By Michael Bray
Published by Nick Hern Books

Yet another good title in NHB’s So you want to … series, this book will help fill in gaps for students who think their training is selling them short. It would also be a good basic introduction for any student or actor just embarking on screen actor training.

Michael Bray divides his practical, accessible book into two halves: The Process and The Practice. He sees the former as consisting of three key things – preparation, concentration and relaxation. Advance script studying, for example is absolutely essential because the subtext of the scene and the actions of the character often carry as much meaning as anything which is said. There’s detailed advice about how you keep your skills, especially observation, honed between jobs too and he’s interesting on the question of location where the actor has to do a lot of concentrated imagining in order to convey truth.

The second half includes a run down on how the film industry and the process of making a film works – who does what, where, when and how, from clapperboard to single camera shots and technical skills from when you should release your tears if you’re required to cry on screen, to managing your voice. The final chapter discusses the all-important topic of casting and interviews.

Bray trained at RADA and worked as an actor on stage and screen before moving into writing and directing for TV and film. He has taught screen acting at a number of drama schools, including GSA and ArtsEd and directed hundreds of showreels. In short, he knows what he’s talking about.

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