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The Golden Rules of Acting [Paperback]

Andy Nyman
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
RRP: 5.99
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Book Description

24 July 2012
A treasure trove of advice, support and encouragement that no performer should be without. Honest, witty and direct, The Golden Rules of Acting is every actor's best friend in handy paperback form.

'When auditioning, rehearsing or in a performance, take a risk the worst that can happen is that you get embarrassed. You won't die.'

Easy to dip into, fully illustrated throughout, and designed to be both instructive and empowering, The Golden Rules of Acting won't tell you how to act but it will tell you how to be an actor.

'Always remember, the people auditioning you want you to be brilliant. They want you to solve their casting problem.'

If you're a working actor, drama-school student, someone who wants to become an actor, or simply someone who has a dream and wants to make it a reality, this book is for you.

'NEVER harmonise when singing Happy Birthday this has nothing to do with work, it's just all actors do it & it's b****y annoying.'

Andy Nyman learnt the golden rules of acting the hard way, through twenty-five years of working in theatre, film and television. On stage, he co-wrote, co-directed and starred in the West End hit Ghost Stories, and won an Olivier Award for Best Entertainment for co-writing and directing Something Wicked This Way Comes with his regular collaborator Derren Brown. His many film appearances include Severance and Frank Oz's Death at a Funeral.

Christians have the Bible, now actors have this book. At last, everyone is happy. --Simon Pegg

Andy's distilled guidebook is smart, hilarious, and just might get you work! --Neil Patrick Harris

Like its author, this little book is packed full of wit, wisdom and good things. --Matthew Macfadyen

A wonderful insight into the secrets of success that will help anyone achieve their dreams. --Richard Wiseman (author, 59 Seconds: Think a little, change a lot)

Frequently Bought Together

The Golden Rules of Acting + The Excellent Audition Guide (How to do fantastic auditions, give great interviews, prepare amazing monologues and get into drama school)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Nick Hern Books (24 July 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848422539
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848422537
  • Product Dimensions: 17.5 x 10.9 x 1.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 15,809 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


The book won't tell you how to act, but will tell you how to be an actor, how to stay sane and succeed in any creative position, if you have a dream and want to make it a reality it'll offer you properly useful advice. It's one of those books that helps you know yourself, ask the right questions, and reminds you to be happy. It is truthful, eye-opening and insightful, reading it feels like getting tips and advice from a friend down the pub;it is a goldmine of information. I'm no actor, but it's one of those books that I'll carry with me, return to time and time again becauseremembering this advice will help me become a better and happier person. --The Huffington Post

A little book but great fun... Presented in large print with jokey soundbites, occasional speech bubbles and stylised on-page annotation, The Golden Rules of Acting covers drama school, auditions, agents, directors, dealing with reviews and various other aspects of living an actor's life with wit. "Remember the best part about drama school is that you get to spend all day acting. Cherish that, you may have to wait a long time until it happens again," opines Nyman wisely. I liked his well-made point that success in this business is a marathon not a sprint. Samuel L Jackson was 46 when he made Pulp Fiction and Morgan Freeman 52 when he starred in Driving Miss Daisy. Nyman's advice about having a decent website and keeping a record of everyone you meet with a note of when and where is sensible too. I think it's worth the cover price for the quotations alone.Threaded through the book are gems such as Michael Caine's "I'm a skilled professional actor. Whether I have any talent or not is beside the point" and Mark Twain's "The harder I work, the luckier I get."...If you get only one useful nugget it will have paid for itself. --The Stage

The cover of this book has a splash star on it reading 'Over one million copies sold.' Then an asterisk, and the asterisk note says Completely untrue . . . (and continues.) Well, this book should have sold over a million copies and I'm sure it will. It's unique.A mixture of streetwise good sense and hilarious sometimes laugh-out-loud wit. It contains some 200 (I'm guessing) bites of good advice or quotations; every single one of them worthwhile reading. But there's wit too in NHB's production of the volume. Just in the way an actor might annotate a script, Nyman annotates this book with highlights, handwritten comments, capital letters. And colour too.The whole effect is one of irrepressible joie-de-vivre . . . which, in a way, underpins Nyman's survival technique. It's what's enabled him to be a jobbing actor for more than 20 years - a somewhat successful jobbing actor judging by his website

Here's a taster: 'I deny that I said actors are cattle. What I said was actors should be treated like cattle.' (Alfred Hitchcock.) But my real favourite is the RSC director speaking to soldiers after a rehearsal of Henry V. He says: . . (No, I'm not giving that one away!) One of the most entertaining writers about psychology (inspiring yourself, self motivation, luck et al) is Professor Richard Wiseman (endorsing this book on the back cover) . . . and, moreover, his writing is academically and empirically based. Much of what Nyman is putting forward in his amusing way fits within Wiseman's framework. Without doubt, Nyman hits the nail home at every turn... This is an indispensible life saver and survival kit. Not a coffee table book. Keep it on the dinner table (where you can regularly dip into it.)

Christians have the Bible, now actors have this book. At last, everyone is happy. --Simon Pegg

About the Author

ANDY NYMAN is an actor, writer, director and magician. He has starred in the films Severance and Death at a Funeral, and, for Channel Four, in the 2011 sitcom Campus and Charlie Brooker's cult hit Dead Set. He is the co-creator and co-writer of the Derren Brown TV shows Mind Control and Trick of the Mind and co-wrote and co-directed four of Derren Brown's stage shows, winning an Olivier Award in 2006. He co-wrote, directed and starred in the West End smash-hit Ghost Stories in 2010 and in 2012 he starred in a major London revival of Mike Leigh's Abigail's Party.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A peek backstage 6 Dec 2013
By Zoonie TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
After seeing KM's review, I decided that I wanted to read this, although I have no personal ambitions (or talent!)
It is an unusual book in that it is a fun read at the same time as being packed full of life wisdom.
We are all a little intrigued by the acting profession, its ups and downs and lucky breaks, its triumphs and disappointments. This book is a peek backstage.
I sent for two copies. I know the recipient of the other one will enjoy finding it in his Christmas stocking.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational uplifting advice for actors 22 Oct 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've bought this as a Christmas stocking filler for my 15 year old son who is an aspiring actor. It definitely isn't a book on how to act but a book on how to be a decent human being who happens to want to work as an actor!

Andy Nyman has put together a vast bank of some inspirational and some down to earth truths for any actor aspiring or experienced. To be honest much of the advice in here could be dipped into by anybody at all.

The book has thirteen chapters -

Drama school
Living the life
The business
Survival tips
Making it happen
Final thoughts

Throughout, the book is annotated and highlighted just to make certain tips drive home.

I think this is a great little book of good and honest advice in the form of punchy snippets of wisdom and well worth having on your bookshelf.

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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
The Golden Rules of Acting by Andy Nyman neatly doubles up as an at-a-glance handbook for all creative freelancers (having been one for fifteen years, I am more than qualified to say this).

He probably won't remember, but I met Andy Nyman a fair few years ago at a friend's wedding. He was performing close-up magic tricks and very good he was too - though it did cross my mind that magic probably wasn't the easiest career in which to make a living. I met him again more recently (at afore mentioned friend's party). I wandered over to say hello and, naturally, asked if he was still a magician.

"Yes I am," he replied. "In fact I'm writing and directing a show in the West End: its called Ghost Stories." That's right, the play that did rather well. Oh, and he won an Olivier award for one of his many collaborations with Derren Brown (yes, that Derren Brown). I sipped my wine and tried not to look completely star struck, whilst making the following mental note: Follow your dreams: they can pay the mortgage!

Not surprisingly, taking into account his career trajectory (recently starred in Abigail's Party at the Wyndham Theatre, for instance), this book is a treasure trove of great advice about acting - though most of it applies to being a freelance creative too. It is empowering, funny, insightful and honest - a best-friend of a book to dip into whenever your creative spirits need a bit of a magic-dust uplift.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Decent but not recomended 17 Aug 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
"The Golden Rules of Acting" is a really good book for the actors that are just starting off as it gives great advice and a sense of direction whether acting is suitable for them or not. However there is not enough content and in depth information about acting at all which doesn't make it worth the price, Instead I recommend searching else-where for a different book.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Short, Sharp and Sweet 23 Aug 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A review befitting a book of such brevity.

Easy, entertaining, uplifting and accurate.

Applicable to every walk of life, to anyone who strives to become successful at what they love and a shot in the arm to those who keep the faith.

I keep mine in the loo, a two sittings book
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
I was recommended this book by several of my friends. I read this book when in the abyss last year. Suddenly I found the light again. This is not a book that predominantly deals with the technique of acting it deals with the technique of being an actor. Having the technique in place to deal with the highs and the lows, the lack of money the lack of control we sometimes are subject to. As well as having the technique of how to handle yourself in interviews, auditions and how to behave when you have the job. The book is breath takingly honest and refreshing lucid and clear. The points are made in short sentences which act as instant "aide memoirs" of something maybe you deep down do know but needed a little reminder of. The tone is realistic yet positive I carry the book everywhere and often dip in for an immediate dose of PMA. There seems to be a litte bit of reviewers for this book questioning other peoples credentials. I went to a NCDT Drama School nearly ten years ago have been working in the profession since then and the majority of my friends are in the profession as well. I feel this gives me a grasp on what is and isn't relevant from my own perspective and discussions with peers and friends. This book makes a great gift if not it is very reasonable and a must read for us all.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy it 7 Jan 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Don't hesitate to buy this book....even if you are not an actor.....a brilliant book that will make you laugh and set you up for life.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No-nonsense advice, not just for actors 22 Nov 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Substitute references to acting with performing in the workplace or auditions for interviews and you still have a simple, common-sense guide to performing effectively as a freelancer, creative or consultant. The advice is essential for actors, no less indispensable for anyone who is looking for work, or currently freelancing or in a similar role where you are selling yourself.

The book is brief - and no less effective for it. It doesn't need to go into great detail, the stuff here is basic. Even though it's basic I could see myself reading it again - it feels like sitting for a couple of hours with a highly effective career coach, and a couple of hours is all it takes to read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
As described, thanks.
Published 6 days ago by Miss Emma V M Mills
2.0 out of 5 stars Non-essential
Mildly diverting but a once only flick - given the relatively scant content this would be more suitable in an app format.
Published 5 months ago by Mr. C. Barton
5.0 out of 5 stars AWESOME
This book is really fantastic. Full of great advice. I can't recommend this enough. I'm not even an actor, I'm a musician. But some great stuff here
Published 5 months ago by A human
5.0 out of 5 stars Bought as a present
Bought as a present for my daughter who is looking to get into Drama School. She tells me that the book is excellent.
Published 7 months ago by Glenn Neaves
5.0 out of 5 stars Bought for my son
This was on my sons Xmas list. Bought it for him and he has enjoyed reading it! He says it has great tips!
Published 7 months ago by Elaine Gwyn
5.0 out of 5 stars amazing
An insightful look at not just acting but life itself. This is a book about good living and living good.
Published 9 months ago by rosiwasanactress
5.0 out of 5 stars The Golden Rules of Acting
Funny, wicked, honest and helpful book for actors and people who want to know more about acting.
Beautiful exterior and easy to read.
Published 9 months ago by Veera Wellamo Vilo
5.0 out of 5 stars Class in small but powerful little golden book.
Andy is realistic in his views about stepping into one the toughest professions in the world! He also encourages you and reminds you of the things you forget/ take for granted... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Jp
3.0 out of 5 stars good but short
Not really expensive so dont really expect much. Short and full with pictures. Its full with short thoughts not even one consistent topic. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Plsz Balzs
3.0 out of 5 stars Manage your expectations and you'll be OK
I should probably caveat this review by saying I am not an actor. Nor ever have or am intending to be. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Ca55idy
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