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The Intent To Live: Achieving Your True Potential As An Actor    by Larry Moss order for
Intent To Live
by Larry Moss
Order:  USA  Can
Bantam, 2005 (2004)
Hardcover, Softcover

Read an Excerpt

* * *   Reviewed by Ayesha Baumgartner

Larry Moss, a teacher to Academy Award winning stars (yes they still go for coaching sessions), reveals valuable acting insights and offers tools for both budding and professional actors, who want to continue to stretch themselves and to deliver amazing performances. Academy Award winner Hilary Swank speaks of Larry Moss as 'a profoundly gifted, articulate teacher.' The Intent To Live: Achieving Your True Potential As An Actor is about living in all your acting roles, whether it be on Stage, TV or Films.

This is an important book for anyone who considers themselves an actor. Valuable tips - on picking a specific intention, bringing out an emotion on demand, creating physical life for your characters, on objective and obstacles, animal exercises, and script analysis exercises - encourage a memorable performance. The book breaks down human behavior into simple, yet revealing insights. As an actor, it guides you to dig deep into a performance of a real human being living on stage or on screen, not merely acting. You will not only know more about the reasons behind your character's intentions, psychology and behavior, but you will learn about yourself in the process.

Revealing tips on differences between television, film and theatre guide your performance to adjust to the different pace of each. Moss also discusses working on big blockbuster films as opposed to smaller ones whose directors may not have the time to spend on actors to evoke the performance needed to tell the story. You will breathe life into your roles, if you work diligently on the valuable tips shared by Larry Moss. Great advice - such as 'don't be a brat. It's not just about you. It's about a group of people trying their best to make a good piece of art' - is scattered through these pages, from an author who has seen first hand what works and does not work in this industry.

I found myself underlining page after page of tips and exercises. Pretty soon the whole book was underlined. Larry Moss breaks down and analyses performances from celebrities such as Kevin Spacey, Hilary Swank (in her Oscar win for Boys Don't Cry), as well as scenes from such well known plays as Cat On A Hot Tin Roof. From Frank Sinatra's interpretation of a role to James Dean's, these pages are filled with gems for the actor. The Intent To Live is a practical guide to script analysis, with hints to bring out real behavior. Whether you are playing a drunk or a human being with an accent, a comedy or tragedy, you are encouraged to play against stereotype and go for 'human specificity.'

Give your character a specific personality 'and unique emotional life' with the help of exercises you are encouraged to apply right away to fine tune your acting skills. From letting go of muscular tension to living moment-to-moment, to invaluable tips on the work ethic, this is a complete book for all who consider themselves actors. Do not step on stage, or walk into an audition room or on set without having first read and applied the exercises and knowledge in this book. Reading it is like being in an intense acting class with gifted actors and an acting coach who knows what he is doing. The end of the book walks you through a scene from an acting class, with experiences shared and insights gained.

This is one of the best all-in-one books, invaluable to the actor of Stage, Film and TV for character analysis, scene breakdown, script analysis, the business of acting, human behavior and living specifically. I recommend it to all actors and teachers of acting. The Intent To Live is a brilliant book - if you dare to read and dare to apply.

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