Yes, it was him alright. I met him when I enlisted in the school and he has a monumental painting of himself so there's no way I could be mistaken. I'm not really trying to bash the guy or slander his name, just sharing my experience which happened to be bad. I'm sure others like your cousin would differ.
There are no top acting schools in general in LA. It just depends on where you fit and what you like. Once you learn the basics of acting, which takes place pretty quickly, you can study anywhere you want and get equal benefit. It is mostly about working in a safe environment under a teacher who offers constructive, beneficial critiques of your work. Once you learn the basics (which again, is pretty fast) it is just a matter of getting up and doing it over and over and over again. And really, you can do it anywhere. Even with a group of friends...and for FREE.
I did Kimberly Jentzen's 3 day intensive here in LA and felt it was a waste of my time and money. It was 3 days of her selling her revised book and talking about casting the war movie she was directing. A lot of non instructional chit chat with a few students that she knew from previous classes. 15 minute breaks would turn into 45 or an hour. I got nothing out of it. Other than she has a huge ego. I did get to take home a deck of her Emotion Cards though...
I am currently studying with Meindl and like him very much. Not everyone is going to love a teacher. Every single acting teacher in LA has those who love them and those who hate them. It depends on you, the actor, what you like and where you fit in.
My beef with most acting teachers in this town is there is too much emphasis on "The Power of Positive Thinking". The whole "If you close your eyes really hard, click your heels together three times, then you will likely land in Oz" BS is just too misleading in my opinion. I know they have to teach that to an extent, because most people in LA are all about achieving stardom. They could careless about true acting technique.
But hey, gotta give the people what they want ... to an extent ...or you will be out of business very soon.
Yet you enjoy the most notorious Tony Robbins wannabe in LA...
My friend, most acting teachers are tony robbins...they have to be. You know that.
Yes, but you're studying with the BIGGEST wannabe of them all.
I met & worked with actors who are studying with the great (Castle, Fine, Meindl, etc.) and... no, great classes do not make you great actors. Evaluate yourself. Are you a hard-working, educated, smart actor? If you are, and you are open to new ideas and smart with your choices, you will thrive no matter where you go. Audit the class. See if their approach works for you AND your issues.
EX: I'm very cebrebral and academic (great asset in memorizing and breaking down scripts), but my issue is to get to the emotional core of the character, especially in cold-read. So I take a lot of improv and acting classes that focus on these issues. I also make sure these classes are taught by people who also come from an academic background because then they can understand my problem of over-thinking things and help me find a way around it.
I really advice against taking a class without an audit. Even if they are cheap, promising the moon, and popular. I hear way too many woes from actors who went this route. Luckily I have never had a bad experience spending my money on classes, but I ask around and audit for a month before deciding on one. I highly recommend you take your time for your research. Classes are so expensive, and you don't want to make the wrong choice.
I'm glad you're an academic, that means you understand that your attitude towards others, especially those you disagree with, reflects the level of your intelligence.
I can't give a rec regarding THE top acting classes because, if you read my post, I don't agree with the idea. For me a top acting class is one that helps you, and how do you know if it helps? Are you going to base that on how popular it is? Or how is it going to truly speak to you and your issues?
If people just want a list of acting classes that everyone knows and respects (doesn't matter if they help them), then I think that list can be found on Top Rated Acting Classes of 20-- on Backstage. Again, I mentioned some of those names as well. But how is it going to help reharshing those names? I used myself as an ex. to show how my process worked for me, and that's my 2 cents. I can't speak for others. I don't know the "one" answer, so I shared the answer I found for myself. People care too much about "names". That's a problem. That was my point.
Im gonna throw out a shout out to Amy Lyndon for this thread as well.
I studied with Amy for a few months right before my break and will be going back to study with her next year but prior to that I had had stops at 3 different acting classes looking for the right fit.
What I realized when I stopped at Amy's class is that I knew had to act.....what I needed to work on was taking what I had already learned and applying it to the audition and realizing HOW to apply it in the right way for each given audition.
Before Amy's class I had started to feel really unchallenged by acting classes......I was not staying long enough with any given one to be in their "master" class and I wanted to work with actors that were working consistantly.....how do you not improve unless your working with good fellow students (IMO)
Amy does a lot of promotion....you have all seen it im sure....but to go along with that she is also a excellent teacher, a former manager, and has a keen eye. She also wont BS you.....she will tell you how it is but does it in a constructive way.
"Its the struggle that makes it great"
I've been seeing more and more local Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre comedians booking great roles on television.
My opinion, join a good comedy theatre.
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Ryan Williams Act Club is negative and unprofessional Acting class His class is taught in hotel rooms and class is suppose to begin at 7pm. He is usually 45 to 1 hour late. When he arrives he then spends an hour name dropping people that he doesn't know in LA and he then claims to have wrote Disturbing Behavior which is a lie.He then proceed to tell his actors to spread negativity to actors when auditioning so when you enter the room you are the only positive actor. He also refuses to give receipts for the 175 you pay for 4 classes. When he critic your scene study he takes 40 minutes to name drop and talk about all the people he knows instead of focusing his critic solely on your craft. So if this seems like the school for you by all means join Act Club
This has and will always be a tough question to answer. Find some friends who's acting you respect and ask them. If you don't have acting friends, that's a problem.
This is what I know.
Diana Castle is best if you are very into diving deep into your character. Serious actors who like drama and theatre flock here. She's fucking good though.
Lesley Kahn is comedy and tv. Someone is right when she said she is like a finishing school. She doesn't teach newbies how to be emotionally available, she teachers people how to "nail" scenes. The people who study with her work a lot and are very well connected. Casting and agents take her calls and even call her for suggestions. She uses scenes from current tv projects for her classes.
Eric Morris is the only teacher I know that gets actors to be emotionally available. His book is crazy and amazing. Not so sure how he is for acting for the biz though.
Ivana Chubbuck looks great on your resume. I've seen a lot of actors who aren't great who are in her master class though. But having names on your resume can help. But like everyone else is saying, you gotta be good.
Howard Fine is who I recommend most for foundation acting. For new people. It's expensive yes. But it's one of the closet you can get to a university experience with it's structure of classes and the students that go there. So if you are deciding between a four year university or a two year acting school, Howard Fine's program is a very good alternative. He knows what he's doing. AADA is my favorite two year program. Please no NYFA. Those actors go no where.
I don't know much about Margie Haber besides she's great at cold reading. People either love or hate her.
Richard Lawson is very good too. He's an actor and he tries to get his students to be very proactive by helping them film scenes. Definitely, has a guru feel to him.
Michael Woodson always has rave reviews. No auditing. Expensive. Casting directors that know him love him. I've never heard a bad thing about him. Not known too much as he doesn't advertise and isn't an egoist. Scene study.
Jack Plotnick is a working actor that runs a great workshop to get you out of your head. Not too expensive and really makes you see acting in a different light. Not for beginners.
Doug Warhit runs an on camera class. Allows auditing. Not too expensive. His private coaching is the cheapest out of the namey acting coaches. He's good. He's straight forward and pretty technical in the way he asks you about your character's life.
Tom Todoroff. Do not go to him. Huge ego and feeds off of your insecurities. Well, to be honest with you, he gives you a lot of freedom to perform what you want to work on. Loose structure to his class. It's just expensive and he has tons of students and lets his class run for like 8 hours. He asks good questions though and he has voice lessons and cd workshops sometimes.
People are talking about Stan Kirsch a lot. Heard he's Lesly Kahn based. So technical, but not as abrasive.
Joseph Pearlman seems to be moving on up too.
There's so many damn acting teachers. Just get in a class. Don't let them manipulative you though.
Playhouse west and BH Playhouse I heard are good too.
Uggh! I wanted to leave right away when I audited his Master Class, but I made a huge mistake by sitting near the front row.
The students in the Master class were AWFUL!
I also wanted to puke when he had his assistant bring his chair up on stage every time he critiqued a scene.
I tried reading Michael Woodson's books and had trouble getting through them because I thought they were too heady for me.
They were a lot like Eric Morris' books where he talked about "emotional triggers".
But a lot of name actors are actually saying great things about him.
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