Why Read Eric Morris’ Book ‘No Acting Please’

If It Works, Use It

‘No Acting Please’ is one of the best acting books. In the forward of the book, Jack Nicholson wrote, “The Method is ‘If it works, use it.’” For those of you who don’t know, Eric Morris is a revered acting instructor based in Los Angeles, California. His approach is to take realism, which was originally brought to the forefront in acting by Constantin Stanislavski in the early 20th century and create acting exercises to get actors from point A to point B. Point B being realism as seen in good performances, or what most consider a good performance. Eric Morris calls it BEING.

Eric Morris and His Books

This book is one of 7 books he’s written on the subject of acting. This is indefinably one of the best acting books out there. It’s divided into four different sections titled Being, Getting Ready to Get Ready, Common Sensory Acting, and Preparation. It’s written in a very user-friendly format with a lot of opportunities to learn what Eric Morris has learned in the time he has been studying and practicing acting.

BEING and not BEING

There is a distinction between BEING and not BEING made in this book. Morris starts his book by saying this, “No matter what the material, the actor’s fundamental question is: ‘What is the reality and how can I make it real to me?’” When an actor is BEING, he’s bringing a real performance to the scene. It’s when they decide to operate on a natural level where all the human emotions, mannerisms, intents and thoughts are as real as you would see if that character were standing before you under those same circumstances of the story. That’s the number one reason you should read this book. It’s one of the best acting books and it gives readers the opportunity to explore this principle more fully. That is what all acting classes, self-help books, and so-called professional ‘experience’ are aimed to do.

What Jack Nicholson Said

To go back quickly to what Jack Nicholson said when he said, “The Method is ‘If it works, use it.’” I have never been in an acting class or on a film set where I didn’t see my performance had so much to do with my preparation before. The most important thing I have seen – and Jack Nicholson can attest to this – is don’t limit yourself, or your acting, to things others have told you or showed you. Throw everything and the kitchen sink at your performance. Know your lines inside and out. Read every book and online articles about acting you can get your hands on. Sign up for film acting workshops. Try to get out to every audition you can. Most importantly, if it works, then use it.

Why I Study

I study acting and make films in Austin, Texas. I’ve taken film acting workshops, film acting classes, and improvisation courses at The University of Texas. I can tell you doing it is important. Study is just as important, but if you aren’t out there working you are limiting yourself as an artist, immensely. If you aren’t working, consider taking a workshop or class in acting.

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