Book Review : New Thoughts For Actors

If you’re an actor in LA, you owe it to yourself to take a workshop with Jack Plotnick. That is, if you can get in. The guy is so busy that the sessions don’t happen often and  it’s tough to get a spot.

Why is he so busy? Because unlike 99% of acting teachers, Jack is actually a working actor. Plus a writer and director of films and Broadway plays.

His class was unlike any I’d ever taken

“I haven’t taken an acting class since college,” Jack said, to the shock of the class. What? How could that be? Aren’t you supposed to be a theater major, take scene study classes for years on end, and work with a private coach every day of your life?

“Acting is fun and easy. You just have to let it be that way,” he continued.

But the real shock came when it was time to do the scenes. People would get up and just SUCK. I mean, completely unwatchable. “Jesus, there’s no way that those people can improve,” I thought.

Then the magic happened.

Jack would talk to them, give them a little note, and have them perform the scene again. Only this time, the performances were INCREDIBLE. It was a night and day difference. The actors were funny, they were vulnerable, they were mesmerizing.

It was the craziest goddamn thing I’ve ever seen.


Jack’s free e-book New Thoughts For Actors is a must-read.

It’s a complete rebuttal of the results-oriented, anxiety-producing nonsense that usually surrounds acting.  “You need this class and this teacher and this process, otherwise YOU DON’T CARE ABOUT YOUR CAREER!

One of my favorite parts of the book is his concept of the Vulture. The Vulture is that horrible creature (Your Ego) that sits on your shoulder, telling you you’re not good enough. I know I’ve heard the Vulture plenty of times in my life.

You don’t have to fight the Vulture directly—that’s a waste of time and energy. Instead, you simply release whatever it is the Vulture is targeting. So your “conversations” will sound like this:

Vulture: You’re not a good actor.

You: I release my need to be a good actor.

Vulture: I…I…shit. There’s no response to that.

And at the beginning of the book, there’s a whole list of affirmations you can say to get the Vulture off your shoulder.

True story: A few years ago, I taped Jack’s list of actor affirmations on my wall and would read them twice a day—just after getting up and then before bed. Not only did I feel calmer, happier, and less anxious, but I also lost ten pounds in a month.

You can download his book here.

Book Review: New Thoughts For Actors By Jack Plotnick