Break a Leg!: The Kids' Guide to Acting and Stagecraft

Break a Leg!: The Kids' Guide to Acting and Stagecraft

by Lise Friedman, Mary Dowdle


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A complete drama course for kids in a book. BREAK A LEG! teaches budding thespians everything they need to know about stagecraft and the production of performances, in home or out.

Illustrated throughout with informative how-to and candid shots of young working actors, BREAK A LEG! is as comprehensive as it is high-spirited. There are sections on body preparation, including warm-ups, stretches, and breathing exercises. Theater games, improv, miming, and other fun ways to develop technique. Important acting skills, such as voice projection, crying on command, learning accents, and staging falls and fights without getting hurt. Theperformance: analyzing scripts, building a character, what to expect from rehearsals, and overcoming stagefright. A backstage look at blocking, lighting, and other technical aspects of theater production. And for the fun of costumes and make-up, a 16-page color insert. In addition, it covers legends and lore (Why is Macbeth cursed? Why do we say "break a leg"?) and offers dozens of must-see movie recommendations. Plus, for the ambitious, talented, and just plain curious, there's advice on how to make a career of it all, with tips on agents and auditions and getting jobs in theater, film, TV, and radio.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780761125907
Publisher: Workman Publishing Company, Inc.
Publication date: 10/01/2001
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 7.60(w) x 9.44(h) x 0.84(d)
Age Range: 9 - 12 Years

About the Author

Lisa Friedman is currently the dance writer for Microsoft's New York Sidewalk. A former dancer with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, she also served as founding editor of the award-winning quarterly Dance Ink and author of First Lessons in Ballet and an adjunct professor at New York University. She is also a contributing editor at Elleand a journalist who writes about the performing arts for various publications. She lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York, just a short cab ride from the Great White Way!

Table of Contents

i n t r o d u c t i o n

Chapter One

Tuning Your Instrument • Body Warm-ups • Stretches

Chapter Two

Voice Warm-ups • Tongue Twisters • Better Breathing • Voice Coaches • Projection • Stage Whispers • Wacky Accents

Chapter Three

Name Game • Memory Walking Game • Freezing Game • Sense & Confidence Boosters • Structured & Unstructured Improvs • Partnered Mirroring

Chapter Four

Miming • Clowning • Juggling • Stand-up Comedy • Stage Combat • Falling • Fainting • Stunts • Tap Dancing • Musical Theater • Fake Kissing • Death Scenes

Character Building 71
Reading Between the Lines 91
Pulling It All Together 117

Chapter Five

Character Journal • Building an Observation Bank • Quirks & Tics • Finding Your Motivation • Sense Memory • Method Acting • Body Language • Faking Tears •
Monologues, Dialogues & Ensemble Scenes

Chapter Six

Analyzing & Marking a Script • Tragedies & Comedies • Avant-garde Theater • Rehearsals • Blocking • Entrances & Exits • Finding Your Mark • Memorizing Lines • Stage Fright • Direction • Etiquette • Roles • Casting

Chapter Seven

The Greenroom • Gaffes • Hamming & Upstaging • Curtain Calls • Encores • Flops • Ovations • Shakespeare • Slang

Backstage Pass 135
Screen Test 175
Making a Living 189
Chapter Eight

Stage Managers • Set Designs • Props • Lighting • Stage Lingo • Kinds of Theaters • Dolby Sound • Special Effects • Costuming • Makeup • Masks

Chapter Nine

Panning, Zooming, Montage & Other Techniques • Gesture & Delivery • Screenplays • Close-up, Over-the-Shoulder & Other Shots • Buzz Tracks, Fades, Jump Cuts • Television

Chapter Ten

Headshots • Agents • Casting Directors • Auditioning • Casting • Commercials • Voice-overs • Print Work • Industrials • Unions Read On! • Web Sites • Credits • Monologues, Dialogues & Ensemble Scenes

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