Audition by Michael Shurtleff



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  • Audition by Michael Shurtleff

    A friend of mine who's a writer/director/actor recommended this book. He said that by knowing what an actor looks for in roles, a writer can better provide roles that actors want to play. So I picked it up recently as a treat to myself.

    It's a great book. Shurtleff is a casting director for theatre and film and he wrote the book to help actors give the best possible auditions they could. In the book, he describes what he calls the Twelve Guideposts for giving a good performance on a quick reading (the average audition situation) and has lengthy conversations with actors so we can see how the actors choices affect their reading of a scene.

    Of course, it was written 25 years ago, so those conversations come off a little dated (when one of the actors finally gets the point, he says "I dig it" ), but there are some really thought-provoking ideas in there.

    Has anyone else read this book? Has it affected your writing for the better?

  • #2
    started life as an actor so yeah, i've read this. great stuff. writers should learn as much about acting as they can because, let's face it, most actors are idiots. a writer that gives a character a strong objective is already doing the work for the actor. all the other stuff shurtleff talks about (opposites and such) will just help the writer create layers for the characters. a good book to read for writers.


    • #3
      I agree

      That book ("Audition"), although aimed at actors, is better than many books on playwriting or screenwriting for writers.

      Now, I haven't read it for 15 years, so ... that's what I felt at the time, anyway.

      Yes, some good stuff there.

      Jeff Newman


      • #4
        My advice is, don't just read books about acting, take acting classes, particularly if you're a newbie writer.

        I NEVER wanted to be an actor. For one thing, I'm pretty terrible, especially at impro, but I learnt so much that helped my writing by taking acting classes for a couple of years. And I had a lot of fun, made some really good friends, and got a couple of plays produced too (small scale stuff, but again good for the learning curve).

        Believe me, it's worth the effort, even if you're fairly shy about this type of thing, as I am.


        • #5
          le kilt is completely right. all the acting classes and acting that id did over the years i think has helped me a ton.

          le kilt is very smart


          • #6
            Le kilt is brilt, in my humble opinion. One brilliant guy, for those non-Scots speakers.


            • #7
              thanks, guys!

              / balances nervously on his perch, waiting to be hurled down by the inevitable backlash :rolleyes