Whenever I have auditioned for a film/TV or a commercial, I am always very familiar with the words, but only on rare occasions will I have them memorized. In most situations, I will have the words memorized for a call back, and certainly have them committed to memory for the job.
I just had a chance to sit and talk with a manager and a casting director who are based in L.A. The manager works with some really successful actors and the casting director is currently casting a kids, TV show. They both said the same thing to me. If the actor is given the script a few days prior to the audition, they are expected to have it memorized. I was really surprised.
So now I know, if I am ever auditioning for a project that is being cast on the West Coast, I will do my best to have the lines memorized for the taping. For projects being cast in other locations, I would recommend you ask your agent to see if the lines need to be memorized for the audition.
After 25 plus years in the business, I am still learning new things all the time.
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