How Do You Choose The Right Acting Classes?

by Anthony Smith

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Let me share with you my criteria for choosing an acting school, classes, or acting coach.

Have you chosen your acting classes based on certain criteria or have you chosen it just because you know someone else who is going there? Do you know what you are looking for? Have you shopped around? If you haven't, how do you know there isn't another method of acting that is more conducive to your learning style?

I, like many other actors had chosen to study with some teachers, because I knew other people who were studying with them. While I must admit that I learned a lot from their acting classes, I didn't always feel that I was making progress as quickly as I could have or I didn't feel comfortable with the method they used or how they were teaching me. I also believed that in some respects I wasn't ready for their acting classes. In addition, I didn't always feel that they really cared much whether I learned or not. While I have thick skin and can take criticism, I also wanted to feel that my teacher was interested in my learning. I didn't always feel that way, so I changed teachers until I was satisfied.

The school where I have chosen to study has met my criteria. While doing research some three years ago to look for the right place to take acting classes, I interviewed different teachers and there was one in particular who stood out from the rest. Her name is Wendy Ward and she's the director of the Ward Acting Studio in New York. She specializes in the Meisner technique, which I have found personally to give me the greatest results in making me a better actor, the quickest.

Let me share with you my criteria for the choice of an acting school or place just to take acting classes. They are not listed in any particular order.

    My Criteria
  • Teachers have experience acting
  • Provides ongoing training (ongoing classes)
  • Has a base technique
  • Has a technique that is conducive to my style of learning
  • Has a technique that gets me results as quickly as possible and that is easy to use
  • Faculty that is serious and professional
  • Teachers who care about my learning, who push me and challenge me, and who will kick me in the butt if necessary
  • Teachers who don't treat me like a number
  • Teachers who take pride in the development of their students and who really care
  • Cost of classes within my budget
  • Class times suitable for my schedule
  • Offers a variety of classes that are complementary to each other so that I can stay at the same school and practice the technique in all the classes I take there. (It helps to stay focused instead of taking a technique class at one school, audition technique at another, scene study at another, and so on. However, it might not be possible to do everything at one school. This is what I preferred a few years ago, when I was just starting out. Most schools usually specialize in one thing or do one thing really well. If you can find a school that does more than one thing well, that's a plus. Just a thought.)
  • Doesn't play favorites
  • Everyone is treated equally and fairly

These are my criteria for choosing acting classes. When you are choosing a school, I would suggest for you to have some criteria of your own. If you don't know what you are looking for and why, then any school and any teacher (and maybe even at any price) will do. Know what it is you are looking for instead of just going to a school because one of your friends or someone you know is going there. Know what it is that will make you stay there. Have clear objectives for what it is you want to accomplish. I know it's not always easy, especially now that you are maybe just beginning this new way of thinking, but the more you do it, the more comfortable you will feel and the easier it will become. In the beginning when you don't know anything, it is difficult, but as you continue in your new profession, things will become clearer to you.
Anthony Smith left a successful corporate career as a senior manager in Nike and Levi's after 15 years to follow his dream of becoming an entrepreneur, writer, motivational speaker and actor. While enjoying success in his "new" life, Anthony shares his business insight and acting experience with young actors. Aside from acting work, he has created and his first book, "Acting Career Start-Up: Four Key Factors For Success," is available now.

Copyright © Anthony Smith. Used with permission of the author. All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced or distributed.
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Reader Comments

This post is wonderfull! It's helping me very much!

Posted by Frede Ramos (2009-09-30) 2130

I think these tips help any actor of any age. Even with connections in showbiz these tips helped me to.

Posted by actresswithbrains:) (2009-02-24) 1057

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