cost for the service. Each script costs $1.99 to add to your account and there are monthly ($19.99) and yearly rates ($199.99) available. These are discounted at 50% at the moment. This is geared much more for the TV/Film/Commercial side of the business than it is the theatre, but it should still work just fine, assuming you can get your hands on a digital copy of the play script. That’s much more common in TV/Film/Commercial.
I’ll have to check this out further and see if any of our iPhone toting actors can make any use of this or have interest.
David H. Lawrence XVII
02/28/2010 at 10:05 am
Finally, someone got the explanation of blackout mode right! Thanks so much for that!
And you’re absolutely right – Rehearsal was born out of necessity – I got a rush audition (I had an hour to prepare for a part on Community on NBC) and I couldn’t get back to my studio to do exactly what your friend does – record the scene with all of the lines, then play back the audio over and over in iTunes to learn the lines. I used Voice Memo in a pinch, but had to hit the play button over and over as I drove down the 101 here in LA. And thence the idea for Rehearsal was born.
The emailing-your-audition mode is specifically designed for voiceover artists to be able to take advantage of the remarkably clean sound you get from the iPhone’s mic, and to be able to send back their voice auditions to their agents or VO casting directors. We may add, given the move here in LA toward videotaping audition sessions more frequently, the ability to send a video audition as well.
And although we are primarily aimed at the on-camera TV/film audition and performance market, we did aim for the theater market as well – we have instructions on the website as to how to burst your physical scripts, scan them as PDFs and then forward that doc to your Rehearsal app and use it the same way as I have for the last season on Heroes – several of my scripts and revisions were hard copy as well. The Neat scanner makes that a breeze.
I do hope you get a chance to play with it – you can use it on an iPod Touch as well, just in case you have one of those – you just need an inexpensive (usually $10-$15) mic that plugs into the headphone jack (yep). I love the Switcheasy ThumbTacks mic for that – you can find it on Amazon here: https://davids.com/go/to.pl?thumbtacksmic
Again, I really appreciate your coverage of Rehearsal, especially from someone in the business!
02/28/2010 at 10:32 am
Looking forward to checking it out further, David. Thanks for your comments.
03/01/2010 at 12:06 pm
If you liked Rehearsal, check out our HollywoodHelper/BroadwayBuddy on the iTunes store:
Available and advancing since the dog days of September ’09.
Complete w/ WiFi link software for Mac and PC that lets you download your own scripts in plain text file format for no additional fee.
If you’d like a free download code, let us know, we’ll send via email.
App Writer To The Stars