Books, Pop Culture

Craig Archibald’s New Book ”The Actor’s Mindset

“I still go to Craig’s group classes when I’m not working. I joke and call it my church but, jokes aside, I have often considered religion and art to have parallels. Like church, Craig’s classes are a community of practitioners who hold a reverence for the mysteries and wonder of the human experience. Who search for meaning in the present moment.


Who practice faithfully. Who often falter and fall into ego and fear and righteousness not because of the faith’s flaws, but because we are humans practicing imperfectly,” actress Constance Wu writes at the beginning of Craig Archibald’s book, The Actor’s Mindset: Acting as a Craft, Discipline, and Business. What Wu talks about isn’t just a tonality I wholeheartedly agree with in The Actor’s Mindset’s pages, but it’s also in how Archibald objectively comes across as a presence. Dame Helen Mirren during a sit-down with The Hollywood Reporter once commented that despite bad reputations within the industry, a true actor as a human being is “unbelievably generous.” It was a trait she stated was essentially mandatory for the profession, given the fact – to cite another actor, Ben Foster – “the job is about love, the job is about empathy…” Hence, Archibald mirrors this by way of his presentational and ideological delivery. There’s a sense of looseness and creativity he promotes that you won’t find in many other books of this nature.

“This book is for the storytellers of the world. It addresses the art of acting, but its principles weave through the performing arts, and I gladly welcome all artists interested in my take on the craft, discipline, and business of acting. Perhaps you will find applications to your life and art that prove helpful; nothing would please me more,” Archibald writes at the beginning of the read. “This book is also for the family and friends of actors. Often, the journey that actors embark upon seems so foreign and treacherous that family and friends feel deep concern for an actor/loved one’s well-being. (I know. I’ve been there. We love you for that!). I hope this book will help you understand why the actor in your life has committed to an art and industry that is so difficult and yet so ultimately soul-fulfilling and life-rewarding.”

Part of the appeal about Archibald’s aforementioned traits is how all-encompassing this allows him to be. Archibald doesn’t just stress the highs-and-lows of navigating the cutthroat nature of the business itself. He also stresses the highs-and-lows of the very kernels of inspiration, life experience, and truth that led one to the actor’s journey in the first place. “No one is going to show up and do the work for you. You’re the only person you can fully rely on. If you can grasp this reality, you’ll discover a wonderful freedom, a remarkable power.

You really are the master of your life. You are the decider of your fate. The choices you make will define your life. You are completely responsible for the actions you take,” he writes with an unabashed honesty. “…Your life is in your hands. So reach out and grab it. Take control. Change direction. Make your life what you want it to be. Be smart, get trained, hire savvy advisers, make a game plan, make lists, take action every day, and I promise you—there’s a really good chance you’ll succeed.”

Troy Johnstone

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