A Student Weighs in on Some Popular Ipad Apps for Actors
While I was on medical leave back at the beginning of the year, I bought an ipad for my
department myself, rationalizing the expense by saying I could use it to run our theatre’s sound board. Then I started looking at ways to help our student actors. Rather than post my opinion of these actor apps, I asked our International Thespian Association president, senior Kaylie Padgett, to review them. She’s been accepted to colleges EVERYWHERE and plans to rule the word with a sharpened pencil in hand. Here’s what she decided:
Here’s what Scene Partner promises:
- Turn the text of your play into speech —
- Listen to your cues, lines or whole scenes
- Record your voice and the voices of your fellow actors, and merge them with the TTS voices to help you learn lines!
- Focus the script around your character.
- Use any script you own in your secure Private Library when you Sign Up. Start learning lines using your scripts today.
The free download of Scene Partner is just a taste of an app that may or may not have potential. However, if you want to experience the actual usability of the app, you must pay for the full version. Everything costs – the voices to read to you, the ability to take notes, and the option to edit in cues. If you aren’t connected to WiFi, it’s easier to use a physical copy of a script, because everything requires a download. This app was difficult to figure out and the various pop-ups were exasperating. I give it a * out of ***** because it does provide a script reading option, but that’s pretty much it.
My Lines Lite
Here’s what My Lines Lite promises:
- My Lines is a tool that assists actors in memorizing their lines. It presents the script in a way that shows the lines of the actor’s role separate from those of the other roles. It helps to minimize the need to have a second person help with the lines.
- In addition to viewing the script, the recording capability allows you to record the lines of the script. When the script is ‘played’ back, it will stop when it gets to the actor’s line. Pressing next will then continue the playing of lines until the actor’s next line.
Even after a walk-through on the help section, working this app was a pain. The free version only allows scripts with up to fifty lines, so if you’re using anything with more substance than that, you’ll have to fork out some money. Additionally – it’s almost pointless! Basically a glorified Kindle app, but for scripts, as it’s just a way to store them on a mobile device. You can cut to different parts of the script, categorize by character, and enlarge the font, but after that it’s essentially just reading your script on a device. I give it **, because the enlarging tool can be useful, but the pain of downloading different scripts makes this app not worth it.
Sides [Free Version]
Here’s what Sides Free version promises:
- Sides gives you a powerful and engaging new way to [learn your lines.]
- Tap the character you want to study and all your lines are automatically highlighted.
- Record audio for the lines to get a full performance of the text.
- Enter rehearsal mode and all of your character’s lines are blanked.
- Play pauses while you deliver your line.
- Tap the prompt button (or shake your device) to get a text or audio prompt.
- Create custom hints, add pictures, notes, contact details and line edits.
- Share all your custom data with friends – and mix everything together with various performances to create the ideal line study tool.
Finally, an app that I can use! Slides actually has functionality. After picking your character, you can run lines three ways – the first way showing the entire scene, ‘run through’ mode in which your characters lines are blank, and then slide mode, in which the blocks of text go through in slides. The app also has the options of adding notes and hints to any particular line, which can be supremely helpful in remembering certain blocking notes or motions not provided in the script. While running through your lines, you can also hit the hint button and it will give you your line, the equivalent of calling for a line in really life. Add the voice hint option, easy to use features, and overall usefulness, this app gets ****, because I could actually envision myself using this app to memorize my lines – granted they have my particular script in the script library, of course. [If you’re doing the Balcony speech from Romeo & Juliet, you are good to go for this free version. NOTE: It seems only Shakespearean plays are offered in the download catalog.]
Leave a Comment or Advice Below
How do you learn your lines? Have you used any apps to help you along the way? What do you recommend?
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