REVIEW by Willard Manus
There are almost as many books on acting as there are actors.
Here are four worthy ones that have come my way recently:
ACTORS WORKING--THE ACTOR'S GUIDE TO MARKETING SUCCESS by Clair Sinnett is a practical guide to the business side of the profession. Sinnett, a veteran actress, casting agent and acting teacher, wrote the book to provide actors "with the necessary skills needed to obtain...work as a performer." It's not enough, she feels, for actors to learn how to act. They must also learn how to plan and structure their careers, advertise and market themselves, get the maximum results out of auditions and interviews. As she says, an actor is part of "show BUSINESS, not show ART."
Sinnett's book is broken down into acts and scenes, all of which are packed with information aimed at helping an actor cope with the difficult side of the business--getting an agent, sending out mailings and stills, putting together a demo reel, and so on. This is a no-nonsense handbook, one that will surely benefit any actor, whether young or old, who reads it. Visit actorsworking.com
Delia Salvi in FRIENDLY ENEMIES--MAXIMIZING THE DIRECTOR-ACTOR RELATIONSHIP confronts the best-kept secret in the industry: "how much actors, including award-winning performers, distrust directors, and how directors often fear and dislike actors."
As an example, Salvi brings up Marlon Brando's battle with director Frank Oz during the shooting of the movie The Score. The two had so many disagreements "that Brando refused to shoot any more scenes if Oz was even on the set. To keep the production going, Robert DeNiro, Brando's co-star, had to direct the scenes."
Salvi lays out specific ways, means and vocabulary with which actors and directors can communicate harmoniously and successfully with each other. Her book also lists the steps actors and directors can take to better prepare themselves; her chapters on "Talent, Technique and Organic Acting" and "Common Directorial Mistakes and Traps" are especially precise and helpful.
A methodical script analysis of On the Waterfront plus interviews with such actors and directors as Alexander Payne, Geena Davis, Mark Rydell and Anthony Franciosca also help make FRIENDLY ENEMIES the valuable and important book that it is. (Billboard Books, www.watsonguptill.com)
ACTOR and SHOOTING THE ACTOR are by Simon Callow, who came to stardom
playing the gay guy Gareth in Four Weddings and a Funeral. Callow had
not only been acting for two decades before that, but writing books and
articles about his life in theatre and films. BEING AN ACTOR came out
in 1983 and was hailed for the fresh and irreverent way the 30-year-old
performer talked about himself and such peers as Laurence Olivier, Paul
Scofield and David Hare. Now the book has been reissued in a new edition
with added supplementary material, but it has lost none of its youthful
verve and bite.
Callow's 2003 additions deal with his involvement in such films as Mrs. Bridge, The Good Father (with Anthony Hopkins) and Four Weddings. They are not substantial or interesting enough to save the ship from sinking. (Picador Books)