Books | Bookstores
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G R E A T L I N K S F O R A C T O R S
The e-world, as we all know, is changing so rapidly that lists such as this are never truly current; I'm entirely certain that by the time you read this there will be new sites that would make valuable additions to this list. If there's an omission, let me know.
R E S E A R C H
The Internet Movie DataBase. Go here to research cast and crew credits, filmographies for actors, writers, directors, etc., and much more. Indispensable.
the best e-newspaper for the world of independent film. A subscription (free) gets you a daily posting featuring highlights from the site.
In addition to offering lengthy, often interesting, always intensely-personal reviews of current films, the site is renown for its first-in-Hollywood gossip, scoops on television series finales, advance buzz on the blockbuster films, etc. It also seems to have a devoted and vocal following. Not my cup o' tea. If it's yours, this site looks addictive.
A U D I T I O N S
The comapnion site to Backstage, the trade paper. Also hosts the Ross Reports site. Although I don't subscribe, actors I know who do say it's well worth the ten bucks a month.
New York Castings
A membership site, and more and more auditions are listed there all the time. Give them a look.
A kind of companion site to Breakdown Services; a good place for the self-motivated actor who wants to set up a little self-promotion.
auditions, baby! More crew-oriented than other things these days, but still work a look.
S C R E E N P L A Y S
Still the best site for screenplays on the web, but there's also...
The site title pretty much says it all. Some actors actually reference this site before script-o-rama. Up to you. Between the two of them, an overwhelming number of screenplays.
the weekly script
this is a British site that lists all manner of screenplay website links. Great, great site.
H E A D S H O T S - R E S U M E S
There are a number of wonderful headshot photographers and reume/website services in New York. I cannot possibly list them all here, and you may have a wonderful headshot from a photographer who is not on this list. Still, I've been asked for recommendations enough that I've thrown down a few names of photographers I know, who I think do wonderful work (this is an alphabetical list, BTW). Click on the name to link to the site:
I STRONGLY suggest you CONTACT each phtographer and chat with them a little on the phone or, if possible, visit them in their studio. If you don't vibe with the person, no worries - find someone you're comfortable with.
And here's an actor-friendly web designer:
O T H E R W O R K S H O P S (NYC)
Looking for an agent/cd workshop? Looking for a weekend intensive? Here are two places in NYC I recommend:
ONE ON ONE PRODUCTIONS
Like their title says, actors in most of the workshops they offer actually spend time with the agent in a one-on-one environment. You gotta audition to be a eligible to take workshops at one-on-one-- which helps attract better guest instructors because they look forward to meeting a certain caliber of actor.
Very straightforward. You join, then once a month you find out who's coming to offer workshops in the coming month, and you register for the one(s) that look interesting to you. The popular ones fill quick.
NEW YORK CASTINGS
More of a networking/membership kind of place, they do have good agency seminars.
TWO FROM NEW ENGLAND
Lots of news, resources-- and, of course, audition listings.
the site for CP casting, the largest casting office in Boston, as well as for the Studio at CP casting, the place in Boston where I teach. Make sure to find the button that puts you on their e-mail list.
M I S C E L L A N E O U S
www.ew.com (Entertainment Weekly)
Screen Actor's Guild
Caryn dot com
Story for you:
So I'm in Boston, in the Kenmore Square Barnes & Noble (which also, conveniently,
serves as the Boston University Bookstore). It's
in the forties outside warm for winter in Boston
but grey and raw, perfect for one of my pilgrimages to the store's
film and theatre section. Unlike its New York counterparts this
B&N is warmly cozy; its arts section, tucked into a far back
corner, seems to invite long visits. I'm almost there when I
hear them: two male voices, young ones, quiet and quick, their
silences punctuated by short hushed outbursts.
Without making out their words I know what secret they're sharing.
They're sitting on the floor, backpacks and coffee cups scattered,
each with a stack of plays and monologue books by his side.
They're devouring the scripts, flipping faster than they can
read, and now and then one of them strikes gold: "dude, listen
to this..." and launches into a monologue as if, like the retelling
of a first date, this one were The One.
I move past them, around the corner to Shakespeare, and I listen
to these two visions of myself twenty years ago, these college
kids discovering Sheperd and Mamet and Shanley as if they'd never been read before. I'm overcome with the urge to join them, to
turn them on to Curse of the Starving Class or The Water Engine,
but I understand that I am to them That Older Guy Hanging Around
the Shakespeare, so I remain silent, and remember. I remember
sitting on the floor in front of the library stacks until my
ass was numb (my First Time was in a campus library), and I
marvel at how little this one thing, at least, has changed.
So you see I love books. Physical, tangible books. And if you're
serious about your craft you, too, will develop a love of books
and a habit of haunting the drama section of bookstores. What
follows is a partial list of titles I recommend. Most are available
in paperback; some may be out of print. Find them anyway.
Audition - Michael Shurtleff
An acting book as much as an auditioning book, this has been
around for over 25 years and is almost a bible. Much of it is
more applicable to theatre than film, but an entertaining read.
Acting In Film - Michael Caine
I had the opportunity to re-read this recently. Lucky me. In the book, gathered from a series of BBC interviews, Caine offers straightforward, practical advice on matters from whether to smoke on-camera to how to work in close-up without the presence (physically or emotionally) of the other actor, all of it supported by experience.
Hot Tips for Cold Readings - Nina Finburgh
Don't be fooled by the silly title. This thin, fun little book is, page for page, the most practical Êand insightful guide to auditioning I've ever read.
An Actor Prepares - Constantin
A giant volume. One of a trilogy (including Creating a Character
and Building a role) upon which much modern acting theory
is based. A long, complex, compelling read. Also recommended:
My Life in Art.
Sanford Meisner on Acting
- Sanford Meisner
Written in diary form, this follows Sandy through a year at
the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York, which makes it, at times,
a novel-like page-turner. I agree wholeheartedly with his focus
on listening and awareness as the foundation for acting.
Respect for Acting - Uta
A seminal volume, passionately written. I don't agree with all
she says, but an essential part of any actor's library nonetheless.
And I'm inspired by the title.
(wonderful reads for the film actor)
On Directing Film
- David Mamet.
Spare, precise, to the point. Great stuff and not a wasted word.
Like his plays.
Also: True and False
Making Movies - Sydney Lumet
Like Mamet's book, above, the title tells the story.
Four Screenplays - Syd Field
He also wrote Screenplay, a bible for many aspiring screenwriters,
now thought by some to be too formulaic. I don't agree. Here
he uses four scripts as models to explain what constitutes a
great script. Read this book for its passion as much as its
Four Sreenplays - William Goldman Yes, it's the exact
same title as above. I recommend
this simply because I love his writing, his introductory essays
as well as the screenplays themselves. Read these and weep every
time you've got to slog through a poorly written script.
Also highly recommended: Adventures in the Screen Trade
and Which Lie Did I Tell?.
In terms of "how to be a working actor" or "making it in
New York or LA" -type books, there are titles too numerous to
mention. I like the any of the ones written by K Callan. A bonus:
for writers, check out her The Script is Finished, Now What
Do I Do?; for directors, check out her Directing your Directing
Career. I love 'em both.
What's up in the world of non-profit theatre. They sometimes
publish full-length plays here-- it's where I first read Angels
in America and Three Days of Rain. It's part of TCG (Theatre
Communications Group) in New York.
A weekly trade newspaper, out of New York. (And, of course,
Backstage West for those of you in LA) Lists auditions, among
other things. See their blurb in the INTERNET section.
The Ross Reports
An industry phone book, of sorts. This small publication for
actors lists agents, managers, studios, casting directors, with
an information key to let you know whether or not they're interested
in what you got. They focus on LA and New York, but they sometimes
list regional work as well. Call to order: (800) 745 8922 (they're
part of backstage.com on the internet)
Although you may do your book-buying on the web, I strongly
urge you to spend some time in one of these stores. They all
ship promptly if you call with a credit card for a small additional
fee. Also, most of these stores have websites, although a phone
call and a credit card is still the quickest way to go.
The Drama Bookstore
212 944 0595 - 250 W. 40th. The place to go when in NYC, and
now open seven days. And they've got a website...
The Strand Bookstore
Broadway @ 10th St.
No, it's not an arts bookstore, per se, but it's just so huge and has lots of hard-to-find, out of print books. Always work a visit.
617 745 0805 - 1445 Hancock St., Quincy www.bakersplays.com
The best source for plays and acting books in the Boston area
(the city's version of the Drama book Store), a knowledgable
and helpful staff, but only open 9 - 5 M-F, Saturday 11AM -
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