Before you learn how to read a script, it's important to know what a script really is, and how it was created.
There’s hierarchy in scripts to production. Knowing how this goes might help you understand why your approach matters. Everything starts as an idea, then it rolls downhill until it’s seen or heard by the desired human. In my career, I’ve been all of these things at one time or another, so I totally get it. Here’s how it goes.
a. There are big thinkers, usually referred to as “clients.” Those are the people with the ultimate decision making authority about who does what, and who pays for what.
b. Then, there are writers. The geniuses who transform that one-line concept into a beautifully written script that creates the image or desire the big thinkers are looking for.
c. The, there are the script editors. The folks who say you can’t use this verb or noun or sentence because it’s not correct, or in some cases, audience appropriate.
d. Then there are producers. They get the script, and then set up the schedules and arrange everyone who’s going to work on the final project. Producers might be the people who choose your voice for their script.
e. Producers might hire, or act as, casting directors. Again, these might be the people who choose the voice they feel most closely matches the character in the script.
f. There are directors. The people on the front-lines who will be in the studio with you, making sure everyone above them gets exactly what they want. The right tone, the right voice, the right tempo, the right emotion.
g. And, of course, there’s YOU. The legendary, future superstar, professional voice actor. High five!
h. Then we roll down to the audio producers and editors, sometimes the same people. They take the directed voice and apply sound effects or music to create the background scenery.
i. The mixed project is sent to the clients for approval or changes. Any changes are made, and sent for review. Once they sign-off on the final project, it’s ready for human consumption.
There are several human opinions in that crazy cycle. In some cases, you’ll have to be borderline psychic to achieve what the big thinkers, or someone below them, really wanted - because they didn’t or couldn’t explain their vision. But knowing these steps will help you prepare to deliver exactly what all those involved are looking for. Break a leg!