If you don’t know why, the actor sure does!

Finding Your Best Angle (Give This to an Actor) has a unifying theme: the acting profession. Author/poet Mary Rose Betten delivers a nuts-and-bolts how-to for the would-be star; a survival guide for frustration, poverty, and bruised ego; a celebration of the thrill and passion of the theater; a crash course in understanding what an actor must endure to make a living; a nostalgic and personal history of show business over the past half-century; and an inside look at what happens in theater, television, and film.

Betten’s poems are moving and compassionate, sometimes ironic and often downright funny. They’re about real people struggling to be real in their roles. They show how an actor must act like an actor, look like and actor, and feel like an actor in order to be an actor. Reading this book, working actors will encounter themselves as they “break a leg,” enduring loneliness, insecurity, anonymity, hard work, low pay, terrifying moments, and a lot of waiting, waiting, waiting. What makes it worth it? Because, Mary Rose Betten seems to say, it’s what actors do. Must do. And the reward: that transcendent magic of filling a role and knowing you’ve done it successfully, professionally.

Okay, give it to anyone who likes a good movie,
a good play, a good TV show.

Anyone who loves a good story. Because the poems in this book are narratives, little stories where something happens to someone. They have the elements of drama: plot, character, and setting. And although they’re not afraid of the dark side, the poems also celebrate the joy, and many of them are hilarious. They are also honest. By the end of this book, the reader has come to know Mary Rose Betten well. She has a sense of humor, a sense of humanity, a generous feeling for the dramatic. She is an actor.

Mary Rose Betten is the author of a one-woman show, Mary M—A Visit With the Magdalene, which is included in her book of meditation drama, People of the Passion. She also wrote two published chapbooks, Hanging Out With Loose Words (Foothills Press, New York) and The Prodigal Son’s Mother (Finishing Line Press, Book of the Month, July 2009). Her work appears in the 2008 Wom-Po Listserve anthology “Letters To The World” (Red Hen Press).  She teaches writing workshops in the Santa Barbara area and serves on the faculty of A Room of Her Own, at Ghost Ranch, New Mexico. She lives in Camarillo, California, with her husband, theologian Dr. Patrick Mitchell, with whom she leads workshops on spirituality and the arts.

Praise for Finding Your Best Angle 

“The experience of being an actor distilled into its very essence. Brilliantly original, at once both deeply moving and deeply hilarious.”
—Lynn Redgrave
“‘Give this to an actor,’ just like the book says. But read it first—for a real glimpse into the backstage of a heart.”
—Ursula K. LeGuin

“Poems with delightful but savvy insights, put to paper with good humor, charm, kindness, style, know-how and the ideal pinches of pepper.”
—Robert Osborne, TV Host of Turner Classic Movies

“Ms. Betten’s poems resonated with me. What a lovely gift to all actors.”
—Marsha Mason
 “With this collection of delightful poems, Mary Rose Betten gives us an insight to the inner life of the much needed, but often overlooked, actor known as the ‘Character Actor.’ Funny and sometimes heartbreaking, you’ll never be able to look at a movie the same way again.”
—Fannie Flagg

Read Mary Rose Betten's Partial Acting Résumé

Read about the book and Mary Rose Betten in the Ventura County Star


Finding Your Best Angle
by Mary Rose Betten
ISBN 978-156474-486-9
80 pages, paperback, $12.00

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