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William Esper, one of the most celebrated acting teachers of our time, takes us through his step-by-step approach to the central challenge of advanced acting work: creating and playing a character.
Esper’s first book, The Actor’s Art and Craft, earned praise for describing the basics taught in his famous first-year acting class. The Actor’s Guide to Creating a Character continues the journey. In these pages, co-author Damon DiMarco vividly re-creates Esper’s second-year course, again through the experiences of a fictional class. Esper’s training builds on Sanford Meisner’s legendary exercises, a world-renowned technique that Esper further developed through his long association with Meisner and the decades he has spent training a host of distinguished actors. His approach is flexible enough to apply to any role, helping actors to create characters with truthful and compelling inner lives.
“Bill Esper’s training gave me many precious gifts. . . . He is a master teacher and I use what I learned with him every single time I work. I will be forever grateful.” —Christine Lahti, Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning actor, Academy Award-winning director
“Simple, straightforward, inspiring and invaluable. . . . This book reminds me of how incredibly fortunate I was to have been taught by Bill Esper.” —Timothy Olyphant, Emmy and SAG Award winner
“Reading this book brought me back to Bill’s classroom. His vast experience and joy of the craft resonate on every page. Studying with Bill was an amazing time of discovery.” —Gretchen Mol, Boardwalk Empire
“My time studying with Bill Esper left me feeling like a completely trained actor and a more honest, grounded person. Training and studying with him has informed all the stand-up, acting and writing I do. I am forever grateful.” —Amy Schumer, Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer
“Anyone serious about acting ought to read this excellent book and then run to New York to study with Bill. He is the real deal—insightful, generous, uncompromising, and endlessly inspiring.” —Stephen Adly Guirgis, actor, playwright, artistic co-director of LAByrinth Theater Company
“I read Bill Esper’s first book with total glee because it reminded me of all the guidance he gave me not only as a beginning actor, but as a person hungry to live a full artistic life. His words not only illuminate the Meisner technique brilliantly, they also serve as a beautiful rumination of how to live a creative life. He was and is my teacher and spirit guide. Bill Esper is a national treasure and he has generously shared his wisdom and effervescent soul through these books and I am eternally grateful.” —Patricia Wettig, Thirtysomething, Prison Break, Brothers & Sisters