Fine on Acting: A Vision of the Craft
Havenhurst Books (2009)
Reviewed by Carol Hoyer, PhD, for Reader Views (01/10)
I will have to say that I wish I had this information when my daughter started on her acting career for movies. We read everything we could find, but most of our readings were very general. Author Howard Fine gives readers and potential actors the nitty-gritty in this book. His honesty, experience and tips will make potential actors better in how they audition and how they understand the acting world. He doesn’t say that if you read this book he guarantees you will get the job, but he will help you be a step-above others.
I do believe that the chapter on “Common Mistakes” was one of my favorite. It included topics about natural vs. real; attitude and judging the character. One thing that I found is that each actor/actress views the character they are playing in different ways. Trying to figure out what the director wants is another story. Should you come on strong, weak or neutral? To be a great actor, the author says you have to know yourself. This is something I teach in my Psychology classes all the time. Once you prejudge a situation, you have put yourself out of the running. Many times actors have a tendency to over-analyze their characters. Actors need to have a range from playing the saint to the serial killer says author Fine. In addition, actors get into trouble when they have to play characters that are outside their experience. I remember a role my daughter had for the Discovery Channel; she had to portray a rape victim. Since this was not in her realm of experience, she spent time talking to rape victims and was able to successfully fulfill her role in that movie.
I found that really the author is saying, be true to yourself. Be human and be the best you can. This is a book that everyone should have if they think they want to go into this field. You can take all the lessons you want, and each instructor/mentor is different. But if you want to know the real truth and do your best, “Fine on Acting: A Vision of the Craft” by Howard Fine is the book for you.