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How to Stop Acting

How to Stop Acting
Your Price: $21.95 CDN
Biz Bestseller!
Author: Harold Guskin
Foreword by: David Suchet
Introduction by: Kevin Kline
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 208
Pub. Date: 2003
ISBN-10: 0571199992
ISBN-13: 9780571199990

About the Book:

Harold Guskin coached actors like Rachel Weisz, Ted Danson, David Suchet, Kevin Kline, Michelle Pfeiffer, Glenn Close, James Gandolfini, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Bridget Fonda, Ally Sheedy and dozens more to emphasize the words of the script over any analysis of their characters' motivation.

In How to Stop Acting, the legendary acting coach reveals the insights and techniques that have worked wonders for beginners as well as stars. Instead of yet another method, Harold Guskin offers a strategy based on a radically simple and refreshing idea: Just keep it real. He advises actors to approach text in a freeing manner. Instead of transforming yourself to become a character, the character becomes you. The actor's work is not to create a character but rather to be continually, personally responsive to the text, wherever his impulse takes him, from first read-through to final performance. From this credo derives an entirely new perspective on auditioning and the challenge of developing a role and keeping it fresh, even over hundreds of performances. Chapters include "I Want This Part, How Can I Get It?," "Acting in Film and Television," and "Playing the Great Roles," and he offers lots of useful "Suggestions for Practice."

Drawing on examples from his clients' work on how his method unblocked their creativity, Harold Guskin presents acting as a constantly evolving exploration rather than as a progression toward a fixed goal. He also offers sound and unique advice on adapting to the particular demands of television and film, playing difficult emotional scenes, as well as tackling the Shakespearean and other great roles, and more. Whether you are a novice or an established actor, How to Stop Acting offers sage advice to all performers.

What people say:

"Everything I've learned is from him. It's really just about taking the line off the page. And each time you say it, it can play with you in a different way, play in your imagination in a different way." — Rachel Weisz

"How to Stop Acting is the most wonderful tutorial book for actors, it encouraged me to find out how actors work today. Taking classes with Harold has hopefully enabled me get rid of some of those engrained habits and not to play safe, to live more dangerously in the moment, and as a result I've stopped using a specific method in my work." — David Suchet

"Harold gives a very sane point of view to a very insane business and a very insane craft. Sometimes, when I read a script, I'm tempted to put on seven different wigs and change everything and do all this stuff-like knock my head against the wall twenty times before I know what I'm doing. Then I'll come to Harold, and I'll realize it's a lot simpler than that." — James Gandolfini

"Ask an actor who the coach of the moment is and no matter whose name comes up as well, Guskin's is mentioned three times out of four." — The Village Voice

"Reading through these pages, I realize not only how much I learned from Harold, but also how safe he made me feel. The courage to take the risks that pushes us into new discoveries – new emotional territory – does not come without trust. Harold created a place filled with a trust that ultimately freed me to find my wings… one role at a time. This book will be invaluable for anyone passionate about learning the craft of acting and for those of us who need to be reminded of the basics of the craft we have dedicated our lives to." — Glenn Close

"The Great Guskin shares the approach he uses to help actors land roles, develop them, and keep them alive." — The New Yorker

"Many actors, newcomers and veterans alike, often wonder why it's so difficult to be as real, natural, and emotionally charged on stage or in front of the camera as we are in our daily lives. Harold Guskin explains how, by habit and misconception, we tend to undermine our potential. How to Stop Acting is a clear and concise actor's guide to living the truth in our work." — Christopher Reeve

About the Author:

Harold Guskin (1941-2018) was a revered acting performance coach best known as the author of How to Stop Acting. He worked with dozens of stage and screen actors and encouraged students to emphasize the words of the script over any analysis of their characters' motivation. He also acted and directed, and worked out of his brownstone apartment in the West Village, guiding, cajoling and pushing actors as they prepared for auditions, rehearsals or performances. His goal was to free them to bring their own personalities to their roles and trust that they would find their characters in the text before them.