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Everybody has to start with the basics in acting class. Your first classes should teach you the basics of movement and voice. Learn how to hold your body for maximum breath control and healthy posture. Improv classes are also a wonderful way to learn to use your body effectively. When studying voice, practice projection, annunciation, and breathing. Basic classes will cover these skills. Once you have your instrument tuned, you should move onto scene study courses.
Scenes practiced in acting class should not be taken lightly. Prepare each scene as if you are training for a comprehensive production. Any new skills that you are taught in class should be implemented immediately. Use them in class and student projects in order to become more comfortable with them. During presentation of scenes, stay open to direction from your instructor. Don't argue about your motivation or why you chose to employ a certain technique. The instructor may be trying to teach you a new angle or break you of a habit you're not aware of, thereby making you a better actor.
Your early acting trainingshould cover a course on improvisation. Improvisation skills will build much needed flexibility as a creative thinker in your craft. They can also give you some experience with comedy work, which is very marketable in terms of film and television. Not all Improv classes are comedic in nature. Many simply give you exercises to loosen your body and relax your critical brain. Those skills are imperative as they allow your performances to remain fresh.
Eventually, training and feedback will begin to teach you which new skills you need to acquire. Use this knowledge to guide your selection of acting classes. Before enrolling in a class, check out the teacher's prior experience and qualifications. Is s/he known for fostering talent? Talk to other students, and find out if the teacher makes himself or herself available to student's questions. If possible, find out if you can audit the course before fully committing to it.
The SFT offers excellent acting classes that help you to gain advice and feedback from professional actors. The school's Tuesday evening “Meet the Pros” session allows students to meet face-to-face with some of the very professionals they will be auditioning for. It's a great way for students to gain a handle on current industry trends and make connections. Each session has a Q&A portion, allowing students to pick the brains of industry pros. Most importantly, at the end of each session, students are given an opportunity to meet with the speakers individually for a feedback session.
There are few people more important to the career of an actor than the person they choose to train them. Every actor who is taking their career seriously will eventually find themselves at the hands of a (hopefully) capable acting coach and it is absolutely imperative that they find the right coach for them. With so much variety and room for technique in the acting world this can be a little difficult. Fortunately there are a few easy ways to find the right acting coach.
1 - LOOK LOCAL
Speaking from experience, having an acting coach a short drive away will dramatically increase your commitment to the training. A long drive just kills motivation. Looking through the internet or phone books can lead you to a list of acting coaches.
2 - LOOK FOR ACCLAIMED COACHES
Good training is as important as a good role on your resume. An acclaimed teacher, one that is popular with the local agencies, can help lead you to a leg up on the competition when it comes time to attend those casting calls.
3 - LOOK FOR THE RIGHT TECHNIQUE
Are you a method actor? Or do you prefer a more laid back approach? Reading up on the basic techniques employed by famous actors can lead to a dearth of good information. Once you find a technique that interests you, you can start searching for an acting coach that employs that technique.
4 - ASK FOR SUGGESTIONS
Don't be afraid to ask your acting and industry buddies for suggestions. "Knowing somebody" is as important in this business as your actual God-given abilities. The right referral could lead to a great instructor and continued success once you have quit going to your acting class.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|