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Book on Acting: Improvisation Technique for the Professional Actor in Film, Theater, and Television Paperback – October, 2002
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Improvisation is essential to acting and Book is a terrific teacher. -- William Hurt
From the Publisher
The ability to improvise a skilled performance while speaking scripted and memorized lines is of paramount importance to actors working in todays film and television productions, which often allow very little if any rehearsal time. Through his innovative Improvisation Technique, Stephen Book shows the actor how to create a spontaneous performance by applying improvisation to traditional script-acting for film, theater, and television.
Book on Acting begins with immediate training in how to improvise. Books fundamental principle of improvisation is "Acting is doing, and there is always more to do." The actor learns what to do to keep himself in a spontaneous improvisational state.
This Improvisation Technique is then applied to exercises with scripted lines, developing sophisticated improvisation skills for enhancing character, emotions, conflict, and agreement as well as improving the actors audition process. Also included is a unique process for breaking down scripted scenes into improvisation choices.
Book on Acting contains film and television scenes in which Book-coached actors, used his Improvisation Technique to create their performances. These scenes, showing the actors performance choices, demonstrate the use of Improvisation Technique in different genres of acting. Well-known theater and film scenes are included, as well as scenes from such TV shows as Melrose Place, Star Trek: Voyager, L.A. Law, Frasier, and The Practice.
Books Improvisation Technique extends the work of Viola Spolin (author of Improvisation for the Theater). Book was Spolins student, assistant, representative, and her partner in the Spolin Theater Game Center in Hollywood, where he served as executive director and principal teacher in the 1970s.
Top Customer Reviews
Book's "Improvisation Technique" is different than other "traditional" methods:
1) It's a doable and reliable methodology that can be used solely or in conjunction with other techniques.
2) The learning is layered; it's a step-by-step, logical process. In every class, something new is added to what was previously learned.
3) Participants learn "acting focuses" independent of scripted work. Once an "acting focus" is learned and mastered, the participants then learn how to apply it to scripted work.
4) The "teaching" is never personal or critical so those learning are never put in a place of being judged.
5) The learning is experiential - participants learn by doing, not watching or analyzing. Every class, every participant works on their feet.
I graduated from one of the top theatre schools in the country. When I graduated and moved to Los Angeles, I took an ongoing class in Uta Hagen's approach as well as participated in a several general scene study classes. I had a mixed bag of different ways of working, but I didn't have firm grasp of a single reliable approach. Then, I was introduced to "Improvisation Technique.Read more ›
In a nutshell, Improvisation Technique is about trusting your instincts and applying full-body physicalization and improvisation to scripted text. There is also a bit of scene study, called "Point of Scene", where the text is broken down according to the author's intent for the whole of the script; rather than concentrating on "my" piece of the puzzle, this technique focuses on the puzzle as a whole and the role "my character" plays as a part of that whole.
One thing I love about this book is that it is written as a text book that anyone could employ as a teaching tool. I'm fortunate enough to study with Larry, who has taken the class with Stephen three times. Stephen developed this technique from working with Viola Spolin.
Included in the pages are several testimonials from working, famous actors (David Boreanz, Maura Tierney, the late George Carlin), endorsing Stephen and his technique - but putting that aside, the technique itself is so simple and makes SO MUCH SENSE. It's a method of approaching acting in an authentic, organic way. Stephen described some of the "pros" best in the seminar I took with him before signing up for the class: As an actor, your instrument is your body. A dancer's instrument is also their body. A dancer would never pay for a class where they go and sit and watch other dancers dance for 90% of the time... so why do actors think this is normal?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is one of my favorite Acting books, and I've read almost all of them. This is a monster of a text, filled with information, style and exercises. Read morePublished on April 13, 2013 by Poetical Psyche
A smart, well crafted book about the basics. A must for anyone at any level of their craft. Doesn't substitute for actually taking a class with Book; however, well worth the read!Published on November 21, 2008 by chicklit
I'm going to enter the author's studio first chance I get. Excellent, excellent book. Full curriculum for acting workshop. Hugely different from most classes. Read morePublished on October 22, 2007 by Giles Bowkett