Thursday, November 16, 2006

Acting Books

I have been reviewing books on acting for a drama weekly for about three years now. In all that time, I have yet to find an acting book that compares to real acting experience. Don't get me wrong, acting books have their place. They often contain an almost encyclopedic discussion of various acting methodologies and approaches, as well as useful contact information that might take a while to find on your own. None of this, however, takes the place of a good acting course.

The only real use for acting books I can see is to help you to take your first steps into the world of acting. After that, it is all up to you. You see, you can study all of the acting books that you want, and try out every acting technique known to man on your own, but if you can not use these to impress a director, they are worthless. For some people, acting requires a lot of methodology, but the methodology is not the point. The point is figuring out what you want to do and finding ways to do it. Some professional actors know so many techniques that they write acting books on their own, but others know very little. It is enough for them to dive into the mind of the character, and make him come alive.

Honestly, instead of spending that hard earned money that actors tend to have in such small quantities on acting books, you should consider getting a few drama books instead. Books of plays, especially classic plays, are an actor's best friend. Theater, after all, is one of the original art forms. The more deeply you can delve into it, the more it will strengthen your acting. This is true even if you are a movie actor. Many of the best movie actors started out with Shakespearean acting courses. Very few of them read many acting books.

Of course, I don't want to discourage you entirely. If acting books inspire you, you should read them. Whatever inspires you to act is important and worthwhile. Just remember, the purpose of these acting books is inspiration and ideas. Although they can be great sources, none of them will give you real acting experience. You have to go out and get that on your own. You will have to take acting courses, go to acting workshops, and of course hustle for jobs like the rest of the acting world.