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6 Steps To Find The Perfect Acting Class For You (Part 1 of 3): Sorting, Sifting & Being Specific

acting class part 1

This is Part One of a three-part series on finding the perfect acting class for you.

Part 1: [You Are Here] Sorting, Sifting & Being Specific
Part 2:  6 Things To Look For When You Audit An Acting Class
Part 3:  The Acting Class Bottom Line: How Much Does A Good One Cost?

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Finding the perfect acting class for you sounds simple, but it’s far from it.

And let’s face it, it’s an important choice because who you entrust your most vulnerable, creative self with can have a major impact on you, your process and your career as an actor.

In just a sec, I’ll show you the  first half of the 6-step process you can use to make sure you’re in good hands, with the right teacher in the right class at the right time for you.

Because if you don’t get these six steps down, you could wind up wasting a lot of money, time and a piece of your delicate creative soul on the wrong teacher (if you’re not careful)…

For example, you could end up with:

  • “THE DRILL SERGEANT” – The teacher that loves to judge you, yelling but most of all making you feel bad for what you’re doing, trying or even asking…
  • “MR. FEEL GOOD” – This type of teacher tells you everything you did was great and doesn't offer any specific, usable feedback that helps you develop your craft.
  • “MRS. MONOLOGUE” – This type of teacher talks more than they listen and often drones on and on, monologuing you to death with stories of their glory days, in love with the sound of their own voice.

Or it could be way simpler…

Maybe the teacher you chose just doesn’t “click” with you. Their teaching style doesn’t really have an impact on you. Or their feedback just doesn’t gel with your learning style.

Or perhaps, you simply realize the other students are at a completely different level than you…

…either more advanced and you just can’t keep up or…

…not advanced enough and you are not challenged; you feel more like the teacher with your own scene partner instead of a student, working with someone near your own skill level, allowing you both to grow as actors.

The list of scenarios is endless (unfortunately).

And you don’t have time, money or energy to waste on the wrong acting class, right?

Good!

So, let’s dig into the 6 steps to find the perfect acting class for you.

STEP 1: START WITH THE END IN MIND

When you’re looking for an acting class, you need to know what your end goal is.  This may seem obvious …at first.

You might be thinking, “Well, my goal is to be a better actor!”

Great, but you need to be more specific.

Is your goal to:

  • Learn the fundamentals of acting, because you’re new?…
  • Take the acting skills you already have to the next level?…
  • Improve a specific skill like auditioning on camera, doing comedy, transitioning from theatre to film acting?…

No matter what your goal is, you need to find a class that is aligned with that specific goal.

acting class be specific

WARNING: Whatever you do, don’t skip this step.

Skipping this is one of the easiest ways to fall into the wrong class.

Once you’ve established your end goal, you can move on to step number two…

STEP 2: KNOW WHAT YOU’RE LOOKING FOR


FOR EXPERIENCED ACTORS

If you’re a more experienced actor, and you already have foundational level acting skills (or better), you may be looking to find the class that will take you to the next level.

Ask yourself:

“What is it that I’m trying to improve?”

Here are some examples…

  • If you’re getting feedback in the audition room that you’re “too big”, then you may want to take an on-camera class, so you can learn to modulate your performance for camera.
  • If you find yourself thinking too much or you get feedback that you’re not listening, you may want to find a class that’s more Meisner-focused where the emphasis is on presence, listening and connection.
  • If you need help in character work, breaking down a scene, creating a world and doing your “homework”, perhaps more of a method-oriented style of class is what you need.

There are so many more, but you get the idea, right?

When it comes to acting, you can’t go wrong when you choose to BE SPECIFIC.

FOR NEWER ACTORS

Now, if you’re newer to acting, this may be a bit more challenging for you.

In order to know what you’re looking for, you’ll need to have a basic understanding of different acting techniques…

Understanding the difference between Meisner and Method or any of the various acting styles is key.

If you’re new, you’ve got to get educated on the basics. And if you’re not, that’s okay. That’s why we have Amazon. In other words, read and get educated!

New Actor 8-Step Blueprint – Free Webclass

Join Me On My Upcoming Free Online Training For New Actors

Discover Me Blueprint: 8 Steps To Become A Professional Actor When You Don't Know Where To Start

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Now, onto the next step…

STEP 3: DO YOUR RESEARCH

Don’t just assume that because a class looks good on paper, it’s going to be the right fit for you.

An acting class is an investment of your time and money. In order to know you’re spending wisely, you need to do your homework.

Research the class.

Vet the teacher.

Google is a great place to start your research. You can also check out actor groups on Facebook.

Backstage is another helpful platform to take advantage of – you’ll find it has a pretty extensive list of acting classes in the bigger markets to use as a jumping off point for your research.

So go online and read the reviews.

But don’t just accept the first thing you read.

REMEMBER: When researching an acting class or acting teacher, never listen to just one source.

One person’s opinion is just one person’s opinion. Look at a number of different sources. Get referrals from prior students. Ask other actors, Casting Directors, or agents and see what they think too.

The key is to get a macro view of as many different sources as you can so you get the whole picture and can make an educated choice.

But, wait!  We're not done yet.

WHAT'S NEXT

In Part 2 of this series, we’re talking about auditing (why, when, how and what to look for, warning signs, and more).

Remember, without the whole picture, you might end up wasting your time and money (and potentially some of your self-esteem) in a class where you really don’t belong.

So make sure to read Part 2 now!

Your turn! Were these first three steps to finding the perfect acting class helpful? Which step resonated with you the most? Tell me about it in the comments below… :-)

You DESERVE the Red Carpet!
~Amy

P.S.  New to professional acting?  Join me for the upcoming Discover Me Blueprint free web-class and learn the 8-steps your need to know to become a professional working actor …the right way.

Amy Jo Berman - Acting Coach
Amy Jo Berman's Tips On Acting & Auditioning Blog
Email: Asst@AmyJoBerman.com
“I show actors how to take the struggle out of ‘struggling actor'!”

Did this post on how to find the perfect acting class help you? If so, I would greatly appreciate if you commented below and shared on Facebook.

  • Adrian Spero

    Thanks Amy Jo! I love reading your tips and love how you interact with all of us👍
    I’m 13 and have been acting and modeling for 1 year. Have built a great beginning Resume . How do I find people who teach those techniques you mention like Meisner? Most classes in my area just show kids Slate, Commercials or script . ?

    • Congratulations on following your passion Adrian! Now, as for finding classes, if you’re in a smaller market you might have to dig a bit further to find what you’re looking for. I would definitely enlist the help of a parent, if you haven’t already. Also, your school drama teacher might be able to point you toward some local resources. Same for community theatres in your area. Most of all, start with READING. Read as much as you can about acting in addition to taking classes. Deal?

  • Anna Martin

    This post is so timely for me! Thank you! I have been a professional actor for over 20 yrs now in MN and am finally moving to LA this summer. All of your posts have been so helpful for me to help weed through all of the info that is being thrown at me as to first steps, what I absolutely HAVE to do and the best ways to transition to the larger market. You break it all down into such simple steps! Thanks for taking away the overwhelm! I think step #2 of knowing what I am looking for in a class is going to be key for me finding the right class when I get out there. I look forward to the second half next week!

  • Nancy Sokerka

    Thanks so much Amy! It can be so daunting to try and find the right fit that’s not a waste of time and money. Step 2 was especially helpful in that area. It seems obvious but I hadn’t thought about relating the technique being taught to the area where I needed improvement.

  • Thank you Amy, all makes perfect sense :)

  • Vic Clay

    I read the first 2 parts and there is one other major concern that comes up for me. I have bad hearing and wear 2 hearing aids so I audit with a particular emphasis on how well I can hear in the class. That can be dictated by one or a combination of factors. The way the instructor speaks/projects, the acoustics of the room, the location and time of year, proximity to the teacher and/or the loudspeakers if applicable just for a sampling.
    I mention this because there could be other actors/students that have special needs and need to be reminded to be sure that the situation can meet those needs. Ex: I recently completed a 16 week class. The first week I barely heard anything and I was heartbroken and told them. Starting on the second week they had a very small personal wireless P.A. with handheld wireless mic that was passed around any time anyone would speak. It literally brought me to tears being accommodated like that.

  • Bj Wieland-Doucet

    I guess I’ve been VERY lucky in my acting classes/ coaching. The 3 teachers I’ve had, so far, have been just what I needed at the time. 1 is kind of in the “loves his own voice” category BUT we don’t end the class till everyone has a chance to work.

  • Alice Williams

    Thanks for this information. I am new. So this is very helpful.