Professional advice and guidance for aspiring actors.
Do you have to take acting classes to become a working actor? The answer to that is yes and no.
There are plenty of actors in Hollywood who have become successful despite never attending acting classes. However, it’s a skill and a muscle that must be exercised. If you want fuller, deeper work, then training with experts will help. Do you want guidance on your career? The people you meet in acting classes are the people working in the industry. Creating a team of peers who root for you is essential to a lasting career as an actor.
Acting classes can help you build up a multitude of acting skills. They can also provide you with that much-needed confidence boost and network of support that keeps you moving forward in your career.
You wouldn’t expect an athlete to try out for a team without ever practicing the sport first, would you? There’s a lot of ways to gain experience as an actor: training with acting studios online or in person, auditioning for community theaters, or for student and indie films are great starting points for aspiring actors.
Acting classes and workshops are a great way to find a safe space full of peers with common goals, and have no risk of falling flat on your face. Which is what we call progress! This can greatly contribute to an increase in confidence, one of the keys to being a good actor and performer.
It’s a common story among theater and Hollywood actors to have started out small, through community theaters and acting classes. Taking the same steps and having the same determination as someone who has found success is a smart move.
Start by having an idea of what you want to get out of acting classes. Do you want your instructor to be a professional actor that has extensive acting experience? What skills are you looking to gain? Do you want to be a part of a bigger group of actors who are at the same level as you?
Many studios, both in person and online, offer the ability for prospective students to audit a class. To audit an acting class means sitting in on a regular class and silently observing the students and instructor. Some studios will charge you an auditing fee to attend a class, but most will allow you to audit for free
It’s important to factor in the price of each acting class you research. Some single day workshops can be as little as $100, while more extensive acting programs that cover several months of work can cost thousands.
If you’re just starting out and want all the basics at a reasonable price, check out the Laura Mac Method Foundations Online Acting Program. This unique program gives you all the benefits of an acting class, with the flexibility to do the work on your own schedule.
Yes! Acting classes are a great place to start your career, even before you ever land your first audition. Classes come in all levels so look out for some beginner courses.
Tracking the scenes you tackle in class in your Acting Logbook* is a great way to monitor the developing of your acting skills. Scenes done in acting classes or acting workshops are just as important to your craft and career development as actual auditions. Let’s say you’ve never had an audition, but you have tons of experience acting in scenes while training - I would say that's a very experienced actor.
*Don’t know what an Acting Logbook is? Check out video 7 of the Laura Mac Foundations Online Acting Program! It’s included in the freemium membership, so check it out and start tracking your acting progress today!
Taking acting classes is just one part of your acting education. To learn more about acting, invest your time in reading great books about acting and screenwriting. Read plays both on your own and aloud with your acting friends (teamwork makes the dream work!) An aspiring actor can also study the performances of actors that you admire. There are many ways to immerse yourself in all elements of the acting craft that will not only nourish your mind and fill your creative fulfillment tank, but also steadily improve your acting talents.
It also goes without saying that you don’t have to pack up your bags and head to New York or Los Angeles to be able to access good acting schools. There are many reputable acting schools all over North America and the world that offer the full gambit of acting training.
Full time College/University level programs (2-4 year full time commitment)
Full + Part time immersive studio programs (4+ month time commitment)
Many of these studios and schools offer online classes, so you can access any training you want, regardless of where you’re located.
The Laura Mac Method Online Acting School is designed specifically to offer the best possible training for aspiring professional film, television and commercial actors by revamping the way actors learn.
Working online is different from working in person and the Laura Mac Method program capitalizes on the benefits of the virtual world while successfully mitigating the very real limitations of not being in the same room as your fellow actors.
Traditional acting classes are structured like this:
T- 15 mins Actors arrive at studio or classroom (and mill about sizing each other up)
00:00 - 00:15 Instructor (acting coach/teacher/former actor/current actor) introduces a lesson or exercise
00:15 - 01:15 *Actors participate + Instructor gives feedback and suggestions
01:15 - 01:30 Break
01:30 - 01:45 Instructor introduces another lesson or continues the same exercise
01:45 - End of Class *Actors participate - Instructor gives feedback and suggestions
*Unless you’re taking a body focused or movement based class, your participation is generally; watch other people, do your scene and work with the instructor for 15-20 minutes and then continue to watch other people.
WARNING: For this structure to work best, all the actors in the class have to be at the same level of their development. If you’re a pro in a class of newbies, sitting and watching everyone else will feel draining. Similarly, if you’re a brand new actor and you’re in a class full of working industry pros: it’s easy to get nervous and discouraged.
The structure of traditional in person acting classes relies on being together. And while YES you can absolutely do acting scenes over zoom; Sitting and watching other actors perform via zoom is not the same energetic experience as being with a group of actors in the same space, doing the work together.
Working in person has very real limitations too. When the majority of class time is devoted to the actors' participation, the amount of material an acting instructor can cover is very limited, maxing out at 1-2 lessons per class.
And while assigned reading is valuable, unless your acting coach has written a book for you to read between classes; the only way to effectively learn everything you can from that coach is to spend more and more time with them in class.
This often leads aspiring actors to feeling like the solution is to work with their favorite acting coach one on one; which can get expensive.
In person acting classes require studio space which, in any major filming city, has steep costs. Brick and mortar is no joke. This means that while every reputable training studio is 100% devoted to their students' development, they all have to make sure they can pay the bills and themselves at the same time.
How? Filling classes. Butts in seats!
This really means: Offering Popular Classes Consistently. Acting coaches have to put together a curriculum of classes with the goal of taking actors from A - B and then teach it to one small group of actors at a time.
A brick and mortar business ties an acting coaches attention to selling classes and steals away their ability to answer the big question that every single one of their students want them to answer:
How do you teach someone to be a professional working actor? How do you teach A-Z?
The Laura Mac Method Online Acting School has completely changed the game for acting training, not only for the online world, but for the acting training. It takes advantage of the benefits of working online while avoiding the pitfalls of connecting virtually.
Actors of the Laura Mac Method Academy follow an in depth program that includes video lessons, and specific homework assignments IN BETWEEN class time. This allows actors to digest a ton of material, build their confidence and practice their skills independently. When the Academy actors meet via zoom - it's to share what they’ve been learning together. Two Laura Mac Associates lead every team of up to 8 actors through 20 different, inspiring classes that each build on the last. The time spent on zoom is efficient - just 90 minutes on Mondays and 3 hours on Thursdays - and instead of leaving the call feeling drained - as you often do when working the traditional acting class format online - actors leave Academy classes feeling supported, inspired and motivated.
Gone are the days of needing to pack your bags to follow your dreams, any actor with an internet connection can access world class acting education
Actors are no longer limited to only learning while in class, they can now access all the information they need via courses like the Foundations program at the Laura Mac Method
Connecting with other aspiring actors who are committed to learning and supporting each other has never been easier.
Whether you’re taking acting classes as a hobby or a way to network — acting classes are totally worth it. Whether you choose to enroll in a 4 year acting degree, a 12 week scene study or a comprehensive online acting program, acting classes give you the chance to connect and network with aspiring actors like yourself.
You never know what opportunities these connections might offer you over the course of your acting career. Some may lead you to small roles, while others may offer you stardom. Either way, relationships are instrumental in building your resume. Acting classes are an easy and essential way to start investing in building acting relationships.
Taking acting classes is one of the many things an actor can control on the path of their career. And with so much of your success as an actor depending on outside factors, focusing on what you can control is the key to a successful acting career.
So if you’re an actor looking to level up their skills, find an acting class that challenges you today. Acting is a craft, and the only way to develop that craft is with guidance, practice and dedication.
So think you’re ready? Perfect, it’s time to start. And as we say, go big or go home! You got this!