What classes and training are right for you? – Featured Article

Written by | The Craft of Acting

Learn the variety of classes that are out there and find the right one for you!

Every career requires some form of training, even if it’s on-the-job education. Many people think of acting as silly and frivolous, but in all reality, it is a business and an art form which takes years to develop. Thus, education is a must. Every actor needs to take classes. No matter how great people tell you you are, there is always room for improvement and things you can learn not only about the art of acting but the business side or how to prepare for situations you might face such as cold reading and auditions. Plus, even after you’ve learned the various techniques, tips, and tricks, it’s smart to remain in classes to keep your skills fresh and up to date in order to be as on top of your game as possible in the competitive marketplace.

Acting is a business and an art form which takes years to develop.

Navigating the world of acting classes can seem tricky at first because there are so many different options. The first thing you have to ask yourself is what kind of actor do you want to be? That may sound strange because you’re used to saying “I want to be an actor” or “I am an actor,” but what kind of actor? You can act in commercials, television, movies, voiceovers, in theater, doing live productions, traveling around the world, work at an amusement park, or even do party entertainment. So what kind of actor do you want to be? If you said you want to do it all, it’s best to just pick a couple avenues to begin your training with and then expand later. The type of actor you want to be will determine which classes are right for you. Here are some of the most common classes available:

 

Scene Study – In this set of classes, you learn about how to read a script and figure out what the story is all about. Scene study is appropriate for all kinds of actors. Think of scene study as a form of English class which helps you better understand character motivation, how that translates into actions, and how to interpret a script. Since all forms of acting (besides improvisation) require a script, this is important to master.

Commercial Technique – Commercials may seem simple, but there is a whole technique as to how to audition which can make or break you in an audition. Do you know how to properly slate, turn profile, and answer the personality questions they ask? You learn all that plus how to be more spontaneous, read cue cards, and relate to the camera and product in commercial technique classes.

Cold Reading – When you go to an audition and the casting director throws script sides at you and says “go”, that’s a cold reading. It’s the most difficult thing you’ll ever do as an actor. Without any (or very little) preparation you have to act out a script you may have only looked over once and are expected to be perfectly in character and present yourself like a professional. It’s mind boggling. If you want to work in television you have to take cold reading classes because this sort of scenario happens all the time in television work. Learning how to take a foreign script and make magic happen within a couple minutes is a talent you have to develop and continue to work at maintaining.

Monologues – Since it’s only you and the material, you have monologues that can be very difficult. There’s no response or cues from another actor to draw from; thus, everything must be internal and imagined. Mastering monologues are important for theater actors who will often be asked to perform one at auditions.

Voiceovers – The voiceover business is the most lucrative sector of the acting industry because it’s fun, it doesn’t matter what you look like, you can work in your pajamas if you want, and the money is great. However, breaking into this niche business is extremely difficult. You have to know how to speak properly into microphones, use your vocal qualities properly, and have several tricks up your sleeve, such as accents, fluent languages, strange character voices, and more. Plus, on top of all that, you have to be able to act and react as you would on camera. It’s a tough one to be great at, but well worth it if you make it big.

Theater Technique – The projection, presentation to the audition, and even expression are very different in theater work than film work. If you want to be a theater actor you need to take theater technique classes, which will teach these things as well as review theater terms so you’ll know when someone tells you to do something like move “upstage left”.

Improvisation – Expand your imagination, work on your physical movement, and improve your comedic timing with improvisation classes. Actors of all sorts can benefit from improv because it works your mind and other talents. You never know what might be thrown at you during an audition, so the more capable you are of thinking quick and reacting, the better off you’ll be for all your audition experiences, especially commercials. 

Private Coaching – If you have a big audition coming up, you might consider seeing a coach who will help you with the sides and work on your technique. A coach is good to turn to for advice when you have an important movie or Broadway auditions which could be your big break. Coaching can give you that extra edge you need to book the role.

When looking for classes, ask your acting friends or colleagues. Look online at message boards and forums to see what others have to say about places you are investigating. Avoid “acting schools” or “acting institutes”, as these are more often than not scams which charge outrageous fees and teach basic skills while delivering outdated information. Training is important. Stay in class and watch as your talent and understanding of what acting is all about grows each day.

Editor’s note: We offer private coaching at https://reelguru.com/coaching/. Check it out and see if it’s the right fit for you!

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Last modified: August 13, 2017

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