How to choose the right acting school for you
If you’re ready to pursue your dream of being an actor, then choosing an acting school is likely top of your to-do list.
It’s true that formal qualifications for acting don’t exist in the same way they do for other career paths such as medicine or law.
However, attending acting classes is highly recommended and something that agents, casting directors, filmmakers and more all look favourably on.
So how do you go about choosing an acting school? Are they all the same? Let’s find out.
What Makes For A Great Acting School?
While a school’s reputation for churning out well-known and successful actors is always a good sign, this is not what truly makes a school better than another.
Ultimately, it is the teachers within the school that determine whether it is great or not. Without great teachers, no school can succeed in supporting your acting goals.
A school’s teachers should be supportive no matter your skill level. They should know how to push you out of your comfort zone while still helping you feel safe, have their own experience as an actor and be focused on your growth at all times.
If you come across teachers who act more than teach, constantly name-drop, criticise more than encourage or similar, these are major red flags.
Choosing The Right School For You
In addition to the calibre of teachers available, there are several other things to consider before choosing the ideal school for you.
Firstly, you should make a shortlist to investigate. To do this, we recommend seeking recommendations from actors or other industry professionals you associate with.
Online research is also a highly valuable tool for this. Look for reviews from current and former students and pay close attention to both good and bad feedback.
Weigh the information you receive carefully. Just because it wasn’t right for one person, doesn’t mean it won’t be the right acting school for you.
You should also consider:
Variety Of Class Types
Does the school cater to different skill levels? Ensuring they offer beginner, intermediate and advanced classes is important.
Not only does this ensure you are able to attend a class that best suits where you are currently, it means that you have the capacity to advance in the same school.
The skills being taught in classes offered are just as important as the skill level. Is there a good variety of comedic, dramatic and romantic acting techniques among others being taught?
What about practical elements such as memorisation, communication, teamwork, networking or similar? Are there enough opportunities to practise newly acquired skills before moving onto the next lesson?
Your school’s curriculum should offer a well-rounded approach to teaching that supports you in all areas of your career development.
Class Schedules & Accessibility
Knowing that most budding actors are working side jobs while chasing their acting dreams, does your school offer a flexible class schedule?
What happens if you cannot attend, is that class fee lost or are make-up sessions allowed?
In line with make-up classes, how accessible are classes? Is there an option to attend online if you are unable to attend in person due to a casting call or work responsibilities?
Knowing the answers to these questions can help you choose a school that meets your scheduling needs more closely.
Class sizes can vary significantly depending on the school you attend. Be sure to check normal class sizes and how comfortable you are with the numbers provided.
Small classes are great for more one-on-one guidance but larger ones can also help you feel less exposed at the start.
It’s important to find one that appeals to you and that you will enjoy, otherwise you’re less likely to gain from it.
Method Of Teaching
Not all schools teach the same acting method. At The Actor’s Pulse, we teach the Meisner technique to inform our approach which is a natural, more instinctive method.
Other methods include Stanislakvskis’s Method, which the Meisner technique expanded upon, Laban Movement, Chekhov’s Technique and Method acting among others.
Look at where you hope to act in future and the types of acting you want to do as this will help you determine which method is best for you.
For example, if your dream is the silver screen in Hollywood, the American-style Meisner Technique is well-received in the USA film, television and theatre industries.
Of course the cost has to come into it at some point. If your preferred school is out of budget it’s okay to begin with one that is and work your way up so long as it still ticks the right boxes.
Some schools will offer pay-as-you-go options or a payment plan to help with this. If you don’t see this offered it doesn’t hurt to ask what your options are for payment too.
Asking more information regarding payment options could also see you offered alternative class options or other avenues for lessons that better suit you. It’s always worth asking as not everything is always listed on a school’s website.
Is An Online Only School Okay?
While online classes are a wonderful tool and helpful for those with difficulties attending in person, we don’t suggest this as your only avenue for learning.
To develop your skills and properly guide you, teachers need to see you in person and watch you interact with your peers.
For this reason, a school that offers both online and in-person classes is ideal. This allows for flexibility when you need it without depriving you of essential in-person opportunities.
The Actors Pulse – For Actors Of All Ages & Skill Levels
Whether you are just getting started or have been acting for years and need to refine and hone your skills, we can help.
We offer a range of classes in-person and online that allows our attendees to find the ideal teaching solution for their needs.
Highly experienced and dedicated to the professional growth and success of our students, The Actors Pulse is ready to support you to achieve your dreams. Call today on 0414 475 515.
Billy Milionis is one of the few Australians to have ever studied under the legendary master teacher, the late Sanford Meisner. Billy has also studied story structure and scene analysis techniques with John Truby and later at UCLA. He has also spent several years doing improvisation in Hollywood with the L.A. Connection. In addition, he trained in the technique of Stella Adler, Practical Aesthetics and Lee Strasberg’s method.