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Comment: The item shows wear from consistent use, but it remains in good condition and works perfectly. All pages and cover are intact (including the dust cover, if applicable). Spine may show signs of wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. May include "From the library of" labels.
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Book on Acting: Improvisation Technique for the Professional Actor in Film, Theater, and Television Paperback – October, 2002

5.0 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Stephen Book manages to articulate a technique that both allows the actor to be specific in silence and active and emotionally affective when speaking. He helps you tap into that endless well which is human.--Viola Davis

Improvisation is essential to acting and Book is a terrific teacher. -- William Hurt

From the Publisher

A new technique for improvising performances with scripted and memorized lines.

The ability to improvise a skilled performance while speaking scripted and memorized lines is of paramount importance to actors working in today’s 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. Book’s 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 actor’s 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.

Book’s Improvisation Technique extends the work of Viola Spolin (author of Improvisation for the Theater). Book was Spolin’s 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.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 550 pages
  • Publisher: Silman-James Press (October 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1879505606
  • ISBN-13: 978-1879505605
  • Product Dimensions: 9.9 x 7 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #663,934 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I'm an actor and I've studied and practiced the "Improvisation Technique" outlined in this book and I can't recommend it more. Stephen Book has created a way for performers to create a workshop for themselves without the need for a "teacher" (or tuition!). The costs of acting classes can be very prohibitive; but now, with this book, a group of actors can commit to doing the curriculum at little or no cost and learn a very effective and reliable new technique.
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.
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I've been studying at the Stephen Book Acting Workshop for a little over two years under Larry Drake. We use Stephen's book as a text book for the class (although, the class covers a few other topics not included in the book). This technique is a breath of fresh air in a city (Los Angeles) where everyone talks about their "craft" and how "Method" acting is the only way to go.
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?
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Well what can I say. My teacher Stephen Book is the best. I have already booked 2 auditions that were very important to me because of his technique. Thanks Mr. Book, you are the best thing in Hollywood.
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Format: Paperback
Stephen Book's "Book On Acting" is a great achievement! With a clarity and thoroughness rarely found in books of this sort, this author/acting-coach lays out every how, why, what & where needed to learn this brilliant technique. Book explains how to learn the tools of improv and then take them to a new level by using them for the WRITTEN word. The technique gets an actor out of their head & into their body, increases their "stage" presence and allows them to deliver a fresh performance every time the camera rolls or the curtain rises. Whether you're an actor who wants to learn this technique or a coach who wants to teach it - this book will fulfill all of your needs. I can't recommend it enough!
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