Acting, like any other craft requires dedication, effort and training. So even if you're taking acting classes, or working professionally, reading these books will provide you a tremendous amount of information and help you further nurture your abilities.
“Meisner on Acting” by Stanford Meisner - The Meisner technique is up there with the Method as one of the most practiced technique among actors. An essential read for any actor, ‘Meisner on Acting’ offers unique insights and exercises on how to live and act truthfully in the moment.
“Respect for Acting” by Uta Hagen - Simple, straightforward and practical, Uta Hagen’s method of transference basically revolves around understanding the character's life by comparing it to your own. She does this by introducing a series of questions, such as “Who am I?”, “What do I want?”, “What is my relationship?”, which help the actor define the character's role in detail.
"An Actor Prepares" by Constantin Stanislavsky - Stanilavsky is considered a father of modern, realistic acting and this book, which is a first in a trilogy, is quite possibly the most popular book on acting ever written. In this book, Stanilavksy takes the actor through Stanislavsky's self developed system, now famously known as ‘Method Acting’ which includes a variety of exercises and techniques that encourage imaginative and honest performances by drawing into one’s own autobiographical experiences. This is one of the first books on acting and the one you should start with.
“The Art of Acting” by Stella Adler - Stella Adler is one of the most important teachers of acting, and the only American actor to have studied with Stanilavski himself. This book which is essentially a compilation of all her acting lectures consists of 22 lessons drawn out of various sources documenting Adler’s teaching experience.
“Audition" by Michael Shurtleff - Quite possibly the best book on auditioning, this book discusses the art of auditioning from the perspective of an experienced casting director. An easy and enjoyable read, ‘Audition’ is one of the best books to begin with if you’re just starting your acting career. Michael Shurtleff also proposes a twelve step guide which is an easy and informative way to develop three-dimensional characters as you prepare for your auditions.
If you’re an aspiring actor and haven’t read these books already, go and check them out. Right now!