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.
Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.
Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").
Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)