Los Angeles acting classes and teachers number well over a thousand. How do you choose the right one?
First, you need to decide what you personally want from taking acting classes here in Los Angeles or anywhere else.
Look for a class taught by seasoned professionals from the top acting conservatories in the world (Yale School of Drama, Carnegie-Mellon University started in 1915, New York University Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Program stared in 1966, and Julliard are the top acting training programs in the United States) who have worked in the industry frequently and have been teaching for a long time.
Find a school that’s real and down-to-earth.
The most satisfying, important, and challenging skill that actors need to have is the ability to self-betray; that is the ability to reveal their secret self and to use their unique, personal, private feelings and personality in every performance. And, while Improv has value, you need to be able to do this with someone else's words - not your own.
Here are some guidelines for choosing the best class for you:
Rule #1 – Trust your gut. If it doesn't feel right, it probably isn't. If an acting school sounds too good to be true and is promising you everything, don’t believe it. You’re just going to get a lot of slick marketing hype, false promises, phony gimmicks and naive formulas.
There are no gimmicks and there are no formulas. There is just putting in the time and hard work to learn the skills you really need to do professional-level performances. That’s just as true in acting as in any other profession. If you don’t understand that, you’re going to get hurt.
Any school that promises to teach you everything you need to know in a weekend or 4 weeks or in a 10-week casting director workshop just isn’t being honest.
What percentage of students who attend short-term acting or casting director workshops actually get a career-changing job – or any job? How many of those jobs lead to a real breakthrough in film or television? You know the answer. If it were that easy, everyone would be a big success.
Would you want to have a surgeon operate on you who had taken a workshop in surgery??? If you were a producer or writer or director with your whole career and millions of dollars at stake, would you want to hire someone who had only taken some short-term acting workshop, bootcamp, intensive, or the like?
Also, please remember that no school can fulfill the promise of getting you an agent, manager, or work – and it’s illegal to do so.
The actors you admire have been working on their acting for years. They didn't do “intensives” or study short-term and become stars. They did many kinds of classes over a long period of time. Leonardo DiCaprio started acting when he was 9 years old and still has an acting coach on set when he does a film. Angelina Jolie (with all her beauty and contacts via her Oscar award winning father Jon Voight) studied acting. So did Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep (Yale grad), Kevin Spacey (Julliard grad), Robin Williams (Julliard grad), Anthony Hopkins, Ben Kingsley and on and on.
We’d all like to find a bootcamp or 10-week workshop intensive that would give us everything we need to be a big success. But, we really know better. There is no such thing. Don’t become part of that vast number of new students who get taken in. There is no instant!
Don’t waste your money (which you can replace) and your time (which you can’t get back and is your most precious commodity) enriching someone else other than yourself.www.davidkagen.com