Acting and How to Be Good at It: The Second Edition

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Character actor Basil Hoffman teaches the serious student of acting a comprehensive approach to character development.

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Character actor Basil Hoffman teaches the serious student of acting a comprehensive approach to character development.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780971541023
  • Publisher: Ingenuity Press USA
  • Publication date: 1/2/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 196
  • Sales rank: 1,365,861
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword xv Two Conversations xvii Preface xix I Introduction 1 II Professional acting 5 How do you define professionalism? 5 What is acting? 8 Is acting a craft or an art? 9 Should acting be like real life? 10 What is "Amplified Realism"? 10 Is film (camera) acting different from stage acting? 11 What is slick acting? 12 What is autobiographical acting? 12 What are the differences between audition, rehearsal and performance acting? 14 Is classical acting different from acting in more contemporary works? 15 What is "at-oneness"? 16 How important is imagination in acting? 17 Are there special techniques for playing comedy? 18 III Decisions on Training 19 What are the most important attributes for someone who wants an acting career? 19 Why is training necessary? 20 What do my goals have to do with my training choices? 20 Where should I go to study? 21 How do I find a good school or teacher? 22 Can an actor be permanently harmed by destructive teachers and teaching methods? 24 Should I accept acting jobs before I finish my training? 25 What is the difference between teaching and coaching, and are teachers and coaches the same people? 26 Should I lose my accent? 27 IV Approaches to Training 31 What is the fallacy of scene study? 32 What is the value of improvisation? 33 What is "monologue power"? 33 V Character Study 37 What is "Subjective Situation Perception," and why do I need to know about it? 38 How does an actor begin work on a role? 42 What are stage directions and narrative, and are they important to an actor's performance? 43 What is a character's "essence," and why is it important for me to identify it? 44 Does the character's essence contain elements of the actor's essence? 45What is the difference between playing an attitude and playing a character, and are attitude and essence the same thing? 47 What constitutes the physicality of a character? 47 What does "living in the moment" mean, and what is its importance? 48 Why are the differences between "what" and "how" so important? 49 What are "inner cues"? 50 What is "privileged information"? 51 What do you mean by "natural sequence of behavior"? 53 Is there a difference between demonstrating and indicating? 54 What does "permission" have to do with acting? 55 How important is the element of surprise, and how can I get that into my performance? 56 What is memory of emotion, and what does it have to do with the actor's "comfort zone"? 57 Is there some technical way to express the meanings of the words? 61 What is subtext? 64 What is the "point" of a line of dialogue? 65 What is a "thought pause"? 67 What is "vocality" of character? 70 What do you mean when you say, "Forget the words"? 73 What is phrasing? 73 What is grouping? 74 What is a beat? 75 What are obstacles and what is their importance? 76 Can you explain the meaning and the importance of conflict? 78 What is "programmed behavior"? 78 What is the "tone" of a script, and how should that affect my approach to the work? 79 What is the difference between naturalism and truthfulness? 80 When you discuss "purpose," do you really mean "objective"? 81 What does reporting have to do with acting? 83 Why is listening so important? Is there some special way to listen? 84 What does the word "compass" mean when you use it in discussing a role or performance? 85 Do you recommend any specific acting exercises? 85 VI Getting the Jobs 101 What is "actor's conceit," and why is it important? 103 What are the two fundamental truths about every script? 103 What is type casting, and how does it affect an actor's employability? 105 How do I approach the part if there are only a few lines of dialogue? 106 Is there a special way to approach homework? 106 Isn't the concept of "getting it fast" necessarily superficial, and why is it so difficult for actors to be truthful with only a small amount of preparation? 108 How do you characterize the relationship between the actor and the writer? 109 What are "Cornerstones of Truth"? 112 How will I know if I should use an accent or dialect? 113 VII Doing the Job 117 How important is an actor's attitude in the workplace, and what constitutes a positive attitude? 117 Will I always be given a complete script? 120 Should I approach every script in the same way, and are there guidelines to follow? 121 What do you mean when you say, "Break down the script to energize it"? 122 Do I need to memorize the part word for word? 124 When is it appropriate to ask questions about the work, and how do I know whom to ask? 127 In film and television, does an actor have to give the same performance in every take? 128 Will the director direct me? 130 Will the director direct me before I begin to act? 132 What does a director mean when he says, "Make it bigger"? 134 What does a director mean when he says, "Bring it down" or "It's over the top"? 136 If I'm directed to do the scene faster or slower or bigger or smaller or louder or quieter, how can I make that quick adjustment without being artificial? 137 What is a line reading, and what purpose does it serve? 138 What is a "thought reading"? 139 Will the director ever direct me in a language I don't understand, and is there a reliable way to deal with that situation? 139 Is the stage director always in charge of final creative decisions? 140 Is the movie director always in charge of final creative decisions? 141 Is the television director always in charge of final creative decisions? 141 What should I do if the other actors aren't good, are unprepared or misbehave in some way? 142 Does the process of discovery end with homework? 143 How do you work on a part you have been hired to play but didn't audition for? 143 What is "collaborative cooperation"? 145 When do actors have to do their own makeup? 145 How much input is an actor allowed to have when it comes to things like props and wardrobe? 146 Should the actor deal directly with the cinematographer, and how can that affect his performance? 150 What effect does the film editor have on an actor's performance, and does the actor have direct contact with the editor? 151 What is A.D.R.? 153 How do you deal with being fired? 153 VIII Commercials 155 How do actors get auditions for commercials? 157 Do commercials make demands on the actor that are different from the demands of stage and screen work? 158 IX Career Management 161 What necessities should an actor acquire as he pursues a career? 162 What is "thinking in the profession"? 162 Are there any guidelines for starting and maintaining an acting career? 163 What are actors' most serious career mistakes? 164 What do star actors have in common? 166 Doesn't luck play some part in an actor's success? 167 Can one negative professional experience damage my career? 169 Are there any special industry information sources that I should know about? 170 X Conclusion 173 Acknowledgements 175 Index 185
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