And thanks for reading! Wow, here we are on day one of 2023! Yes, that’s right, posting my blog for the week on New Year’s Day…that’s dedication, right? Well, kind of…I am writing it the Friday BEFORE the Holiday…hey, work smarter, not harder…ya know!? Also, I did some research and have discovered that blogs posted to social media on Sundays and delivered to subscribers on Mondays get better responses, so it’s kind of selfish. Anyway. to kick off the new year, and hopefully provide some fuel for your shiny new resolutions, let’s look at some books and podcasts that are helpful for actors.
Just a reminder here that when I use the term “actor” I mean it to encompass all forms of acting including voice, stage, and screen. What follows applies relatively equally to all of these forms of acting.
Without (much) further ado…
I will begin by confessing I have not read or listened to all of these myself, so I am basing some of these recommendations on the recommendations of others. For those I have not read or listened to, I didn’t just take the word of ONE person’s recommendation, but several…in that way I can make sure that these really ARE must reads/listens for all actors. Some of these you may have already read or perhaps listen to regularly…some may be a new discovery for you. In any case, I hope they help you along your journey as an actor.
I’ve included handy links to these titles below, and just wanted to let you know that these are NOT affiliate links. I do not benefit in any way, well, except knowing I may be helping you, if you decide to click through and purchase any of these. Of course, if you buy MY book I benefit, but it is still not an affiliate link.
Books, in no particular order
What is method acting? In this book Isaac Butler walks you through the Stanislavski system and beyond, right up to and through the evolution of “The Method” as it is understood today. Nathan Lane Butler calls this “the most important book about acting”.
If you are just starting out as an actor, this is a great book to start off with. With this book you will learn everything you need to know to nail an audition and get cast. Shurtleff’s 12 guideposts will influence your auditions for years to come.
This fun book will be helpful for anyone who is just getting started along their acting path, and maybe even especially for those who have been at it for a while and feel like they just aren’t getting anywhere. This book is encouraging as it shows how even the most recognizable actors struggled, sometimes for YEARS before they got a break.
A classic no actor should be without. Uta Hagen provides a series of exercises and questions to ask yourself to help you connect to yourself in the moment, other actors in the scene and the audience. She also helps you feel more comfortable on the stage and on set by working past your nervousness.
Larry Moss is a master acting teacher who no longer teaches. If you ever wanted to study with him, this book is a great substitute. From his introduction in his own words “I call this book The Intent to Live because great actors don’t seem to be acting, they seem to be actually living.” From the back cover: “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.” This one is on my future reading list.
This title doesn’t provide any tips or ideas on how to act, but it is a wonderful memoir by Mr. Cranston that shows you the path to celebrity isn’t a straight one. This book is encouraging for anyone who loves acting but struggles to balance their passion against their “day job” and wonder when their big break may come. Highly recommended and a really fun read.
This book is aimed at stage actors, but can be beneficial for screen actors as well. It is a compendium of all the unwritten rules and protocols all stage actors are expected to know and observe. This guide is invaluable for professional stage actors from first rehearsals to final curtain. If you are a stage actor, or a screen actor who is thinking about making the transition to stage, you should definitely have a copy of this book.
Now what kind of author would I be if I didn’t plug my own book? This is a compilation of my first 10 or so blog posts, reformatted into a book and self-published on Amazon. This book basically charts out my journey getting started in VO and captures much of the research I had done on equipment, training and recording space among others. Hopefully it’s helpful, and you can have it for FREE just for subscribing to this blog!
In this podcast the hosts interview top players in the film and TV industry including celebrities, casting directors and agents.
This podcast is for anyone who is getting started in voice over, or who wants to…and for veteran voice actors to learn helpful techniques and keep up with current trends. They also interview guests who are working in voice over successfully.
Matt describes his career as an actor as being told no for a living. In this podcast the host talks with successful top-shelf people from all walks of life about their journey through the no’s too get to the yes. If rejection in this business get you down, it’s great to know that even the most successful people still get told no.
In this podcast Audrey talks with people from the entertainment industry to offer advice on everything from auditions to how to better utilize your union.
This is a bi-monthly actors podcast created exclusively for people in the entertainment industry. This show features interviews with entertainment industry experts including filmmakers, producers, casting directors, musicians, and other successful artists who have achieved success in their field and who share the steps THEY took to get to the next level.
In this weekly podcast, Academy award winner and celebrated acting teacher Milton Justice invites you to listen in on his weekly acting class. This is one of the rare acting podcasts that delves deeply into the craft of acting.
You may not recognize his name, but you’d know him from TV and movies such as Parenthood, CHiPS, The Good Place and many others. Check out his IMDB here. In this podcast Dax interviews celebrities each week (twice a week actually) and since he is often acquainted with his guests, he can ask the questions others may not feel comfortable asking. If you want witty banter mixed with insights into the entertainment industry you might not get elsewhere, this is the podcast for you.
In this podcast Lilli Torre begins each episode by asking her guest: “So, what have you been up to?” and the conversation flows from there. This podcast offers insight into the many different avenues one can pursue to support a career in the arts. Most of the people interviewed are actors AND something else, whether that be teacher, business owner, or real estate agent.
And there you have it!
My list of books and podcasts to get your New Year started. These are just a few of the tremendous resources available and while I encourage you to check these out, there are thousands more available on the other end of a quick Google search. Happy New Year and welcome to 2023…may the upcoming year prove to be more successful than last year, no matter how successful last year was!