Information, Education, and Inspiration

Learn about the art and

business of



"An actor does not 
figure out how to say the lines that are written for a character. An actor figures out why a character says the lines."

"The main goal of an audition is to prepare, execute what you 
have prepared and walk away without any regrets."

"As a beginning actor, your focus should be on developing 
as an artist. An artist expresses original ideas. Or he 
expresses old ideas in an original way." 

Excerpts from

The Young Actor's Handbook 

by Jeremy Kruse

The Young Actor's Handbook

The way some introductory acting books are written, it seems that a literal leg break is your best option. In The Young Actor's Handbook, Jeremy Kruse, an actor, writer, producer, and director who teaches method acting, acting for camera, improvisation, and sketch comedy at The Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York, mends this mangled genre, distilling invaluable lessons and years of experience down to a lean, mean, intuitive hundred page primer. 

Rather than bludgeoning the uninitiated with dense paragraphs, vague concepts, and opaque examples, The Young Actor's Handbook ignites the beginning actor's creative soul with inspirational acting exercises, acting theory, writing exercises, and insight into what it means to be an actor. This concise and pragmatic manual will guide and inform the young actor, beginning actor, novice acting teacher, or anyone who wants to understand acting through a broad and diverse survey of essential knowledge. The teachings of Richard Boleslavsky, Stella Adler, Sanford Meisner, Uta Hagen, Michael Shurtleff, Lee Strasberg, and Constantin Stanislavsky are eloquently and accessibly rendered, as are basics of script analysis, camera technique, the audition mindset, agent acquisition, and the actor’s life. 

Whether you're a curious novice, veteran acting teacher, or even an interested observer, The Young Actor's Handbook will enhance your understanding of this vast and rewarding craft.

YoungActor'sHandbook_table of contents.j

Table of contents.

Vincent D'Onofrio Testimonial


"Jeremy Kruse's book, "The Young Actor’s Handbook", leads the young actor on the correct path. Jeremy is an experienced acting teacher who has broken down acting in an academic way while nurturing the soul of the actor. He understands the emotional aspects of good acting. I commend Jeremy and believe he has accomplished quite a feat in writing "The Young Actors Handbook."


Vincent D'Onofrio - actor, producer, and singer. He is known for his roles as Private  Leonard Lawrence ("Gomer Pyle") in Stanley Kubrick's war film Full Metal Jacket (1987), Wilson Fisk in the Netflix series Daredevil, Edgar/the Bug in Men in Black (1997), and Detective Robert Goren in the crime television series Law & Order: Criminal Intent. He has also co-starred in The Judge (2014), Run All Night (2015), Jurassic World (2015) and The Magnificent Seven (2016). He recently played Vincent "Chin" Gigante in Godfather of Harlem and is currently filming The Eyes of Tammy Faye.

Kirkus Review

"Both aspiring actors and curious observers will find something to ponder in this excellent manual." - Kirkus Reviews

Read the full review

Geoffrey Horne Testimonial


“I have difficulty reading acting books. I still haven’t finished “An Actor Prepares” by Constantin Stanislavski, which I started to read in 1950. But, Jeremy’s book, “The Young Actor’s Handbook,” is easy to read. It is beautifully organized, intelligent, challenging and comprehensive.”


Geoffrey Horne - Geoffrey started studying with Lee Strasberg in 1954 and has been a teacher at The Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York since 1978. 

Irma Sandrey Testimonial

“Jeremy was my student at The Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute through New York University. His book, “The Young Actor’s Handbook,” presents the fundamental acting principles that every actor and acting teacher should know. It clarifies concepts that sometimes take years to understand. The performance material is excellent. Jeremy has expertly compiled a manual that will serve the theatre and film community for years to come.”


Irma Sandrey - Irma acted in leading roles on Broadway, on off-Broadway, in regional theatres, on television and on film. She taught acting at The Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute from 1976 to 2016.


​Ten Things Every Actor Should Know

  1. Acting is a lifelong pursuit that requires daily practice.

  2. Success is not determined by how much money you make or awards you win.

  3. Your interpretation of the character you are playing is one of the things that distinguishes you as an actor.

  4. The degree of sensitivity an individual possesses and the depth of his imagination reflects his level of acting talent.

  5. You are not in competition with other actors.

  6. An acting career requires tremendous business acumen.

  7. Quiet confidence commands respect.

  8. A smart actor respects the acting techniques of other actors.

  9. A smart actor is well read, well educated and aware of what is happening in the theater and film world.

  10. A smart actor is an artist who understands the human condition and human behavior and has insight into the world in which he lives.



Four Additional Things Every Actor Should Know

  1. You must maintain a positive attitude, have good sense of humor, be persistent and be patient when it comes to getting work. 

  2. There are thousands of actors fighting for the same opportunities you want.

  3. You only have control over your work ethic. You have no control over whether you get cast.

  4. Creating your own work and meeting likeminded people leads to work and a healthy creative soul.



Five Things Filmmakers Forget About Actors

  1. Actors need time to prepare and rehearse before a shoot and while on set.

  2. When a filmmaker imposes his interpretation of a character on an actor, the results can be less than favorable.

  3. Excessive analysis of the interpretation of the character does not help actors. 

  4. Actors appreciate positive feedback throughout the filmmaking process.

  5. Actors do not want to receive direction or feedback from anyone other than the filmmaker.


Character Dynamic:

  • Normal person in a strange land.

  • Strange person in a normal land..


If you are new to acting, Jeremy can teach you what it takes to be an actor and how to bring a character to life.


Are you working on a part for a play or film and need assistance?


Do you need to prepare for an audition? Do you want to learn about the business of acting? Script analysis?

Jeremy offers on-line coaching.

Contact Jeremy with regard to in- person coaching and workshops.

Recommended Films

for Actors Over 13 Years Old


  • Godfather I and II

  • Sophie’s Choice

  • Tender Mercies


  • Tootsie

  • The Producers

  • Postcards from The Edge


  • 400 Blows

  • The Bicycle Thief


  • City Lights

  • A Streetcar Named Desire

  • The Kid

Films with Young Actors

  • Stand By Me

  • My Bodyguard

  • This Boy’s Life

Recommended Documentary Films

for Actors Over 13 Years Old

Documentary films are an excellent way for an actor to study people and situations. 

35 Up

Born Rich

The Civil War (Ken Burns)

Daughter from Danang

The Fog of War

The Kid Stays in the Picture

Looking for Richard

My Kid Could Paint That

Sherman’s March

Major Playwrights (Partial List)


Anton Chekhov


Arthur Miller

August Strindberg

August Wilson

Bertolt Brecht

Edward Albee

Eugene O'Neill


George Bernard Shaw

Harold Pinter

Henrik Ibsen

Neil Simon

Samuel Beckett


Tennessee Williams

William Shakespeare

Recommended Plays

Classic Plays

A Doll’s House

A Streetcar Named Desire

Death of a Salesman

Richard III

Waiting for Godot

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf

Our Town

The Seagull

Plays with Parts for Young Actors

A Raisin in the Sun
Biloxi Blues
Crimes of the Heart
Summer and Smoke
The Effects of Gamma Rays on Man in the Moon Marigolds


Sketch Comedy

Writing Dissection 


  • Establish location, relationship and what is happening.

  • Establish the character's objectives.

  • Establish the "funny" or the "game."


  • Character driven/observational.

  • Parody:

    • Commercial​

    • Film/TV show

    • Movie trailer​​

  • Absurd.

  • News.

Character Dynamic

  • Normal person in a strange land. 

  • Strange person in a normal land. ​


  • Heighten the "game" by creating obstacles for the characters.

Basic Comedic Tools:

  • Exaggerate.

  • Unexpected action/response.

  • Inappropriate action/response.


  • "Soft landing"

    • A character gets what he wants.

    • A character does not get what he wants.

  • Twist

    • A character's need changes.​

    • The situation changes.

  • ​Punch Line​

    • Verbal or physical.​

    • A recall.

  • ​Cliffhanger.
  • Heighten.

NOTE: There can be a combination of the

            above endings.

  • Hard Out - blackout.

  • Soft Out - fade to black..

Directing Sketch Comedy


Jeremy Kruse is an actor, writer, filmmaker, and producer. He has been involved in numerous plays, sketch comedy shows, films, commercials, and televisions spots in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. His book, The Young Actor’s Handbook (Applause Theatre and Cinema Books) was published in 2017. His documentary film, Lee Strasberg’s Method, was an official selection at the SOHO International Film Festival NYC. Anti-narrative Number 4, his short film, won the "Director's Choice" award at the San Francisco International Festival of Short Films. His play, Lockers, is published by Dramatic Publishing and has been produced in the United States and abroad. Jeremy taught Method Acting, Acting for TV and Film, Improvisation, Acting for Independent Films, Creating Your Own Work, Sketch Comedy Writing and Sketch Comedy Performance at The Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York. Kruse graduated from the Lee Strasberg Theater Institute at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts where he majored in drama. He also studied at The Second City in Chicago. He teaches acting and dramatic writing classes at Gorton Community Center in Lake Forest, IL and also coaches and consult actors on their careers privately. Jeremy lives in Lake Forest, IL with his wife and daughter.



©2019 by Young Actors.