Experienced or inexperienced, working or not working, all actors benefit greatly from being in an acting class. With so many options to choose from (between commercials, cold-reading, audition technique, scene study, improvisation, on-camera, musical theater, and more), it can be difficult for an actor to decide where to plug in. Always take a studio up on their offer to audit or participate in a free class, because this is the best way to discern what’s right for you. In the meantime, answering these questions should help you choose wisely!
1. Is this a positive environment? The most important characteristic of any classroom is positivity. Why? Because positivity (and constructive criticism) encourages growth as opposed to just plain criticism (which doesn’t encourage anything). When students are constantly being torn down, they become discouraged to learn and may even be tempted to walk away from acting! All teachers should create an environment where students feel free to succeed and fail. People have good and bad days; actors make strong and weak choices. And when you have an off day, you want a caring teacher to encourage you to get back on track with strong acting choices.
2. Can I learn here? First things first, while you’re auditing a free class, ask yourself whether or not you feel like you can learn from a specific instructor. As I discussed above, don’t work with an instructor who just tears people down, instead work with an instructor who builds up his or her students. Is the instructor a clear communicator or does their ego outweigh their teaching? Can you learn and grow from this instructor? And most of all, does the instructor care for their students? If a teacher cares, they’ll invest in your growth.
Secondly, look at your peers. Ask them about their experiences at the acting school. Ask them about their growth as an actor. Then, watch their work. Maybe they aren’t a pro yet, but are they able to make adjustments?
Lastly, a classroom playback is an outstanding learning tool for actors and is essential for an on-camera class. Watching your work week-to-week will allow you to see how you’re growing and improving.
3. Can I build community here? Big cities can be lonely places. It’s important to make friends and get connected. Is a classroom super cliquey? You can either jump in and become part of the circle or, if you’re on the shy side, look for a classroom where the students welcome you wholeheartedly. Classmates can be a great support system for actors. They understand the rejection that comes from auditioning many times without booking anything, and they can lend a compassionate ear .Actors relate to one another. Make friends.
4. Does this studio have industry connections? Once an actor has sharpened their skills, it’s time to audition and book work. All acting studios should help actors build their industry connections, because training an actor in marketing is just as important as training them in acting! Meeting with agents, managers, and casting directors provide opportunity for an actor’s career to move forward. If you’re torn between which studios to join, look at whether or not their actors are working in the industry—it’s always a good sign when the studio has helped actors get work.
There are a multitude of great studios for actors to study at, but with these tips you’ll find the best acting studio for you!
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