A guide to the craft and business of acting.
This comprehensive but unfussy addition to the Applause Acting Series covers the practical aspects of the acting profession while also explaining the meaning behind the artistry. In the very first paragraph, professional acting instructor Kruse (Lockers, 1999) notes that “An actor does not figure out how to say the lines….An actor figures out why a character says the lines.” This sentiment sets the tone for the rest of the book as the author leads readers through each chapter, offering kernels of hard-earned wisdom along the way. Kruse expertly weaves his personal experiences as a veteran actor, filmmaker, producer, and playwright into the narrative, often driving home the point that success doesn’t happen overnight. The topics range from instruction on specific acting techniques to tips on auditioning to monologue exercises and beyond. The book also includes helpful actor’s worksheets with probing questions to get one’s creative juices flowing. The writing style is no-nonsense, and every paragraph gets straight down to business. Indeed, the author does readers a favor by avoiding romantic notions about the profession, choosing to emphasize the often mundane day-to-day reality of being an actor. Ever heard of the term “slating”? Do you know where to stand during an audition and how to hold a script? If not, this book is meant for you. Kruse also doesn’t sugarcoat the cold, hard facts about getting that big break: “It could take three years until [an actor] earns enough money to drop his side or survival job and work only as an actor. It could be twenty years. It could never happen.” However, the author notes, real satisfaction can come from simply knowing that we have “expressed ourselves truthfully.”
Both aspiring actors and curious observers will find something to ponder in this excellent manual.