A table read is when actors sit around tables and read through the script aloud. We don’t have to have our lines memorized or act full out, but energy and giving the flavor of the character is important. Our audience is typically made of the entire creative team: writers, producers, studio & network executives, many other departments and of course the director.
The reason for a table read is so that everyone can hear how the project plays and often adjustments are made afterwards. Writers will often re-write scenes to improve the flow of the script or discuss how to punch-up the dialogue in a comedy.
Personally, I love being invited to table reads. There’s always a nice meet and greet with a yummy lunch. Then you look around the table for the placard with your name on it which designates where you sit. There you will find your script, a highlighter, pencil, bottle of water and a notepad. It’s a good idea to get there early to go through the script and highlight your lines in case there are any changes. Before we actually start reading, the director introduces everyone and then we’re off! It usually takes no more than an hour and it’s a lot of fun.
Two of my most exciting table reads so far have been the one that led to an offer for a recurring role and the first one I attended as a series regular. It’s a great way to connect with all of your co-creators on any film, play or television show.
P.S. - Norman Buckley directed me in an episode of Switched At Birth.