An impressive book details a groundbreaking and approachable acting method.




A progressive new acting technique used by many of the biggest names in film and TV emphasizes building characters over mining personal traumas for more natural and engaged performances.

Loughlin’s debut book brings her eponymous acting method, employed by Hollywood stars like Ryan Reynolds, Emma Roberts, Amy Adams, and more, to performers struggling with the bad habits of more conventional teachings. Chief among these are the idea of the “tortured artist” and the many long-used but toxic exercises that encourage actors to pull from their own traumatic experiences to produce strong emotions onscreen. The Warner Loughlin Technique at first proposes an analytical approach, breaking down characters before deconstructing the scenes they’re in, then turning the material in the pages of the script into “Core Knowledge”—“the history of the character.” Extrapolating how these characters would then react from that knowledge, utilizing teachings on psychosocial development from the likes of Erik Erikson’s Hierarchy of Needs, and determining what drives these fictional players by exploring their needs and fears allows actors to perform more fluidly. More commonly accepted methods, from molding intricate backstories to actors’ examining their own emotions, still have roles. But these tactics should be kept separate from the actor’s history through strategies that permit the creation and experience of a character’s world rather than a retread of the performer’s own. Loughlin’s book has a colloquial tone, often sharing her own life experiences to illustrate certain points, as if readers are working with the author one-on-one. Some scenes and characters are provided, with detailed examples of how to assess them. These beneficial dissections come from actors as well as the author. The performers deliver not only endorsements, but also their own rich accounts of the method. For example, both Shiri Appleby and Wes McGee supply helpful and deeply intimate details of how they used the technique. Along with protecting the actor’s psyche, other valuable tips and tricks abound, including some practices to avoid: excessive note taking, memorization, and perfectionism, among them.

An impressive book details a groundbreaking and approachable acting method.

Pub Date: Jan. 30, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-9995270-1-6

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Howland-Tilley Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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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)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.


A light-speed tour of (mostly) Western poetry, from the 4,000-year-old Gilgamesh to the work of Australian poet Les Murray, who died in 2019.

In the latest entry in the publisher’s Little Histories series, Carey, an emeritus professor at Oxford whose books include What Good Are the Arts? and The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books, offers a quick definition of poetry—“relates to language as music relates to noise. It is language made special”—before diving in to poetry’s vast history. In most chapters, the author deals with only a few writers, but as the narrative progresses, he finds himself forced to deal with far more than a handful. In his chapter on 20th-century political poets, for example, he talks about 14 writers in seven pages. Carey displays a determination to inform us about who the best poets were—and what their best poems were. The word “greatest” appears continually; Chaucer was “the greatest medieval English poet,” and Langston Hughes was “the greatest male poet” of the Harlem Renaissance. For readers who need a refresher—or suggestions for the nightstand—Carey provides the best-known names and the most celebrated poems, including Paradise Lost (about which the author has written extensively), “Kubla Khan,” “Ozymandias,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, which “changed the course of English poetry.” Carey explains some poetic technique (Hopkins’ “sprung rhythm”) and pauses occasionally to provide autobiographical tidbits—e.g., John Masefield, who wrote the famous “Sea Fever,” “hated the sea.” We learn, as well, about the sexuality of some poets (Auden was bisexual), and, especially later on, Carey discusses the demons that drove some of them, Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath among them. Refreshingly, he includes many women in the volume—all the way back to Sappho—and has especially kind words for Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, who share a chapter.

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-23222-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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