BWW Book Reviews: Wallace's 'Bright Light' & Foster's 'Awakening the Actor Within' & More!
The following self-help books by actors and coaches inspire confidence, by assisting one with acting technique or in better handling the issues/obstacles of every day living. They all have the following in common: creativity, organization and common sense.
Actress Dee Wallace's (born Deanna Lee Bowers) third and perhaps most intriguing book (co-written with John Nelson) in which she relates her acting technique to the therapeutic process she uses with clients is titled Bright Light, Spiritual Lessons from a Life in Acting. Bright Light was the nickname her dad gave her, and the spiritual is not of a religious nature but refers to the innate, higher energy/power that is present inside of all of us but not always easy to tap into.
Wallace divides the book into 12 chapters each one reflecting a step in the therapeutic process, one that she believes you can use to remedy the static quality your life. They are: Intention, Art of Beingness, High-Energy Zone, Judgment Day - the Charles Conrad Studio taught her never to intellectualize or judge, Instinctive Response, Heart Light - remember E.T.'s spirit? He always kept an open heart, Sending Heart Energy, Immaculate Reception, Zero Point - do nothing but stay in the moment, Surrender, Just Know and I Am. Sound easy? Well, it's not! It's a complex process, but with willingness and drive, one can turn one's life around and make anything work. It worked for Wallace and thousands of her students. As an actor, she is a seeker of truth and believes totally in Divine Love and Creative Consciousness, both of which are within every single human being.
I love Dee Wallace and her loving words: "We are born with our light. The world challenges that light. Either we keep it shining or we don't." Yes, there are lots of anecdotes about Spielberg and Blake Edwards, Dudley Moore and those she worked with in the movie business in this book, but the true joy of the reading is in the life lessons learned.
For more information, visit www.iamdeewallace.com.
Actor C. Stephen Foster has worked extensively in Hollywood for the past 10 years on stage andon film in mostly original work that he has created for himself. He now relates his personal experience and knowledge about acting to help you reach a better understanding of your own talent and what to do with it in Awakening the Actor Within.
I have known Foster for many of these 10 years, and greatly admire his tenacity and positive spirit. Like Dee Wallace, he has a light within that is always shining brightly.
His workbook is divided into twelve sections, each one devoted to a week's study and practice. The practice exercises or tasks may involve speech, performance, reading, making lists, auditioning, even going shopping for your character. They are all active, not passive steps. The book is rather like a journey, beginning with Acting Is Healing and ending with Acting Is Interacting, not simply reacting or listening, as many like to tell you. It's far more involved than that. Foster advises each student to keep a notebook of his (her) progress, insists that you chart your progress in each lesson and at the beginning gives you a written contract to sign. I loved this element, as an acting student must take the work seriously and know when he (she) is on or off track. It's a completely private, but urgent issue in the actor's preparation.
What won me over about Foster's plan from the start is his set of rules. He believes, like me, that rules are meant to be broken. Therefore: