#24 Best Books To Buy For Any Actor

13 April 2021 - 10:35 BY Louw
Best Books To Buy For Any Actor


I hated reading. Seriously, in school I used to just “SparkNotes” the summary of a book we wrote exams on. I never saw the point in sitting down and reading words that doesn’t mean anything to me or that I felt I HAVE to read. Until I discovered the power of what a GOOD book, a subject I’m interested in, can do for my everyday life. I became a fan! 

I realized that there are incredible writers out in the world. For me, an incredibly talented writer does not only TRY and write smart but they find ways to explain complex subjects or stories simply and entertainingly. That kept me hooked. 

Here are two things I had to learn before buying a book:

Identify a subject I’m REALLY passionate about. Something that excites me to learn more of. 
Read reviews: research before buying any book within the subject you like. I make sure I pick the best books within that subject, which is usually the one which most people can understand and is an easy and entertaining read. 

As you probably know, the thing that I find most interesting in this world is acting. After extensive research about which acting books to read, here are the top three acting books that I have read so far:

1. Acting For The Screen by Tony Barr

The most practical, to the point handbook to equip and remind us about the tools we can use when performing in front of a camera and how to prepare for it. 

2. True and False by David Mamet

“Hersey and common sense for the actor.” Again, the most entertaining, refreshing and PRACTICAL book on acting. He gets to the point without making it philosophical. He gives the actor permission to be simple, have more grace on themselves and to fully commit to your craft. 

3. Sanford Meisner On Acting by Sanford Meisner & Dennis Longwell

You are basically attending Meisner’s class – a fly on the wall as he teaches. The book follows eight men and women for fifteen months; introduction exercises and experimentation to polished scenes from contemporary American plays. A core focus is on your impulse and being specific with your truth.  

I believe we should stay students for the rest of our lives. Even Robert De Niro still works with an acting coach when he takes on a new role. We need to keep on growing our skills as actors, we need to invest time and effort into this craft so that we can become better actors and give raw, honest and beautiful performances. 

“To grasp the full significance of life is the actor's duty; to interpret it his problem; and to express it his dedication.” - James Dean


How did you find the technique/tool/advice? Did it work for you? What was different this time? Share with the tribe and let’s keep on creating beautiful, honest and memorable performances. Let’s execute our best selves! 


Kind regards,
Edwin and NovieGuide

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