There are many great books out there for actors. These 5 are just the best I've read.
Michael Caine | Acting in Film
This is the book that inspired the video. This book is actually two books. Half of it is a quasi-biography on Michael Caine and how he got started in the acting business. The other half is advice and lessons on how to be an actor. What I really like about this book was how he approached things from a very practical point of view. There wasn't a lot of talk about finding deep meaning in scripts, but there was a lot of discussion and a lot of examples on how hard work can create a good performance.
Larry Moss | The Intent to Live
In The Intent to Live Larry Moss tries to break down all the different elements of acting technique into lessons that you can use. All the questions that you've heard in your acting class can be found in this book with breakdowns on how to answer them. The thing that makes this book very useful is that he not only tells you about the moment before (for example) he tells you about how different moments before for the same scene can be interpreted into different performances that can completely change the scene and what it means. He's also quite good about trying to find simple choices and the simple decisions.
Michael Shurtleff | Audition
This was the first book I read when I was entering the world of acting. There are things I learned in this book that I still use to this day. It has a lot of script analysis using famous scenes from famous plays and Michael Shurtleff gives you his breakdown on why things were interpreted the way they were. Also because he was a casting director he gives you a lot of advice from the casting director's point of view and it is this advice more than any other part of this book that I still remember every time I'm in an audition.
David Mamet |True and False
David Mamet is known for being tough and honest. He lives up to that reputation in this book for actors. His primary thesis is that there is no magic or talent in actors but rather it is the words themselves that create the performance. This book is great to read during or after you've taken any acting because it shows you the complete other side of traditional acting techniques. For example one great take away that I've learned from this book is not always know what you want. Mamet talks about real life and when in real life do you actually know what you want? Certainty is not interesting, uncertainty is. Therefore all the work (according to Mamet) on finding out what you want is actually meaningless. As with his plays its controversial and interesting.
Jeff Seymour | The Real Life Actor
There is a sense that permeates most acting classes which promotes the idea that acting is hard and you need to do a bunch of traditional steps if you’re ever going to get anywhere. The flame of this concept is kept lit for two reasons. One is tradition. Successful actors and teachers in our theatrical history supposedly believed in or espoused such ideas and two; it is easier for teachers and actors to follow a path that is well worn. Actors feel intimidated to challenge the ideas and teachings of past masters. But isn’t that exactly how every field of endeavor evolves? Think of where we’d be in science or medicine or sports if no one questioned past methods or tried to discover new ones. This book will show you an approach that is direct and to the point, an approach that will be far easier to remember and utilize. We’ll use real life. We call it acting only because people are watching.