5 Books That Will Save Actors

by May 2, 2017

1.

An Actor Prepares

by Konstantin Stanislavski (ISBN: 0878309837)

In the family tree of acting teachers, Konstantin Stanislavski is everyone’s great-great-grandfather. Every other acting discipline stems from Stanislavski’s teachings. An Actor Prepares is the first of his trilogy of acting books—the books that are the basis for the famous school of “method acting.” This book plainly lays out techniques and simple exercises to make the actor aware of how they act in their own life, and how to recreate these actions for an audience. Any serious actor who wants to get at the very core of what acting is needs to read this book.

2.

Sanford Meisner on Acting

by Sanford Meisner and Dennis Longwell (ISBN: 0394750594)

In the family tree of acting teachers, Konstantin Stanislavski is everyone’s great-great-grandfather. Every other acting discipline stems from Stanislavski’s teachings. An Actor Prepares is the first of his trilogy of acting books—the books that are the basis for the famous school of “method acting.” This book plainly lays out techniques and simple exercises to make the actor aware of how they act in their own life, and how to recreate these actions for an audience. Any serious actor who wants to get at the very core of what acting is needs to read this book.

3.

Respect for Acting

by Uta Hagen (ISBN: 0025473905)

Just about every person who’s taken an acting class has been asked to read Uta Hagen. Respect for Acting (while perhaps not as refined as her later book, A Challenge for the Actor) is an extremely useful, straightforward introduction to acting. It’s easy-to-read, it’s well organized, and its simplicity makes it one of the most accessible guides out there for both new actors and veterans of the craft. As David Hyde Pierce says in the foreword of the book, “Respect for Acting is not a long book, and with any luck, it will take you the rest of your life to read it.”

4.

Acting in Film: An Actor’s Take on Movie Making

by Michael Caine (ISBN: 1557832773)

Two-time Academy Award winner Michael Caine, after more than fifty years of on-screen experience, might just be the most qualified person in the world to write the book on film acting—so that’s what he did. Acting in Film is a handy guide on what to expect from the day-to-day of filmmaking and the small but necessary changes in technique that a stage actor must make to be successful in film. With numerous examples from his own career, Caine describes everything from breath technique to where one should look and when one should blink on camera. This book is a must-have for the film actor just starting out and the experienced movie star.

5.

Audition: Everything an Actor Needs to Know to Get the Part

by Michael Shurtleff (ISBN: 0553272950)

Most actors agree that auditioning is the worst part of the business—it’s a necessary evil we all must get past in order to do what we truly love. Michael Shurtleff, a veteran casting director for both Broadway and Hollywood, is here with this handy guide to make the process a little less painful. Shurtleff has seen thousands upon thousands of auditions, and, in his book, tells you exactly what and what not to do in the casting room. With classroom dialogues, advice on where to find audition material, and step-by-step instructions on how to land a role, this book is the one that an actor will use all throughout their career.

1 Comment

  1. Adam Baird

    Thanks, Abbie. Another good book to look at is A Life In Parts by Bryan Cranston.

    Reply

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