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Performing Arts Acting & Auditioning


The Modern Actor’s Handbook

by (author) David Rotenberg

ECW Press
Initial publish date
Apr 2021
Acting & Auditioning, General, Business Aspects, General
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2021
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Apr 2021
    List Price
  • Downloadable audio file

    Publish Date
    Jul 2021
    List Price

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“Simply put, I don’t think I would’ve found my voice as an actor without David.” — Scott Speedman, actor

Act has the roadmap for the most crucial task of an actor: getting present.” — Shawn Doyle, actor

A lively, conversational textbook dedicated to the art of acting from a master teacher.

Act: The Modern Actor’s Handbook is the result of 30 years of one of North America’s most renowned acting teachers teaching some of the world's most talented screen actors. This is a full tour through the concepts at the heart of Rotenberg’s techniques: states of being, primaries and secondaries, images that you elaborate up or distill down, modifiers, actions and beats, and more. Although his methods loosely draw on the great acting teachers like Hagen and Meisner back to Stanislavski, he teaches new techniques suited to the best of today’s screen actors. This is a major new work in the actor’s library and will be pulled off the shelf time and again to find that key into a scene, to prepare for an audition, or to find that right technique to make the art come alive again.


About the author

David Rotenberg is a professor emeritus of theatre studies at York University, where he taught graduate students for over 25 years. He has released 12 novels which have been published by Penguin, Simon and Schuster, McArthur and Company, St. Martin's Press, and ECW. His novels have been optioned in the past for major motion picture adaptation. City Rising is presently in negotiation with London producers. He I s the founder and artistic director of the world-renowned actor training institute - Pro Actors Lab. His historical fiction novel entitled, City Rising is based on true events and explores the epic stories of the Iraqi-Jews, and the prominent Chinese families of the renowned port city across several centuries. It will be published by At Bay Press in the Fall of 2023.

David Rotenberg's profile page

Editorial Reviews


“Simply put, I don’t think I would’ve found my voice as an actor without David. Finding his class when I did was one of the luckiest moments of my career.” — Scott Speedman, actor

“I owe my career to David Rotenberg. Over the 20 years he’s been my teacher and coach, he’s empowered me to develop my own voice within the framework of his techniques.” — Ennis Esmer, actor

“If you find yourself, from time to time, in that very lonely place where the cylinders won’t fire, ACT has the roadmap for the most crucial task of an actor: getting present.” — Shawn Doyle, actor

“David Rotenberg has single-handedly had the most profoundly positive impact on the course of my career and my love of acting.” — Demore Barnes, actor

“The expanse of his character development and insight on storytelling is invaluable. He provides terminology and structure for things I intuitively feel that give solid guideposts when lifting a character off the page. David explores the musicality, status and relationship, primary/secondary states, Drone Notes, time, environment, and backstory to add depth and truth that is both relatable and captivating.” — Erin Karpluk, actor


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