Acting and How to Survive It by Peter Feeney
Acting and How to Survive It is an invaluable guide for all actors – whether aspiring or experienced. It has specific, helpful content for anyone in the acting profession. However, I am not an actor, so I’ve read and reviewed this book as a writer. I am delighted to discover there are many parts of this book that will be immensely helpful for writers also.
There is a lot of information about the creation of characters, which is helpful for writers as well as actors. Peter discusses everything from physical characteristics to social aspects and their psychology. He asks us to imagine their jobs, how they express their feelings and their natural rhythm.
I also found the section on sub-text interesting and loved the idea of ‘interviewing your character.’ There is also a section on script analysis that would be helpful to use as a checklist for many creative writing projects. The chapter where a variety of well-known actors share how they prepared for their roles is also a highlight of the book. And the section of the book dealing with rethinking failure is relatable to the writing life as well as the acting life.
I’ve come away with even more respect for what actors do in their profession and the way they go about bringing a script to life. This is a one-stop-shop for everything an actor needs to know about acting, as well as not just surviving but thriving. I would think every actor will want to get a copy, as it has so much practical know-how, taking you through all the nuts and bolts of everything you need to know about the acting profession. But I also feel this is an extremely useful book for writers of film, theatre and TV scripts, and also novelists looking to further develop their characters.
Acting and How to Survive It is a generous and impressive read, well-written, entertaining and packed with invaluable information.
Reviewer: Karen McMillan
Tinder Box Press