Book on Acting: Improvisation Technique for the Professional Actor in 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.

The Improvisation Technique is then applied to exercises with scripted lines, developing sophisticated improvisation skills for enhancing character, emotions, conflict, and agreement as well as ...

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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.

The 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.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781879505605
  • Publisher: Silman-James Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/2002
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 629
  • Sales rank: 423,410
  • Product dimensions: 7.02 (w) x 9.92 (h) x 1.52 (d)

Table of Contents

Pt. 1 Getting Started
1 The Workshop 3
Pt. 2 How to Improvise - Basic Technique of Improvisation
2 Essential Starters 19
3 Physical Doing 49
4 Inner Doing 107
5 Vocal Doing 169
Pt. 3 Improvisation Applications to Rehearsals for Theater, Film, and TV
6 First Level Improvisations for Scripted Scenes 217
Pt. 4 Improvising Professional Acting Skills
7 Character 239
8 Camera and Stage Auditions: First Level Improvisation Applications 313
9 Emotions 329
10 Conflict 403
11 Agreement 475
Pt. 5 Acting the Script with Improvisation Technique
12 Purpose of Scene 503
13 Monologues and Purpose of Scene 541
14 Gaining More Finesse with Purpose of Scene 565
Conclusion 605
App. A Sample Umbrella Arcs 609
App. B Sample Emotion & Attitude Choices 612
App. C Sample Character Arcs 614
App. D Sample Attitude Lines 615
App. E: Suggested Workshop Formats 617
App. F: Traditional Children's Games 621
Notes 623
Index of Acting Focuses, Exercises & Processes 627
Acknowledgments 629
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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2003

    A Very Effective and Reliable New Technique

    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." Compared to other acting training I've had, I'd say the biggest difference is that my other training was mostly an exercise in being directed (which does have some limited value), while "Improvisation Technique" is much more about self-sufficiency. And actors absolutely must be 100% self- sufficient in the professional world. On the sets of television and film production, there is often only time for a blocking rehearsal, and the director is often more concerned with the shot than the performance. My theater and scene study training did not prepare me for this reality. I never had a reliable way to quickly and efficiently break down a script and make choices. Now I do. I used to read scripts from "my character's" point of view and make choices based on "How would I respond if I were this person under these circumstances?" Now I read scripts from the writer's point of view and make choices based on facilitating the writer's vision of what is being dramatized, and my callback/booking rates have increased dramatically. Used to be, intellectually, I had an idea of what my character wanted and what I wanted the performance to be, but I had no way of getting that into my body in any sort of consistent/reliable fashion. Now I do. My acting used to be very reactive, very "in the moment." And if I was reading/acting opposite someone who wasn't very good, I wasn't very good either. I relied on external forces to create my performance. Now I can create spontaneous performances, nailing all the beats, whether I'm acting opposite a tired casting director or an award-winning actor. Reaching high levels of certain emotions used to be very intimidating for me. But Book's technique allowed me to relax, do A, B, and C, and presto! they came easy and simply. Now I approach an emotionally charged scene with confidence. And it's all because of this technique. WARNING! This book is not meant to be read and considered. It's meant to be put on its feet! And Book takes participants through the curriculum one step at a time. Book takes the fundamental improvisation principles of Viola Spolin ("Improvisation for the Theater") and extends them into dealing with scripted and memorized material. The exercises i

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2008

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