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The Intent to Live: Achieving Your True Potential as an Actor Paperback – December 27, 2005

4.7 out of 5 stars 62 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“I love the work I’ve gotten to do with Larry. He loves actors, he loves acting, and I love him.”
–Helen Hunt

“Larry Moss is probably the most knowledgeable, articulate, creative, compassionate teacher of acting in America today. He is solely responsible for transforming me from a talented person into an artist.”
–Jason Alexander

“Larry has an uncompromising dedication to the art and craft of acting. I wouldn’t take on another role without working with him.”
–Hilary Swank

“Larry is pure genius. He opened my heart and allowed me to feel again. I would not have been able to be John Coffey without him.”
–Michael Clarke Duncan


From the Hardcover edition.

From the Inside Flap

"I call this book The Intent to Live because great actors don't seem to be acting, they seem to be actually living."
-Larry Moss, from the Introduction
When Oscar-winning actors Helen Hunt and Hilary Swank accepted their Academy Awards, each credited Larry Moss's guidance as key to their career-making performances. There is a two-year waiting list for his advanced acting classes. But now everyone-professionals and amateurs alike-can discover Moss's passionate, in-depth teaching.
Inviting you to join him in the classroom and onstage, Moss shares the techniques he has developed over thirty years to help actors set their emotions, imagination, and behavior on fire, showing how the hard work of preparation pays off in performances that are spontaneous, fresh, and authentic.
From the foundations of script analysis to the nuances of physicalization and sensory work, here are the case studies, exercises, and insights that enable you to connect personally with a script, develop your character from the inside out, overcome fear and inhibition, and master the technical skills required for success in the theater, television, and movies.
Far more than a handbook, The Intent to Live is the personal credo of a master teacher. Moss's respect for actors and love of the actor's craft enliven every page, together with examples from a wealth of plays and films, both current and classic, and vivid appreciations of great performances. Whether you act for a living or simply want a deeper understanding of acting greatness, The Intent to Live will move, instruct, and inspire you.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; Reprint edition (December 27, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553381202
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553381207
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #55,515 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
As is obvious from the testimonials given by well-known actors -- on this Amazon screen (above), and on the back cover and introductory pages of the book -- Larry Moss has no shortage of fans. However, I think it's important to note that this book has value for anyone working in theater and film, not just actors.

As a playwright, I think it's critical that we writers seek to understand how actors and other professionals do their work. Theater (and film) is a collaborative medium, requiring the talents of many people in order to fully realize the potential of a story. By gaining a better knowledge of how directors, designers, actors and others use their skills to bring a play or film to life (on the "back end," if you will), I can write pieces (on the "front end") that interest, inspire and challenge them -- and, as a result, have a stronger effect on audiences. There's nothing worse for a writer than writing something, in isolation, that we think is the greatest thing since tuna casserole, only to have it completely incomprehensible -- or worse, uninteresting -- to actors, directors and, as a result, audiences.

In this search for information, Moss's book is one of the few that I've discovered that offers insights into the actor's process in clear, reasonable language, that makes the necessary connections between the actor's work and the writer's text. I have no doubt, after reading this book, that I will be that much more effective as a playwright, better able to create a solid foundation for those who choose to bring my work to life.
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Format: Paperback
This book is excellent! Larry Moss makes clear the terms that are commonly used in acting class (Objectives, intentions, relationships). I have heard these terms used many times in acting class, but didn't realize how important they are until I read this book. Larry Moss describes them in simple and pratical terms and uses examples from classic and current films.

I broke down in tears after practicing the exercises taught in the "Emotional Trigger" chapter. I cannot wait to get new scripts in acting class so that I can utilize the skills that I learned in this book. I highly recommend this to any actor who wants to improve in their craft. This book was the Epiphany that I was waiting for!
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Format: Paperback
Moss has written a great book for those looking for their uniqueness or purpose and think it may be in acting. For those who already identify as an actor, this is an amazing book because it doesn't read like an acting book! It is very narrative, very convesational, and a whole lot better than listening to Stanislavsky ridicule his female students for their pedantic feminine wiles or to Uta Hagen's quiet observations of teenage awkwardness. Honestly, the only classic that I would recommend to anyone is Boleslavsky's Acting: The First Six Lessons, since it has clear techniques on how to train your technique of an "emotion maker."
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Format: Hardcover
At last an insightful appreciation of the art of acting by one of the profession's foremost practitioners and teachers, which can be enjoyed not only by actors but by lovers of great acting. If you've ever marvelled at a performance, Larry Moss tells you why. With wit and clarity, as good a writer as he is an actor, he takes you inside the actor's mind so you understand the choices that enter into the shaping of a memorable characterization. And his range of references is remarkably eclectic and star-studded -- Groucho Marx, Bette Davis, Dustin Hoffman, Clint Eastwood, Uta Hagen, Robert Preston just to mention a few of the hundreds of performers whose work he illuminates, on stage, screen, television, in musicals, tragedies, slapstick and sitcoms. Nothing escapes his discerning eye.
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Format: Paperback
Contrary to what most non-actors think, the bulk of an actor's work takes place before a foot is ever set on a stage or in front of a camera. The hours required to explore a script or a role are mostly spent alone in a room with a notebook, a script, and some reference books. This is one of the best references.

If you want to know exactly what makes the difference between a drop-dead wonderful performance and an excruciatingly bad one, it's here. If you need words of encouragement after an awful rehearsal as well as suggestions for making it better, they're also here. Lots of actors don't know HOW to work. This book is packed with techniques for reaching into one's own psyche to build and enrich a character, working smart, and overcoming pitfalls facing all actors. It also contains many entertaining and very honest anecdotes illustrating the necessity for preparation and absolute integrity in all things theatrical.

For someone who finds Stanislavski inaccessible, is stumped when faced with playing a difficult character or has difficulty analyzing a script, this book is gold. An invaluable aid when preparing for an audition or a role, it's like having an understanding and gifted coach on call. Early on, Mr. Moss quotes Stella Adler as saying, "An actor must have the soul of a rose and the hide of a rhinocerous." Larry Moss wrote this book as partial fulfillment of a promise to her, and it's a fine tribute.
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