This is a list of the best acting books out there. Of course, acting books are very subjective. Sometimes you can read one and get very little out of it, whilst someone else can read the same acting book and have their perspective of acting changed forever. The lesson – read them all!
But acting books are boring.
Actors sometimes struggle to summon the motivation to read acting books as they tend not to be the most riveting of reads. However, I would recommend reading as many of these acting books as you can bear as they are all fantastic and very useful.
They each offer differing ideas and approaches to acting; some are practical and some more theoretical. You need to start building up your toolkit as an actor. Most actors create an acting process that draws from many different books and techniques.
If you are able to read a few of these acting books, your approach to acting will change drastically. As you have probably experienced with acting, sometimes one small insight can completely shift the way you act. So dive in.
Best Acting Books
Other Must-Read Acting Books
- Building a Character + Creating a Role + My Life in Art – Konstantin Stanislavski
- Different Every Night – Mike Alfreds
- Truth – Susan Batson
- True and False – David Mamet
- How to Get the Part Without Falling Apart – Margie Haber
- Freeing the Actor – Eric Morris
- Audition – Michael Shurtleff
- Book the F*cking Job! A Guide for Actors + At Left Brain Turn Right – Anthony Meindl
- Fine On Acting – Howard Fine
- The Complete Stanislavski Toolkit – Bella Merlin
- A Dream of Passion – Lee Strasberg
For more specific voice books.
Are Acting Books a Waste of Time?
I understand that acting books are a tough read, but they are essential reading for actors. They are often very intellectual and can be hard to process, but they will give you a solid foundation in acting. The authors of the books listed above are the ones who invented modern acting. Without them, and their books we wouldn’t be where we are today.
The best way to improve as an actor is to get up on the floor: auditioning, rehearsing, being on stage or screen. That being said, you need to have a solid acting foundation so that as you gain more experience you aren’t developing bad habits at the same time.
Where to Start
Just read one book this month.
If like me you hate reading acting technique books then start with one. Buy it and commit to it. It’s going to be hard to finish. so set a date to have the book finished by. Get a notebook and take notes as you go. Don’t expect to learn everything in one read. They are reference books and require a few return visits.