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Acting in Film: An Actor's Take on Movie Making

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A master actor who's appeared in an enormous number of films, starring with everyone from Nicholson to Kermit the Frog, Michael Caine is uniquely qualified to provide his view of making movies. This new revised and expanded edition features great photos throughout, with chapters on: Preparation, In Front of the Camera - Before You Shoot, The Take, Characters, Directors, On A master actor who's appeared in an enormous number of films, starring with everyone from Nicholson to Kermit the Frog, Michael Caine is uniquely qualified to provide his view of making movies. This new revised and expanded edition features great photos throughout, with chapters on: Preparation, In Front of the Camera - Before You Shoot, The Take, Characters, Directors, On Being a Star, and much more. "Remarkable material ... A treasure ... I'm not going to be looking at performances quite the same way ... FASCINATING!" - Gene Siskel


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A master actor who's appeared in an enormous number of films, starring with everyone from Nicholson to Kermit the Frog, Michael Caine is uniquely qualified to provide his view of making movies. This new revised and expanded edition features great photos throughout, with chapters on: Preparation, In Front of the Camera - Before You Shoot, The Take, Characters, Directors, On A master actor who's appeared in an enormous number of films, starring with everyone from Nicholson to Kermit the Frog, Michael Caine is uniquely qualified to provide his view of making movies. This new revised and expanded edition features great photos throughout, with chapters on: Preparation, In Front of the Camera - Before You Shoot, The Take, Characters, Directors, On Being a Star, and much more. "Remarkable material ... A treasure ... I'm not going to be looking at performances quite the same way ... FASCINATING!" - Gene Siskel

30 review for Acting in Film: An Actor's Take on Movie Making

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kat

    I bought this book a few years ago when I was cast in my first film role, to prepare me for working on set, to understand how movie making works and what my role would be, what working with other actors and film crew would be like. I burst with excitement when I got the role and was sweaty and nervous; convinced I was going to blow it - and this book helped me through it. I made it out on the other side in one piece and had a lot of fun getting there. It's a very handy practical guide to I bought this book a few years ago when I was cast in my first film role, to prepare me for working on set, to understand how movie making works and what my role would be, what working with other actors and film crew would be like. I burst with excitement when I got the role and was sweaty and nervous; convinced I was going to blow it - and this book helped me through it. I made it out on the other side in one piece and had a lot of fun getting there. It's a very handy practical guide to day-to-day-life for anyone in the film industry, and Michael Caine narrates us beautifully through his own experiences in the industry. It is probably one of the best books on acting I ever bought and read.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Alexandria Bianca

    There were some wonderful insights to film acting. I felt like this book was a little too broad but I will definitely take some of his advice. Great stuff! :)

  3. 5 out of 5

    Feliks

    I am one of the many readers of this book who will come out in favor of it. Sure, there's some dross, some purely autobiographical 'freewheeling'. Caine always loves to talk about his rough-and-tumble cockney upbringing; I guess I can't blame him. It is a slim book and it is filled almost-every-other-page with pictures of his greatest roles. But remember the book is assembled from a series of workshop lectures. So naturally there is bound to be a mixture of chatty personal anecdotes and old I am one of the many readers of this book who will come out in favor of it. Sure, there's some dross, some purely autobiographical 'freewheeling'. Caine always loves to talk about his rough-and-tumble cockney upbringing; I guess I can't blame him. It is a slim book and it is filled almost-every-other-page with pictures of his greatest roles. But remember the book is assembled from a series of workshop lectures. So naturally there is bound to be a mixture of chatty personal anecdotes and old Hollywood rubrics hashed together --yet the proportion of all this is not greater in comparison to a very useful litany of concrete, technical, 'insider tips' for actors. It is worth keeping on one's shelf, and I intend to do just that. I found some surprising info here, little-known rules-of-thumb for entertainers I wouldn't have been able to guess at. Fun book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Alisha

    Notes for me: This was a re-read for me. My Chaucer bookstore bookmark was about 3/4 of the way through. It makes sense that this was transcribed and compiled from a two day acting class that Caine gave. It is short and a very fast read. It is a quick dirty intro to acting on film, right down to marks and continuity. I had already learned most of his lessons in terms of film sets but it was a nice refresher and reminder especially about not getting in people's way. I tend to be so goofy happy to Notes for me: This was a re-read for me. My Chaucer bookstore bookmark was about 3/4 of the way through. It makes sense that this was transcribed and compiled from a two day acting class that Caine gave. It is short and a very fast read. It is a quick dirty intro to acting on film, right down to marks and continuity. I had already learned most of his lessons in terms of film sets but it was a nice refresher and reminder especially about not getting in people's way. I tend to be so goofy happy to be on set that I tend to hang out too much. Good to remember that as a professional part of my job is not being in the way. Of course Caine's jobs are regularly a much bigger budget than mine... I liked the simplicity of his approach to acting. Tell the truth. Do less. The camera has your back.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mark Blane

    Concise and clear writing, this is a relatively short read expounding on Michael Caine's experiences with acting on film v. theater, working with other actors, camera angles/lighting, professional on and off the set, working with different type of directors, being a star, and developing characters on film. It was very insightful and offers glimmers of what the real work of a film worker looks like.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jordan Ferreira

    A practical approach to film acting by one of the finest film actors of our time.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Paul Lyons

    Despite the fact the book is overpriced, too short, too vague, and littered with more photographs than copy, there is some value in Michael Caine's "Acting In Film: An Actor's Take On Movie Making." I did very much enjoy what Caine had to say, even when I did not understand what he was talking about. Film acting is indeed different from theater acting, as Michael Caine is quick to point out. There is a lot of technique involved in order to effectively portray a role on camera. On stage, a Despite the fact the book is overpriced, too short, too vague, and littered with more photographs than copy, there is some value in Michael Caine's "Acting In Film: An Actor's Take On Movie Making." I did very much enjoy what Caine had to say, even when I did not understand what he was talking about. Film acting is indeed different from theater acting, as Michael Caine is quick to point out. There is a lot of technique involved in order to effectively portray a role on camera. On stage, a thespian can be broad, and loud, and open. On camera, the actor must condense one's body and voice down to specific gestures and movements...as the lens intensifies everything. Blinking on camera is not recommended for those who wish to portray strength. A keen awareness of picture continuity is essential in insuring an actor's valuable time on screen, in addition to increasing a thespian's chances of being hired again. All this plus an awareness of breath, relaxation, and human psychology will help turn a stumbling film and television actor in a great one. The author also goes into the importance of professionalism and behavior on and off set with members of the cast and crew, as well as the Do's and Don'ts of how to deal with troublesome actors and directors, as well as dangerous stunts. Again, "Acting In Film: An Actor's Take On Movie Making" felt more like an extended pamphlet rather than an actual book, yet Michael Caine's advice to the actor, however brief it may be, holds enough merit to make the tome not a complete waste of time.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    Great advice on acting and life... I read this in one sitting. It's mostly pictures and the type is large. In all it's a quick read with some interesting ideas especially for people who want to be actors.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Yosef Beyene

    If you're interested in being an actor for film, this is essential reading.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jon Schiefer

    It's hard to imagine a stage in an actor's career when this wouldn't be useful. Michael Caine is brilliant. How often does an actor of his caliber talk about how it's done? Yeah, I liked it.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Karmilia Andrade

    Such a short but straight-to-the-point, no BS read. Rather than try explaining everything with endless details, Michael Caine just gives it to the reader plain and simple, which is the reason why i truly appreciate this book. Caine uses humor and personal experiences from the start to the height of his career to impart knowledge about the do’s and dont’s of the acting business. You’re left thinking, “Whoa! I never thought of that! He’s right!” as you flip through the pages. I also have to add Such a short but straight-to-the-point, no BS read. Rather than try explaining everything with endless details, Michael Caine just gives it to the reader plain and simple, which is the reason why i truly appreciate this book. Caine uses humor and personal experiences from the start to the height of his career to impart knowledge about the do’s and dont’s of the acting business. You’re left thinking, “Whoa! I never thought of that! He’s right!” as you flip through the pages. I also have to add that one of the main treats i took from reading this short gem was how Caine, as big a movie actor as he is, imparts his knowledge with such warmth. I felt like I was reading a letter from a friend who truly wants me to succeed in the industry. Please, if you are thinking about starting an acting career or are simply looking for a book to expand your knowledge about the business, then DO consider adding this one to your list. As mentioned, it’s such a short and simple but terrific read

  12. 5 out of 5

    Trevor Mazzaglia

    I was hoping for more insight on techniques in front of the camera - similar to Michael Caine's great acting masterclass from 1987 (I believe), which can be found on YouTube. Instead, I found most of the book explaining how to professionally conduct yourself on a film set and less talking about acting specifically. I think if you can find this book for cheap, it's worth a read. Definitely, check out his masterclass on YouTube. Most of the acting topics that are covered in the book are explained I was hoping for more insight on techniques in front of the camera - similar to Michael Caine's great acting masterclass from 1987 (I believe), which can be found on YouTube. Instead, I found most of the book explaining how to professionally conduct yourself on a film set and less talking about acting specifically. I think if you can find this book for cheap, it's worth a read. Definitely, check out his masterclass on YouTube. Most of the acting topics that are covered in the book are explained in more detail in the masterclass.

  13. 5 out of 5

    David Ross

    Quick and easy to read but also full of really great advice to aspiring actors. Coming from the writer/director point of view, I still found it fascinating and a great deal of the information applicable to my job of getting the best out of my talent. He speaks completely without pretension but with the air and authority of a screen legend. wonderfully conversational with many stories passed on to him by his predecessors.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Charles Detheridge IV

    Such a fun, insightful and amusing read. So many things kept in the dark brought to light I never thought about in film acting and Caine’s stories, analogies, etc., educate in an enchanting, clear-cut way. This is definitely invaluable material for anyone who wants to go into film (and in some ways theatre) from all aspects or anyone who’s every wanted a detailed idea of what a makes a film actor a professional.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Salli

    This was a great read- even if you are not into learning about the acting process. I found it insightful and funny and really useful and delivered in the way only Michael Caine can. I will definitely try and incorporate some of his tips in to my acting classes.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Edgar

    Michael Caine does a good job of taking you on a journey of advice for acting in films. He shares his advice based on his experiences covering what to do before and during the take as well as actor etiquette on set.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sheldon Watkinson

    I found this book gets the reader to understand more than the acting itself but a better understanding of everything going on around the set with the crew to better prepare oneself with each scene. Very straightforward advice from an accomplished actor.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Alexandra Anthony

    An actor’s must read It isn’t so much about any one technique, but there’s so many good tips and stories in here. Quick read, but I wish it was longer! !

  19. 5 out of 5

    Shaun Mazerall

    Short and basic.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Xander

    fantastic read, tips and tricks for all aspiring actors woven into his experiences in the past. must read for the aspiring professional actor

  21. 4 out of 5

    Dee Gass

    Very generous look into developing acting skills.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    A short book with practical tips about working in the film industry. Worth the read if you want to work in the film industry in some way.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    This was a shorter book than I expected. Nevertheless, it has a great deal of valuable advice, especially for actors working in the movies. I don't anticipate doing this myself in the near future, but I do a bit of acting on stage (as an amateur) and some of what Caine says here is applicable to that. I like his basic down to earth approach, no frills, just good solid hard work. It's his professionalism that shines through in this book. Don't think of being an actor (a professional one, anyway) This was a shorter book than I expected. Nevertheless, it has a great deal of valuable advice, especially for actors working in the movies. I don't anticipate doing this myself in the near future, but I do a bit of acting on stage (as an amateur) and some of what Caine says here is applicable to that. I like his basic down to earth approach, no frills, just good solid hard work. It's his professionalism that shines through in this book. Don't think of being an actor (a professional one, anyway) if you're not prepared to give your all to the time you're being paid to work. He's helpful with learning lines, and with working on a character; while he's not a method actor, his 'method' is sound and useful. He's very helpful in making the distinction between stage work and screen work. There are still very good stage actors who get caught out when they first work in a movie. The book started life as transcripts from a masterclass Caine did, which explains it's rather bitsy style. However, it's a good little book for actors, and I'm certainly glad to have come across it.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Julia's

    Loved it!! I read a lot of acting books but not to many are as good as this one. Most acting books have annoying step by step instructions but they don't give any examples!!! In this book he backs every piece of advice with a story. It's both good for acting and it's nice and entertaining! It has stories when he worked with Sylvester Stallone, when he auditioned for his first motion picture, etc. He tells us everything!!!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Mahaakshay Chakraborty

    When you are reading a book on acting by air Michael Caine you know it's going to be amazing. But this book was beyond amazing. It gives you amazing insights upon acting and simple guidelines that can be learnt and understood by everyone. This book is for every budding actor and I recommend it to all who love the acting business.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    I re-read this book after about 10 years after having a conversation with a colleague about how it's a pretty good guide for people who are media spokespeople. It's a quick read -- I read it start to finish while in-flight on a business trip. It was just as good as I remembered. Of course, not all of it is applicable to work, but I love the insights about the complexity of the movie business.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    A very entertaining, short, helpful, addictive read. I bought this on a whim, and I'm pretty sure it's one of the few (if not the only) successful blind book purchase(s) I've made (Da Vinci Code, anyone? blegh). I read it straight through from start to finish, and will probably reference back to it in the future.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Liz Chapman

    Lots of good advice and info here. I think Michael Caine is as neurotic as he is passionate about the craft. Maybe even more than I am. There's a nice balance here between practical advice for actors interested in making movies, and good acting tips in general. I'd recommend this to anyone interested in acting.

  29. 4 out of 5

    John

    A transcript of a lecture Michael Caine gave, it's an excellent collection of almost-disjointed thoughts on one of the most successful actors of the last few decades. His unique path gives him unique insight - not only into acting - but into interacting with people up and down the economic food chain.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Garrett Cash

    What a treasure. Anyone who is a fan of film and especially a movie buff has to read this. It opens your eyes to what goes on in acting, and it has a wonderfully copious amount of anecdotes about the greatest directors, actors, and producers that is highly valuable to any students of the medium. It only took me about a half hour to read, and its impact will reverberate with me for much longer.

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