So you want to be an actor, or at least try it out. Maybe you see others in your daily life who you think have a way of presenting themselves that you admire. You watch actors at work on film, TV and stage and wonder how they do what they do. I wrote this book for you. Together we will map out a learning journey that introduces you to the world of the actor and gives you some practical exercises and tools to become a very good actor. Whether or not you end up acting as a career, the skills you learn through this journey will make you a more aware and improved person in many aspects of your life, both personally and professionally. Sound good? Let’s go!
I wrote this book after several years of training, studying and eventually working as an actor, director and acting teacher. I came to acting later in life, having “worked my way around it” in careers that were slightly related to acting but not really acting itself. As a management consultant, I enjoyed the drama of doing client presentations. As a college teacher, I loved the theater of the classroom, and the fun challenge of breathing life into material that was dry at times. As a public speaker, I liked the showmanship of inspiring a room full of people. But actually being an actor seemed like something that other people did. I wasn’t that kid who did drama classes in school or who was in all the plays. Those were special, livelier, less shy people who were a different breed than me. Somewhere in midlife, I decided to stop circling around the acting thing and actually take a class. The rest, as they say, is history. I learned that I love acting, and the growth it provides me as a person. I have studied with all kinds of wonderful teachers who have shared generously of their wisdom and insight. In writing this book, I want to pass on that gift to you.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Foreword, Introduction, How to use this book
Chapter One: What is an Actor?
Chapter Two: Basic Tools - Text, Voice, Body
Chapter Three: Intermediate Tools - Listening, Reacting, Improvisation
Chapter Four: Advanced Tools - Imagination, Emotion, Empathy
Chapter Five: Inhabiting the Character - Back Story, Traits, Cloaking
Chapter Six: Driving the Character - Intention, Objectives, Tactics
Chapter Seven: Understanding Scenes - Actions, Reactions, Interactions
Chapter Eight: Taking Direction - Perspective, Arc, Balance
Chapter Nine: Putting it All Together - Practice, Trust, Instinct
Chapter Ten: Being a Collaborative Actor - Kindness, Generosity, Self
Chapter Eleven: Growth - Personal, Artistic, Professional
Appendix One: Essential Business Tools for the Actor