Professional advice and guidance for aspiring actors.
The first step of any aspiring actor is to sign up for an acting class, and for good reason, too. Taking acting classes is a key step towards becoming an actor. So what is taught in acting classes? It depends!
There are many different acting classes; classes in different acting techniques, classes in voice work, classes in relaxation, classes that study one scene over a long period of time, classes that work on one scene a class, classes on audition technique, even classes in clowning and movement.
If you’re looking to become a working film, television and commercial actor, there are 5 key things to look for in your next acting classes.
Scene study is likely the most common topic of acting class. Learning how to read the script of a scene and decipher how to perform it is an imperative skill for an actor. Acting is never about the words, it’s always about the intentions underneath those words, and scene study classes teach you how to reveal those intentions.
In scene study, you learn how to identify each characters objectives and goals in both the story as a whole and in each individual scene as well as how to pick which actions to utilize in your attempt to accomplish that objective.
Scenes are always written for specific reasons; to reveal story points, character traits, and relationships that build into the story as a whole. Learning to quickly and accurately understand the purpose of a scene is a hugely important skill for an actor.
It’s the actors job to understand how a scene escalates, de-escalates, when moments of discovery and connection occur and how and why each character behaves the way they do.
Even the most seasoned actor invests time in to scene study, staying committed to keep their scene analysis skills sharp.
Acting classes that teach character development and human behavior are another great resource for an actor; especially when they are looking to make their mark in the world of film, television and commercial production.
It is imperative to learn how to dissect a script in search of the clues that help define a character’s personality and then practice marrying that information with who you are as a person in order to embody the character authentically and create a performance that is grounded, interesting and dynamic.
Human behavior is at the root of everything an actor does, and studying human behavior in an acting class will help in all areas of the actor’s craft; storytelling, scene study, even business skills improve when your understanding of human behavior deepens.
From the earliest records of human history, storytelling has been at the root of how we learn and grow as individuals and as a community. How we tell stories is a big part of how culture is formed and in modern day film, television and commercial acting, understanding storytelling is a big part of knowing what choices to make in your scene work.
Taking a class in storytelling and scriptwriting is a great way for an actor to improve their work. The genre of the piece, where in the story the scene takes place, who the characters are in relation to each other; these are all major factors in an actors performance.
Understand the structure of the story, and unlock the backbone to smart choices for your acting performance.
This one’s a big one. So many actors feel uncomfortable with the idea of marketing, branding and all other things to do with business. It feels like the business of acting and the craft of acting are on opposite ends of the spectrum. And yes, in an ideal world, an actor would have a team of people who take care of all the business things for them, but for most actors, that isn’t the reality right away. And until it is, taking acting classes that cover all the aspects of the business of the entertainment industry is a great way to take ownership and control of your career development.
Knowing who you are, how you fit in your market, how you build and maintain relationships with other industry professionals, how to manage finances and time, how to create a team of supporters and mentors, how to represent yourself through your marketing materials; all these things are necessary for an actor to go from aspiring status, to working status.
The best part is that when approached properly, business work can be creative and rewarding. Smart business work can even help improve your acting craft! Diving deep into who you are as a person and using that as the basis of all your business work will not only ensure you authentically represent yourself, but will also help you find your starting point for all your auditions and scene work.
Learning to work on camera is imperative to becoming a professional film, television and commercial actor. Whether you’ve started your acting journey studying drama in school or working in community or professional theatre, or even if you are brand new to the craft and are just taking your first steps into the world of performing; audition technique is a language within itself.
Mastering on camera technique provides you, as an actor, with the ability and confidence to make the strong, smart choices you need to make in your audition work to help you stand out in the right way.
Taking a class in audition and on camera technique can help you understand so much about how your work translates to the screen. Especially now that almost all first round film, television and commercial auditions happen via self tape, becoming fluent in working on camera will directly result in building your career.
Traditional acting schools offer many different classes to cover all the different skills that aspiring actors need to learn. If you’re interested in devoting a few solid years to training, this may be the route for you. Full time acting training can be really fun and rewarding, though the downsides are the significant time commitment and cost, which may not be right for everyone.
Another traditional route would be to join an acting studio and take multiple classes over a longer period of time. The downside of working out of an acting studio is that you need to live in a big city like LA, Vancouver, New York, Toronto or London where reputable studios are located. The other downside is the price. Often classes at these studios can be quite expensive, and it will take multiple different classes to get all the information you need.
All these downsides are the reasons why I created the Laura Mac Method online acting school. Having trained both at acting school and the best studios in the country, I became very aware of the limits of traditional acting training.
Location, cost and time commitment shouldn’t limit anyone’s access to the information, exercises, support and community they need to become a full time working actor.
The Laura Mac Method Foundations program covers every aspect of the working actors life, craft and business to set even the most experienced professional actor up to have breakthroughs in their acting. The foundations gives you all the information you need while challenging you to dive deep into yourself and identify the areas you need to work on most in order to achieve your acting dreams. The best part? It’s available for you to access anytime, anywhere and for less per month than a night out at the movies. We put a lot of love and effort into creating a great experience with fun videos and a state of the art platform that is easy to follow and houses a great community of actors who are going through the program with you.
The Academy program takes what is discovered and built in the Foundations and super charges it with a dedicated team of actors who follow a specialized curriculum that guarantees growth in not only your acting and business skills, but also puts you on the path of the consistent development necessary to sustain the working actors life long term.
If you want to become an actor and are looking for a place to start, look no further! You can even try out The Actor’s Toolkit for free. We believe that anyone who wants to be an actor deserves the ability to access the information and support they need to make their dreams a reality.