Broadway World Review By Don Grigware
Actor C. Stephen Foster has worked extensively in Hollywood for the past 10 years on stage and on film in mostly original work that he has created for himself. He now relates his personal experience and knowledge about acting to help you reach a better understanding of your own talent and what to do with it in Awakening the Actor Within.
I have known Foster for many of these 10 years, and greatly admire his tenacity and positive spirit. Like Dee Wallace, he has a light within that is always shining brightly. His workbook is divided into twelve sections, each one devoted to a week’s study and practice. The practice exercises or tasks may involve speech, performance, reading, making lists, auditioning, even going shopping for your character. They are all active, not passive steps. The book is rather like a journey, beginning with Acting Is Healing and ending with Acting Is Interacting, not simply reacting or listening, as many like to tell you. It’s far more involved than that. Foster advises each student to keep a notebook of his (her) progress, insists that you chart your progress in each lesson and at the beginning gives you a written contract to sign. I loved this element, as an acting student must take the work seriously and know when he (she) is on or off track. It’s a completely private, but urgent issue in the actor’s preparation. What won me over about Foster’s plan from the start is his set of rules. He believes, like me, that rules are meant to be broken. Therefore:
Never give up!
Keep it simple and specific!
Show up and be prepared!
Don’t say “I can’t.”
Follow your heart’s impulses and desires.
Keep moving, don’t stop!
Trust your mistakes.
You’re free to be the worst actor in the world. (Great! Fall on your face and don’t be afraid! Ever, ever!!)
Do one thing each day for your actor.
Another practice that Foster chooses is one I firmly believe in: Always do an “I remember…” exercise, a type of sense memory that can serve just about everyone. It worked for Uta Hagen, so it can work for you too! Foster is brave to put out an acting book at his young age, as there is so much competition, but I laud his courage and insistence on teaching what is solid and true. His organizational skills are impeccable, and he, like me, teaches them to his students. Bravo!
“Let Stephen Foster ‘Awaken Your Actor Within’. He will give you clarity and dexterity to master the external factors and the internal feelings. When you step on the stage you’ll bring your whole self with you.”
Viki King – best-selling author of “How To Write a Movie in 21 Days – The Inner Movie Method”
“What a terrific workbook! I wish that all the actors I work with would use this book and have the same commitment to the art and craft of acting as Mr. Foster does. Bravo!” Roger Gindi Gindi Theatrical Management
“C. Stephen Foster’s Awakening the Actor Within is both a revelation of the actor’s art and a celebration of the artistic life. This is not merely a book of procedures but, rather, a serious, informed, and delightfully engaging exploration of the inner geography that shapes every awakened actor. Foster maps this perplexing space with humor, humanity, and a sure authority that comes from a life lived in the muses’ embrace. Foster is an extraordinary performer, writer, and thinker; his insights are, at once, practical and profound. With this book, he shows us how every waking moment can become an act of the imagination.” Scott Wilkerson Professor of Creative writing at Columbus State University
“Stephen Foster’s “Awakening the Actor Within” is a brilliant workbook that any aspiring actor can learn from, enjoy and take to heart. It is educational, humorous, inspiring and provides necessary tools and information for every creative individual that yearns to “awaken the actor within”.” Eugene Ebner co/founder Diversity Now Media/Radio
“This is a wonderful tutorial for someone who has always had the desire to act but not the guts. Or it is for the sleeping giant actor who is planning a spectacular comeback. Foster offers analogies and anecdotes that got him through his illustrious career. Now this 12 week program is all laid out for you. What are you waiting for! Awaken the actor within…NOW!” Paula Sanders, acting teacher
“As a working professional, I am often asked what aspect of the acting/writing craft is most necessary in order to make it in this business. I tell them it’s simple – staying motivated. Motivation will see you through. It is our fuel. Lose it, and even a Rolls Royce won’t get out of the parking lot.
Foster’s book Awakening the Actor Within is highly motivational fuel, as well as informative and to the point. I recommend it for all actors who should and must seek out constant inspiration in this ego-eat-ego world of show business.”
Lisa Soland, playwright
Customer Reviews from Amazon and Barnes and Noble:
“I bought this book as a beginning actor and was extremely happy with how well this book is written! Stephen takes through ur blockages, and makes u take charge of ur acting. The best part of this book is learning how to give ur self a break! Whether u r just beginning, an experienced actor or rediscovering ur love for acting, this book is for u! Thank u Stephen u are the best!” Ellie Clark
“Drawing on some of the concepts in Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way and blending them with his insightful and perceptive approach to acting, C. Stephen Foster has created a book and workbook guaranteed to reawaken, replenish and reenergize the most blocked and jaded of performers. But this is not just a book for actors. With few modifications, Foster’s philosophies apply equally to other creative endeavors…and to life itself. An inspiring book overflowing with heart, compassion and very practical tips and guidance. A must-read for any struggling actor at any stage in his or her career.” Mark David Gerson
I am a young actress starting her career in Musical Theatre, and Awakening The Actor has really helped me start to blossom as an actress! Stephen Fosters insights and advice have opened my eyes and have helped me try new techniques and find my strengths. I would recommend this book to any actor, whether just starting out or trying to rekindle that passion! Natalie G
“We are afraid what will happen if we get selfish, self-centered, and do what we love.” Mr. Foster hits the nail on the head in his ” Awakening the Actor Within” workbook for actors. At once an open invitation to peek inside the actor-director-writer’s heart, he gives us all permission to be honest and open about who we are as actors in a humorous, light-hearted yet practical way. This book offers the beginner and seasoned actor alike, tools to stir the pot of creativity and dish up some nourishing soul food. Using playful acting games and even, some might say, spiritual techniques to help the reader reach inside themselves to (re)discover their uniqueness as a performer, C. Stephen Foster has lovingly created an approach to acting that is unusual in it’s self-supporting message. We are perfect as we are, as long as we practice our craft by ”trigger(ing) it by actions (both large and small) done in a positive light”. With no permission for laziness, we’re encouraged to go beyond what we thought was possible taking small, thoughtful and uplifting steps towards our goals while at the same time watching when we need to slow and heal old wounds. This book is a great gift for the all the actors in your life, yourself, or anyone who just wants to live life knowing more about who they really are. A fun, easy to read and understand 12 week workshop that will shift you painlessly out of a creative slump.”
Nomi Lyonns Singer/Actress/Writer
“Kudos for C. Stephen Foster and his beautiful words in “Awakening the Actor Within!” I am an actor and mother who recently “took a break” from acting and was looking for a way back in. A friend told me about this book, and I cannot thank him enough! Foster seems to write everything I have ever felt about acting and the often cruel and unforgiving “business” of acting. His personal anecdotes are not only hilarious and poignant, but remind me of my own personal stories as an actor. I found myself remembering my accomplishments as well as times when I gave my power to others and became blocked as an actor. No more of that! With “Awakening the Actor Within” in my toolbox, I know I can be an actor and also be happy in my life. The tools are simply amazing. A couple of weeks ago, I was terrified at the thought of walking into an audition again. My daughter is two, and I think I’ve been on one audition in those two years. I felt rusty, awkward, out of it. After reading this book, I know that I can do this, and I can do it in my own way, with my own creative flair. Most importantly, I learned from Mr. Foster not to give a flip about what anybody else thinks! If you are an actor who needs encouragement or a brand new actor, this book will work for you. Thank you, Stephen Foster! I can’t wait to dive back in.” Amy Penney Actress
“No stone is left unturned with Foster. Not a section of your-mind-body-spirit is left unattended. The magic of the number 12 and its correlation to healing and recovery is yet again a spiritual formulaic in attaining recovery for the emotionally, psychologically and spiritually wounded actor. Right when you thought you were off the hook, Foster comes to you as God’s gift to actors; An emissary to thespians, instilling the once lost confidence and hunger the actor needs in order to bring the dream back to life. “Awakening the Actor Within” is holistic healing at its best. Foster is there, with you, by your side in full armor, ready to slay that evil dragon of despair, anxiety, self-pity and hopelessness. He understands the social, economic, and emotional obstacles an actor faces and guides you on how to tell those encumbrances, “Get out of my way I say!” Foster literally reaches out his hand and pulls you out of the ditch. You are destined to succeed with the fool-proof guidance that he provides.”
Sara Monteagudo – Stage and Film Actor/Writer
“Stephen Foster embraces the artist in a way that is very rare these days where cookie-cutter methods and actors are rampant. This book encourages you to find your gift and what makes you unique and inspired from within. It offers practical ways to do this and to get over fears that plague artists–such as not being enough. I learned from him to cherish my creativity and to nurture it. the light inside us is love and love is courage and courage is the breath-Inspiration–to inspire—to inhale. I keep on breathing and keep going fearlessly and I owe so much of my courage and love to Stephen Foster. Read this book and use it!”
Charlotte Gulezian, Actress, director
“I consider Stephen and his book like a little Devil! His book/workshops make me want to do the very things I try to suppress – desires to act, write, pursue a creative career. This book really will change your life.
In the past when he was developing his workshops it lead to a little voice inside my head saying “I do want to act.” Next thing I knew, I had an audition for my favorite play, Grease, and for a show on ABC. Now with his book, he makes it easy for anyone to blast through the mental junk and blocks that keep us from pursuing our dreams, acting the best way that we could whether it is for fun (like me) or as the book intends – as a career. With that said, again, I am working through the book and steps and this time found myself in a paid acting gig which so far was the biggest challenge – in a second language! With Stephen’s steps and guidance, that was blast through too! I recommend this book for anyone interested in acting, curious about acting, dreaming of acting, wishing they were actors, jealous of actors, etc. With his nudging, you never know what can happen.”
-Carol Filmmaker, mother, writer, and now, actor
“As a professional opera singer and vocal coach I also try to convey to my students the value of becoming their opera character by using their acting and performance skills. Well this has become a whole lot easier for me since one of my best students discovered Stephen Foster’s book. This book has helped her to become an incredible actress. So much so that she just received the female lead role in the play, Dracula. I attended the audition and she was amazing and was the only actor to be given a role the same night she auditioned. Now I have purchased Stephen’s book in lot and I give them to my voice students gratis. Finally, if you ever ‘meet’ Stephen on Facebook you’ll note that if you have acting questions he somehow finds time to assist. As I tell my voice students, Stephen is the real deal.”
Roger Geronimo, Voice Teacher
“I had the good fortune to audition for C. Stephen Foster when I was just re-starting my acting career, and he showed me how to focus and improve my performance in the space of fifteen minutes. As soon as I got home, I looked him up and immediately ordered his extraordinary book “Awakening the Actor Within”. Foster shows us how to give our acting careers our full 100% attention in the 12-week workbook, and to take steps every day to develop our acting skills and to experience the joy of acting. He gives us the great advice to surround ourselves with people who exude positive energy and provide us with support and inspiration, and to stay away from negative personalities. Since reading his book and learning how to focus and to reach into myself to give as “real” a performance as possible, I’ve experienced success in my last five auditions. Thank you Stephen!”
Dawna Lee Heising Actress and Executive Producer & Host of “Eye on Entertainment”
“Stephen Foster has answered the actor’s prayer: Freedom to Act Again! The author sets out specific exercises to bring you back to the joy of playing. He lovingly and wisely guides you on your way to the reading, “the room,” and the camera (which is all-knowing) no longer as a “thinking” actor, but a feeling, breathing, unstoppable artist of your craft. This book is a keeper to study, wear out, and take from the shelf over and over again.”
Kathy Taylor, National Commercial Actor/Comedian/Author
“Stephen Foster’s book has saved my life. I had not acted for over a year and half due to a lot of things that had knocked me off course, or that had made me feel as if it was a silly and unattainable dream. I came across Foster’s book and knew that it was what I needed and I was right. After only 4 weeks I went to two auditions and booked the lead in one of them. If you use the wonderful tools this book has to offer, and you work diligently towards your goal. You WILL WIN! And you will have success! I cannot even imagine where I would be at this point without having this book. I mean it when I say it’s a “MUST HAVE!” Kelsey Martin, Actress, Singer
“Stephen Foster has perhaps the best-kept secret in the entertainment industry: that you can live your bliss and achieve success with your passion by affirming the reality of the opportunities that are waiting for you in the emotional realm. In other words, based on the Law of Attraction, focus on what you want, rather than what you don’t. Look at “failure” or the “no’s” as a gift and the best teacher you’ve ever had, but don’t get hung up on the concept. Intend that you can and will prosper by giving your attention to what it is that you desire. It is law! As a psychotherapist and life coach, I observe the power of this every single day in my private practice. If you get the chance to know Stephen personally, do it! He’s amazing!!”
Jason Branson, relationship therapist
“As a professional life coach and motivational speaker for autism and cerebral palsy, I was delighted to find Stephen Foster’s book. Stephen has written it in such a way that anyone seeking to enhance and awaken their creativity can do so in their own special way. You don’t even have to be an actor to benefit from his techniques! It challenges you to really reach within and grab hold of the marvelous gifts of creativity that lie within us all. Stephen’s book is not your typical, “run of the mill” workbook. Awakening forces you to really embrace and let loose your wild, authentic self.”
Jason Shields, life coach