6 Lessons from Actors for Authors

ToscaniniWhat Actors Can Tell Authors about Writing

  1. Don’t do anything cute with your voice. Speak with your heart, and give the audience a clean delivery.
  2. Study the way Humphrey Bogart moves, the smooth way he puts on his coat or straightens his tie. Practice until each movement is perfect.
  3. Never, ever read reviews.
  4. It’s not enough to know your lines and to deliver them well. You must study audience reaction to the play.
  5. Know your audience and give them what they want.

What Conductors Can Tell Authors about Writing

The story is told of someone walking into Toscanini’s dressing room an hour before the maestro was to make his debut conducting the MET Orchestra in 1913. The visitor expected Toscanini to be deep into the music about to be performed, but instead, saw the maestro on the far end of the room running toward a wooden box placed on the floor. Unaware of his interloper, Toscanini leapt onto the box, bowed low to the room, tapped his baton in the air, and waited a beat before jumping back down. He repeated this sequence several times.

“Arturo, why aren’t you studying the score?”

“That’s the easy part. I’m practicing my opening.”

Photo: Arturo Toscanini, Public Domain

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