Actor C. Stephen Foster 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 years, and greatly admire his tenacity and positive spirit. 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:
Never give up!
Keep it simple and specific!
Show up and be prepared!
Don’t say “I can’t.”
Follow your heart’s impulses and desires.
Keep moving, don’t stop!
Trust your mistakes.
You’re free to be the worst actor in the world.
Do one thing each day for your actor.
Another practice that Foster chooses is one I firmly believe in: Always do an “I remember…” exercise, a type of sense memory that can serve just about everyone. It worked for Uta Hagen, so it can work for you too! Foster is brave to put out an acting book at his young age, as there is so much competition, but I laud his courage and insistence on teaching what is solid and true. His organizational skills are impeccable, and he, like me, teaches them to his students. Bravo!
“What a terrific workbook! I wish that all the actors I work with would use this book and have the same commitment to the art and craft of acting as Mr. Foster does. Bravo!” Roger Gindi, Off-Broadway Producer
“C. Stephen Foster’s Awakening the Actor Within is both a revelation of the actor’s art and a celebration of the artistic life. This is not merely a book of procedures but, rather, a serious, informed, and delightfully engaging exploration of the inner geography that shapes every awakened actor.” Scott Wilkerson, Professor of Creative writing at Columbus State University
“Stephen Foster’s “Awakening the Actor Within” is a brilliant workbook that any aspiring actor can learn from, enjoy and take to heart. ” Eugene Ebner co/founder Diversity Now Media/Radio
“Foster offers analogies and anecdotes that got him through his illustrious career. Now this 12 week program is all laid out for you. What are you waiting for! Awaken the actor within…NOW!” Paula Sanders, acting teacher
“Foster’s book Awakening the Actor Within is highly motivational fuel, as well as informative and to the point. I recommend it for all actors who should and must seek out constant inspiration in this ego-eat-ego world of show business.” Lisa Soland, Playwright
“The best part of this book is learning how to give ur self a break! Whether u r just beginning, an experienced actor or rediscovering your love for acting, this book is for u! Thank u Stephen u are the best!” Ellie Clark
“Drawing on some of the concepts in Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way and blending them with his insightful and perceptive approach to acting, C. Stephen Foster has created a book and workbook guaranteed to reawaken, replenish and reenergize the most blocked and jaded of performers. ” Mark David Gerson
“I am a young actress starting her career in Musical Theatre, and “Awakening The Actor” has really helped me start to blossom as an actress! I would recommend this book to any actor, whether just starting out or trying to rekindle that passion!” Natalie G
“This book offers the beginner and seasoned actor alike, tools to stir the pot of creativity and dish up some nourishing soul food. Using playful acting games and even, some might say, spiritual techniques to help the reader reach inside themselves to (re)discover their uniqueness as a performer, C. Stephen Foster has lovingly created an approach to acting that is unusual in it’s self-supporting message.” Nomi Lyonns Singer/Actress/Writer
“Foster seems to write everything I have ever felt about acting and the often cruel and unforgiving “business” of acting. His personal anecdotes are not only hilarious and poignant, but remind me of my own personal stories as an actor. I found myself remembering my accomplishments as well as times when I gave my power to others and became blocked as an actor. No more of that! With “Awakening the Actor Within” in my toolbox, I know I can be an actor and also be happy in my life.” Amy Penney, Actress
“No stone is left unturned with Foster. “Awakening the Actor Within” is holistic healing at its best. Foster is there, with you, by your side in full armor, ready to slay that evil dragon of despair, anxiety, self-pity and hopelessness. He understands the social, economic, and emotional obstacles an actor faces and guides you on how to tell those encumbrances, “Get out of my way I say!” Foster literally reaches out his hand and pulls you out of the ditch.” Sara Monteagudo, Actor/Writer
“Stephen Foster embraces the artist in a way that is very rare these days where cookie-cutter methods and actors are rampant. This book encourages you to find your gift and what makes you unique and inspired from within. It offers practical ways to do this and to get over fears that plague artists–such as not being enough. Read this book and use it!” Charlotte Gulezian, Actress, director
“I consider Stephen and his book like a little Devil! His book/workshops make me want to do the very things I try to suppress – desires to act, write, pursue a creative career. I recommend this book for anyone interested in acting, curious about acting, dreaming of acting, wishing they were actors, jealous of actors, etc. With his nudging, you never know what can happen.” Carol Zones, Filmmaker,writer, and now, actor
“As a professional opera singer and vocal coach I also try to convey to my students the value of becoming their opera character by using their acting and performance skills. Well this has become a whole lot easier for me since one of my best students discovered Stephen Foster’s book. As I tell my voice students, Stephen is the real deal.” Roger Geronimo, Voice Teacher
“Awakening the Actor Within”. Foster shows us how to give our acting careers our full 100% attention in the 12-week workbook, and to take steps every day to develop our acting skills and to experience the joy of acting. He gives us the great advice to surround ourselves with people who exude positive energy and provide us with support and inspiration, and to stay away from negative personalities.” Dawna Lee Heising Actress and Executive Producer & Host of “Eye on Entertainment”
“Stephen Foster has answered the actor’s prayer: Freedom to Act Again! The author sets out specific exercises to bring you back to the joy of playing. He lovingly and wisely guides you on your way to the reading, “the room,” and the camera (which is all-knowing) no longer as a “thinking” actor, but a feeling, breathing, unstoppable artist of your craft. This book is a keeper to study, wear out, and take from the shelf over and over again.” Kathy Taylor, Actor/Comedian/Author
“Stephen Foster’s book has saved my life. I had not acted for over a year and half due to a lot of things that had knocked me off course, or that had made me feel as if it was a silly and unattainable dream. I mean it when I say it’s a “MUST HAVE!” Kelsey Martin, Actress, Singer
“Stephen Foster has perhaps the best-kept secret in the entertainment industry: that you can live your bliss and achieve success with your passion by affirming the reality of the opportunities that are waiting for you in the emotional realm. In other words, based on the Law of Attraction, focus on what you want, rather than what you don’t. He’s amazing!!” Jason Branson, relationship therapist
“As a professional life coach and motivational speaker for autism and cerebral palsy, I was delighted to find Stephen Foster’s book. Stephen has written it in such a way that anyone seeking to enhance and awaken their creativity can do so in their own special way. Stephen’s book is not your typical, “run of the mill” workbook. Awakening forces you to really embrace and let loose your wild, authentic self.” Jason Shields, life coach