Finding your acting class – an actor’s guide
Training is essential for an actor. There are so many choices and different techniques to choose from. I get asked often about what classes to take, and what are the best choices for their time and money.
What is best and more importantly, what is the best for you? That is your work to do. It’s an individual choice. There are so many choices out there. It can be confusing and overwhelming.
I’ve compiled a checklist of questions and things to consider. You may find it helpful as a guide when looking for an acting class.
- Ask people you know who are in the business. Actors who work and are pursuing careers are a great start. Those referrals are great. Industry referrals even better.
- Google acting classes in your area. Get a list of those that appeal to you geographically as you will need to travel there on a regular basis.
- How long have they been in business? If they’ve been teaching a long time, they are most likely very experienced, knowledgeable, and worth looking at. Experience is key.
- Check the teacher’s bio. Is it a current or former actor? director? casting director? See what’ they’ve done and what their industry experience is. It will help in knowing what their perspective is.
- What is the cost? Does it fit your budget? You want to be able to study on an ongoing basis and be able to afford it. You are in it for the long run; you need to constantly be working on your craft.
- How often does the class meet? Once a week, more than that? Are there other opportunities that you can take advantage of outside of the regular class?
- How many actors in each class? Large classes are impressive to see as it gives the appearance that it’s popular. But how often do you get to work, and how much time do you personally get? That is what you want, personal time.
- What is the homework involved? Find out what the teacher expects of you.
- Be wary of a lot of money up front. You want to make sure it’s a fit. Sometimes you have to try a few different classes to find the voice that speaks to you.
- Look at the web site and see the testimonials. Those are usually legit and are put out by people who truly believe in the class and are willing to put their name on it.
- Does the teacher allow other members of class to give notes or critique the work? Some do. If so, are you ok with that?
- Audit at least 3-5 classes before making your choice. You want to see what’s out there and hear the work from different perspectives.
- Audits can be free or sometimes they charge for them. I am mixed on that, it’s a personal choice. If you do pay for an audit, it should be a working audit where you get to work and be critiqued.
The bottom line is you need to “vibe” it out. How it “feels” when you’re in the space with the teacher and other students is important. What is the “energy” of the room? Is it supportive? Competitive? Aggressive? Spiritual? Psychological? Technical? Friendly? Professional? Fun? When listening to the critiques and coaching you should be following along. It should make sense and speak to you. Does the teacher see you and who you are? Remember, you are looking for an environment where you can put your trust in someone, and allow your vulnerability to come out. Ultimately, you need to feel good about it. Not every class is right for everyone. Don’t be intimidated if it’s not for you. Keep looking.
Final thought – get into, and stay in a good challenging class. Actors need to be on their game and keep their instrument sharp.