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Books That Are Absolutely Perfect For Actors

These just fit so well! Very inspiring for aspiring actors.

Most actors have incredible stories to tell – and others can learn a lot from their books. We have some books to share that give good insights into the acting world, as well as some incredible journeys of successful actors that ‘made it’ in their field.

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#1 Waiting for Godot: A Tragicomedy in Two Acts

Waiting for Godot: A Tragicomedy in Two ActsGet this book or read more reviews of it by using the links below

Waiting For Godot is a play in which two characters are waiting for somebody named Godot. While they are waiting, they have a very realistic type conversation, which is often non-linear and sometimes even random. For actors playing the roles, it is a challenge to deliver these lines in a way that seems normal and doesn’t seem random, but it can be done.

This is a must-read for many actors because it will present a unique challenge of understanding line delivery and timing that can make a very unusual conversation structure into something that is as normal as possible.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#2 Voice Lessons: How a Couple of Ninja Turtles, Pinky, and an Animaniac Saved My Life

Voice Lessons: How a Couple of Ninja Turtles, Pinky, and an Animaniac Saved My LifeGet this book or read more reviews of it by using the links below

If you don’t know Rob Paulsen by name, you will know him by the many characters he has brought to life: Pinky from Pinky and the Brain, Yakko from Animaniacs, the tough but lovable Raphael from the original animated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and many more.

After being diagnosed with throat cancer, Rob had to face a hard possibility that the source of his livelihood was in genuine danger. Voice Lessons is a motivational story of one man’s journey to rediscover his passion for his life and his work after coming so close to losing it all. Rob’s lust for life is infectious and will inspire fellow actors to rediscover their own passion for their craft with a few tips and tricks along the way of how to make it in Hollywood.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#3 Sanford Meisner on Acting by Sanford Meisner and Dennis Longwell

Sanford Meisner on Acting by Sanford Meisner and Dennis LongwellGet this book or read more reviews of it by using the links below

This book is the bible for anyone studying the Meisner Method of acting which lays the groundwork for the ability to live truthfully under imaginary circumstances. It teaches the ‘Foundation of Acting’ which is the reality of doing and the ‘Quality of Acting’ depends on how fully you’re reacting to your partner. That’s what makes you believable as an actor. This book teaches actors to just be because anything else is just pretending.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#4 How to Stop Acting by Harold Guskin

How to Stop Acting by Harold Guskin Get this book or read more reviews of it by using the links below

Harold Guskin is a legendary acting coach who specialized in helping actors find the truth in their character by breaking down the script and story into more easily digestible parts. This allows actors to be more continually responsive to the text and then attack it from different angles to create truly unique approaches to each and every role. Most actors would never imagine you could laugh during a moment of crippling depression or cry during a moment of pure happiness. This book teaches just how those concepts can and should be performed.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#5 Audition by Michael Shurtleff

Audition by Michael ShurtleffGet this book or read more reviews of it by using the links below

This often overlooked gem written by casting director Michael Shurtleff explains the ins-and-outs of auditioning for acting roles which is the very thing if an actor is not good at then they have no chance of succeeding. The introduction by Bob Fosse is insightful however the treasure is in the books second chapter in which the 12 Guideposts for acting are laid out which feels akin to Indiana Jones’ discovery of the Lost Ark of Covenant.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#6 The Thriving Artist by David Maurice Sharp

The Thriving Artist by David Maurice Sharp Get this book or read more reviews of it by using the links below

Honored by Money Magazine as a “Money Hero,” David is a professional dancer-turned-financial educator who volunteers his time to help performing artists and other professionals with inconsistent incomes to find financial security with tips and strategies to building a nest egg and a secure fiscal future. David helps creative professionals to transform their approach to money and finances, contrary to the “starving artist” cliché.

His book, titled The Thriving Artist, inspires its readers with a no-nonsense financial education interwoven with personal anecdotes and practical advice to help them create a solid financial foundation for acting careers. David plans and teaches free and low-cost workshops at the renowned acting conservatory HB Studio. He also is a guest speaker at the SAG-AFTRA Foundation on topics related to financial planning for artists.

David was first inspired to offer free financial guidance for performing artists when he noticed the lack of financial information specifically geared to them. Based on the experience gleaned from his earlier career as a professional dancer and his second career in the financial services industry, he began donating his time to helping friends and colleagues. As he saw the need and interest among his network of performing artists friends grow, he began offering his expertise to broader audiences through his book and workshops.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#7 Acting in Film by Michael Caine

Acting in Film by Michael CaineGet this book or read more reviews of it by using the links below

Michael Caine does an amazing job of describing how he became an actor and the tips and tricks he used to remain a successful actor throughout his career. It is somewhat autobiographical but also provides an outline on how to improve your acting abilities. The best tip for me as a professional speaker is to own the stage by acting like you belong there.

If you are an actor, Michael provides advice on how to perform so directors will appreciate you and use you again in other projects. These tips include preparation for before you shoot, in front of the camera and owning your character, plus even more. It was a pleasant surprise how enjoyable of a read it turned out to be, I would highly recommend it.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#8 Adventures in the Screen Trade: A Personal View of Hollywood and Screenwriting by William Goldman

Adventures in the Screen Trade: A Personal View of Hollywood and Screenwriting by William GoldmanGet this book or read more reviews of it by using the links below

As the author states: “In Hollywood, no one knows anything.” As a former actor and producer living in Los Angeles I found that helpful. Being an actor is about the craft of acting but there is so much more to acting than well…acting. This book goes through acting, producing and writing and gives a humorous picture of how the business of show actually works. Hands down one of the best books for any actor who wants to know what they are getting into and how to navigate.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

Contributors to this article
Sid Porter from Medium

Allyson Fields from Viva Editions

Rio Rocket, Film TV Voice Actor from RioRocket

David Maurice Sharp from DavidMauriceSharp

Michael Arnold from The Michael Arnold

Paul Miller from Lokus Nutrition

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