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ACTing Now: A New Approach to the Old Techniques of Acting

ACTing Now by Norman B. Schwartz is an enlightening book that provides guidance that will help actors prepare for the demands of the contemporary acting world. The content of this book provides advice on topics beyond acting and includes areas such as commercials, film, and even television. The techniques highlighted in this book are not mere postulations and conjectures as Norman Schwartz has experience as an actor, director, film editor, and teacher of creative writing and he brings that experience to bear in this informative book and shares key principles that will help budding actors get and keep an acting job.

The chapters of this book are grouped into three parts – Acting Then, Acting Now, and Acting Next. This organization is essential as it helps guide the reader, and future actor, on what acting used to be, what it is today, and what it will be in the future. Beyond the keen insights, I enjoyed the historical evolution shared here.

In Acting Then, Schwartz covers some of the techniques that theater actors used as far back as the 1920s such as the Strasberg method which leaned on some of Stanislavski’s writings. Stanislavski is one of the first to offer formal training in theater acting. When the first generation who studied at the American Laboratory Theatre began their study of acting, they also based their variations on the Stanislavski system.

Thus, the system evolved to the present form where there is little accommodation for improvisation to performing monologue exercises, being mindful of camera angles and self-taping. Schwartz covers all these old techniques and suggests new ones that embrace the old ones but also better prepares the actor for the new reality of modern acting with lots of multimedia coverage.

One of the outstanding qualities of this book is that it is as expository as it is suggestive. It focuses on the history that has driven acting to where it is today. For instance, Stella Adler’s disagreement with Strasberg’s methods and teaching of tapping into emotions from one’s personal life as opposed to one’s imagination helps one glean some lessons on how best to trigger an emotional response while on stage.

ACTing Now is a must read book for any aspiring actor as it contains actionable advice that can help their career. This is an illuminating book that will also appeal to performing art students who are interested in the evolution of acting and the industry.

Pages: 163 | ASIN: B0BFPP1N2S

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Obadiah Hunter Art 

Obadiah Hunter Art by Obadiah Hunter is a heartfelt and humorous recount of his life as an artist and a globe trotter. It begins in New England, where Obadiah spent his teenage years, recounting the moment he decided he wanted to paint for the rest of his life. Traveling fifty countries, from the ‘90s to the ‘10s, Obadiah carries his few belongings, his paints, and a vision that inspires kindness and curiosity in the people he meets. He dwells on the struggles, such as the time he slept in a capsized boat, and the highlights, like meeting his wife. He even injects little bits of humor, like the time a gang of kids ambushed him with water guns. Mr. Hunter’s book was a relaxing and heartwarming read.

I found myself smiling at the bits and pieces of ordinary life that Obadiah Hunter injected into his story. He writes conversationally, taking readers on the journey with him, always making sure to return to those moments that made the greatest impact on him. I found myself getting lost at times, realizing that the story wasn’t necessarily told in chronological order. At times the memories could be prosaic—rundown showers and the meal he had at a bar, but these are grounding features that allow the reader to connect with the author and understand that this is not all about grandiose adventures; sometimes the beauty is in the humdrum of life. I stuck around for the ride, seeing the world through his eyes and imagining these exotic countries I haven’t had the privilege of seeing yet.

My favorite painting was his Luang Praband Waterfall from Laos. His landscape scenes are exquisite. Particularly, I found myself enthralled with the Laos and Sonoma landscapes later in the book. There’s a scene for everyone in this book. Whether you read memoirs, art books, or want a conversation starter for your living room, The Stories and Plein Air Paintings of a Globe-Trotting Traveler is an excellent art memoir.

Pages: 126 | ASIN: B0B8JX7YDY

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My Mission In Life Has Been To Help

Jocelyn Jones Author Interview

Artist provides readers with a step by step guide that will help them awaken their higher self. Why was this an important book for you to write?

I’ve been a teacher and a creative consultant for some 30 years. My mission in life has been to help. I feel like we’re at a precarious time in history. We’re exhausted by the pandemic, terrified by our political landscape, overwhelmed by global warming and despondent at man’s inhumanity to man. It’s no wonder we’re overwhelmed by a 24/7 deluge of epically bad news delivered by a media hell bent on keeping us afraid. When people are scared, they are easily manipulated.

All this noise keeps us from remembering to practice basic human values. It’s as if we’ve forgotten the importance of courtesy, kindness, honesty, and doing the right thing.

I wanted to write a book that shared not only my own experiences and lessons, but a book that offered some simple techniques to help people slow down, still themselves, and get in touch with their higher consciousness. I want to help folks discover their purpose for being here, take better care of their lives, and experience the joy of living a life of their own creation.

I wanted to share the tools and guidance I give to artists that can help anyone summon inspiration at will.

I appreciated all the personal experiences you shared in this book. What is one potent piece of advice someone gave you when you were younger and how did that help shape your growth?

As a troubled teen, my father asked me (with genuine interest) “Jocie, if you could have anything in the world, barring all obstacles, what would that be?”

To answer – I had to present the question to myself. This seemingly simple task was life changing. It made me realize; not only was it possible to pose an internal question, but I found myself waiting for an answer. An answer that came slowly – not from the head but the heart.

I have used this questioning process in various ways throughout my life and my art. Asking a question and then patiently waiting for an answer that makes my heart beat a little faster. This simple practice will empower you with the capacity to summon inspiration at will.

What were some key ideas that were important for you to share in this book?

I believe that there is an artist in everyone and that consciously creating our own life is not only our responsibility but our most essential work of art.

I believe the application of simple daily practices can help us live in the present moment and connect to our best self. I believe we are the result of what we practice.

Lastly, I want the reader to understand that posing questions to our most intimate self about what we want, how we’re doing, or what we might like to change in our life, is an essential component to a life well lived.

What is one thing you hope readers take away from your book?

There is an art to living, which begins with the capacity to still yourself and listen to the counsel of your own heart.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website

Artist: Awakening the Spirit Within

Artist: Awakening The Spirit Within is a life-changing book by acting teacher and writer Jocelyn Jones. The book covers many different topics within the few key ones that revolve around us as humans, art and how we view it, and the freedom and spiritual uplifting that comes with it as well as the law of attraction.

Jones is an acting teacher who comes from a family of artists with her father being Broadway actor Henry Jones, her mother being a photographer, and her stepfather a writer. She has taught many different people throughout her life from world-renowned actors to people who have never set foot on stage before coming to her classes. The book is written from her informed point of view and includes life lessons that she has learned as well as many different techniques, exercises, and meditations that she uses in her classes that are helpful for everyone, not just artists and actors.

In this enlightening book the author talks about goals, spirit, knowing that we know, happiness, and our vibration and connects that with her own life and different tales of Hollywood in a beautiful way. The author teaches readers that we first and foremost need to find peace within ourselves and know that we are one with the spirit to go on and live a life on a higher vibrational frequency.

Since the book is quite literally an homage to the muses, myths, and anything and everything spiritual and creative Jones’ simple yet elegant style of writing compliments the topics she covers perfectly. Reading this book is a lovely experience as it was a pleasure reading something written with so much love and passion. The way she writes about art and artists is touching, and will resonate with anyone who has ever been moved by art. The writing is easy to follow and the author’s passion and knowledge is evident throughout the book.

In the book, Jones mentions that you may find this book or it may find you because it needs to find you. So true. I found myself reflecting on what I read for hours after I put the book down. Being an actor myself, this book resonated with me on many different levels and opened my eyes to many things connected to my craft. I recommend this book to actors, artists, musicians, art lovers, and anyone who wants to feel free, happy, and more at peace with themselves.

Pages: 267 | ASIN: B0B2VDH84H

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Maverick, by Fernando Rover Jr., presents its purpose upfront in a crisp, cohesive, and certain manner—a moment of pre-contextual deliberation before readers are asked to take the plunge into this elaborate body of work.

Plain, generic titles served alongside poems constructed with intensity and intricacy serve as self-portraits of the complex human crushed beneath the burden of their role in corrupt society—the consequence of what occurs when a person is made to be seen as a laborer first and a human second.

The theoretical backdrop of this book, use of monochrome and modern design, and ability to blatantly state its arrival, presence, and pursuit is among the numerous elements that make Maverick worth reading. The specifics of its contents are powerful and thought-provoking. The stanzas and line breaks are phenomenal tools for allowing the breath of a poem to speak for itself.

Maverick isn’t a text of trickery, nor one of intellectual flexing and self-gratification. It isn’t written or compiled to impress the sea of nameless, faceless coffeeshop hipsters contemporary artists are pressured to indulge. Rather, it’s monochrome. It’s black, and it’s white. It’s text, and it’s art. It’s graphic design. It’s multimedia. Most of all, it is a calling out of capitalism, as well as all the ways in which we, as humans, are not only forced to survive under it but have actually become so accustomed to its vile lore that we have forgotten our own.

Maverick is an extraordinary work of poetry and art that gives the reader a chance to look into themselves and experience the message the author is presenting. In capitalistic fabrication, we lose our own authenticity — and that, in its most genuine essence, is what Maverick exists to call out and rebel against. I highly recommend this stimulating read for those who are looking for a creative outlet.

Pages: 100 | ISBN : 0578378868

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Rocky Mountains – A Self-Portrait

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It isn’t often that we get to sneak a peek into the hows and whys of the jobs and hobbies around us. Assumptions are easy to make, and it takes very little to make a guess as to what causes a person to become drawn to a career. Photography is one of those interests. There is much more to taking photographs than most of us will ever realize. This endeavor requires a great deal more than just a love of being behind the camera.

Photographer and author, Kent Gunnufson, shares his lifelong love and dedication to creating artwork with the camera in his autobiographical book, Rocky Mountains: A Self-Portrait. Gunnufson’s book is filled with the most amazing landscape images from his time spent in the Rockies. In addition, he has included photos of people and objects that seem to defy all logic in their beauty. The purpose of the author’s work is to share the story behind his career and his love of photography and his subjects, but the stunning imagery he has captured will be, without a doubt, what fascinates readers from cover to cover.

Gunnufson’s story is compelling and is a must-read for those interested in photography. There is a story behind each of the images he has taken, and they are all fascinating. He not only relays to readers how he found each subject, but he explains in detail the intricacies of the composition of each photo. This is something I found especially interesting as I read. Taking photographs seems, at first glance, like a simple task. Gunnufson, however, explains in language all readers will understand exactly how much thought and preparation goes into each one of them.

I have always been drawn to black and white photography whether it be nature or portraits. Gunnufson provides wonderful insight into the history of black and white photography and how it compares with color imagery. It really is a treat to see this side of photography and hear directly from the artist himself about the ins and outs of the process.

Rocky Mountains: A Self-Portrait is an astonishing look at the life of one photographer. Photographers and students of the art will appreciate the advice, insight, and history provided by the author. I cannot say enough about the beautiful images Gunnufson has created. There is a softness to his work that readers will find absolutely riveting. I highly recommend Gunnufson’s book for both his enchanting images and the heart he has poured into his personal narrative.

ISBN: 978-0-9605366-4-1

Deep In The Dark With The Art

Matteo Urella’s Deep In The Dark With The Art is a non-fiction, collaborative work filled with the voices of various creatives who have been inspired by 90s hip-hop group, the Wu-Tang Clan. This work is a celebration of urban music and culture, and the impact that this particular Staten Island-based group has had on generations of artists and hip-hop enthusiasts. With explanations behind iconic pieces of album art coupled with anecdotal stories, this text evokes a heady nostalgia for the rap scene as it was when the Wu-Tang Clan first broke into the mainstream.

Packed with dynamic illustrations and interesting trivia, Deep In The Dark With The Art will likely be a hit with hip-hop and art fans alike. From painstakingly hand-drawn images to digital pieces that were cutting edge at the time, this book explores the potent influence that Wu-Tang’s music had on those enlisted to create their album art. Even for those previously ambivalent towards or unaware of the group, the devotion pouring out of this book towards the Wu-Tang Clan is infectious.

I felt that, at times, the glimpses into the artistic process could be slightly more in-depth. I found this book to be most entertaining when read in individual sections, rather than in long sittings because, while unique and insightful, each segment is not necessarily connected to the one proceeding it. While the book is not written with a narrative structure, it is an enjoyable tabletop read because it is visually and linguistically striking.

Deep In The Dark With The Art makes one thing clear; the Wu-Tang mythos still carries an undeniable power and ability to inspire lifelong loyalty in its fans.

Pages: 238 | ISBN: 1735206903

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A Messenger Of New Ideas

Marin Darmonkow Author Interview

Art is a wordless picture book that tells the story of a circus performer through a series of vivid and evocative line drawings. Why was this an important book for you to publish?

As you know, sometimes questions are more complicated than the answers. One of the reasons, and perhaps the main one, is very personal and it will remain personal. The second reason is that I wanted to create a publication where the artist is elevated to the stars as a messenger of new ideas and the audience of royalty is turned into mere spectators.

Each art piece is seemingly simple but culminates into pieces that are very expressive. Which part piece was your favorite?

My favourite piece is the impossible act of tightrope walking where gravity is dismissed. I also like the spread with the Royal audience – it contains 100-150 individuals and believe it or not I spent many hours crafting the facial features of each of these characters, their clothes, jewelry, crowns, and even personalized chairs.

What do you hope is one thing readers take away from this story?

Impossible things exist because no one has ever tried to make them possible. You can find the answer on the cover of Art’s folder that he left on the stage: Do what you dream.

When and where will this book be available?

I plan to launch the e-book version in August and the book trailer is currently on YouTube and Goodreads. The title will be available on all major online book retailers – Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Google Plus, Payhip, Magicblox, and others. Unfortunately, given the essentially wordless nature of the title, an audio version won’t be produced. I am currently working on the hardcover edition. My goal is to make the publication as unique as possible – it will require special paper and ink as it must be a real piece of art to deserve its title: ART.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Art is autistic and artistic. Art has just one friend – his teddy bear. Art does not speak but he makes art. Art that dismisses gravity.

The publication crowns the artist and turns royalty into a mere audience. The sophisticated illustrations inspire readers to express their emotions, verbalize their feelings and create their own story.

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