by Steven Pressfield
Author: War of Art, Turning Pro…
One thing that’s always amazed me about acting is how good non-actors can be. Think about Tatum O’Neal at nine years old in Paper Moon, or Quevenzhane Wallis at six in Beasts of the Southern Wild.
Most remarkable of all, possibly, is the performance given by Barkhad Abdi (“I am the captain now”), going toe-to-toe with Tom Hanks in Captain Phillips.
How did these un-Method-ized, non-Actors Studio actors do it?
I had no idea until I read The Real Life Actor by Jeff Seymour.
I’ve known Jeff for twenty years and he’s been acting and teaching acting every day the whole time. His method (forgive the term) is a total demystification of the process.
When Jeff was running his own theater/acting school, he had to keep the bills paid by teaching actors to act and then getting butts in the seats on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night. In other words, he had to survive in the real world.
The experience taught him the no-frills, no-nonsense, get-up-and-do-it approach that he elucidates so eloquently in this book.
Can you imagine? Can you daydream? “Can you lie?” Jeff asks.
“When you were ten, could you convince your mother that that baseball that just came sailing through the living room window belonged to Tommy next door and not to you? Then you can act.”
The Real Life Actor is about tapping into the natural storytelling instincts that all of us were born with. It’s about “not acting.” It’s about, as Spencer Tracy once said: “behaving for the camera.”
If you’re an actor, this book will restore your sanity