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Hello fellow boom operators. I was wondering if you had any advice on how to memorize dialogue. During my last shoot we had 5 kid protagonists and a few other actors talking in one scene. While preparing for the master shot I had to memorize more than one page of script Dialogue with everyone speaking in no particular order. I managed to do that by memorizing words that were build with the first letters of each actors name. It was very hard not to switch letters around with words like MNMEMTAM.. How do you do it?

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I've found that somehow just really digging into the scene and story helps with that. If you get really involved in the story, and the conversation, then the cues are often fairly natural. Bill asks Clara a question, Clara responds, etc. There are always the hard to remember ones, interjections, stuff like that. And of course when the actors are ad libbing a bit, it gets tricky. If you can keep an eye on the actors' chins in your peripheral vision (no staring head on, that's weird :p), that can often also be a good cue for when someone is about to speak. Aside from that, script-wise, try to focus on the beginning and ending of the lines. That's the important part for you.

  • Yes, everything you wrote makes perfect sense. The problem is that there can group situations where dialogue consists mostly of statements, and there is too much distance between the actors, hence not enough time to wait for the usual signs of someone starting to talk. I have never encountered these problems before, but believe me its very hard to get every cue right, especially during the first takes. – Geronimo Aug 4 '13 at 14:52
  • Spot on. For long, multi-characters scenes (especially when actors don't repeat scripts word-for word) I find it handy to memorise just the core intention of each line. For example: "Let's talk about serious stuff" "I'm disctracted by my work" "Pay attention to me" – SqueakyFish Sep 3 '13 at 11:23
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I assign the actors numbers from left to right and then memorize the number sequence! So you can end up with something like 3,1,3,2,3,1 and I find that easier than looking for cues. Other than that, knowing the script like the back of your hand!

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If you are looking for mnemonics, look up what memory champions use. The main thing is thinking of a route that's already in your long term memory; your bedroom, the road to your grandma, or whatever. It's kind of like a memory palace, but differs (and excells) in that it's not a made up place and is easy to remember/picture in your head.

Along the route you place images representing what you need to remember. In this case I guess it would be cues. The more vivid/crazy the better. So for example if you put a flirty Joseph Stalin in your bed, a hockey player harvesting maple syrup from the door to your bedroom, a panda and a dragon dancing by the door to your house, and uncle Sam checking your mailbox, then you know that the largest countries in the world (including water area, and excluding Antarctica) are Russia, Canada, China, and the United States.

I haven't read it, but apparently Moonwalking with Einstein is good if you want to learn more.

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