Acting classes are the first step to launching an acting career. As an aspiring actor, you can choose to go to drama school training for three years or take acting classes at local acting schools. Acting classes are, therefore, crucial for every aspiring actor, especially one with no experience. Think of it as going to college. Yes, you can excel in life without going to college, but we cannot overlook its importance. So, if you are serious about building an acting career, acting classes are a must. They are basically the backbone of your acting career.
Acting classes range from beginner to professional, and they include a wide range from on-camera to on-stage classes. Before you decide on acting classes, there are a few questions you should be able to answer. What are acting classes, and who needs them? So, before we begin, let’s answer these questions, shall we?
Who needs acting classes?
Everybody needs acting classes regardless of where they are in their career. Acting classes are crucial for beginners or aspiring actors. These classes are essential to understand the fundamentals of acting. You get a chance as an upcoming actor to learn from experts with years of experience in the field.
These classes are structured to help an actor to familiarize themselves with their body first. The body is a crucial tool in enhancing your acting abilities. Acting classes also teach you as an aspiring actor to use your voice and emotions to express yourself and get in character. Basic acting classes should cover practice projection, that is, how to hold your body, voice, annunciation, breathing, and other skills, such as maintaining the right posture.
What is the importance of acting classes?
Apart from imparting skills you cannot learn on the internet, acting classes are also crucial for the following reasons:
Acting classes are an excellent opportunity to network. These classes bring together actors and actresses from all walks of life. There is probably nowhere you will ever meet so many talented people under one roof. These classes bring together future stars, professionals, casting directors, and talent agents to be. You might be sitting next to someone who will hand you the most significant role in the next few years. Ensure that you are kind and personable to everyone you meet in such classes. Connect with other actresses, share ideas and opportunities with others.
- Acting workshops
These are workshops that prepare actors using scene studies. These studies include acting out scripted lines, understanding characters through discussing roles, and sharpening acting skills. It is essential to bring your A-game to such workshops as you never know who is watching. They are an affordable alternative to drama schools- if you cannot afford to go to drama school, acting classes are the best option. You will get to learn everything you would at drama school but on a budget.
Finally, before deciding to take acting classes, you need to ensure you know the skill or talent you need to get out of these classes. It will guide you on what classes to enroll. The acting courses you take should meet your needs as an actor. Let’s take a look at the different classes every actor should take.
Acting technique classes
The first and most crucial acting class for any actor is the acting technique classes. These are a must-take class for every actor who wants to excel in their career. We can consider these acting classes as the foundation of a successful acting career. If you are an actor with no experience and you have taken no dram classes. Then you need to enroll in acting technique classes.
These classes cover the basic techniques of acting, such as method acting and Meisner techniques. I have done comprehensive articles on such techniques. You will need to identify the technique that you prefer by trying out different technique classes.
The skills taught during an acting technique class are specific to the technique you want to learn. You will be shown all the basics of the technique. These classes are usually taught differently depending on what approach the teacher will take. Remember that every teacher has their own take on what makes a successful actor, and everyone was taught differently.
Acting technique classes should, however, help you better your craft irrespective of how they were taught. You should ensure to choose a technique you connect to the most to make the best out of the classes. When you are established, however, you can try out different technique classes to grow yourself and expand your knowledge base. There should be a distinct difference between you and someone who has not taken these classes at the end of your technique classes.
On-camera / scene study classes
Scene classes are also one high-ranking acting class in terms of importance, whether you are a beginner or graduated out of drama school, these acting classes are essential. They give you the chance to interact with real-time filmmakers.
These classes vary depending on the approach your teacher will take. However, they commonly take these two forms;
- On-camera scene study class
In these acting classes, the teacher will guide you to practice different scenes and break them down. After exercising, you will capture the scenes on camera and later analyze them. An on-camera scene study is crucial to help you get accustomed to performing in front of the camera. You will also learn how to control your voice on camera, where to stand, and how to walk around to remain in the field with the camera and other techniques you will appreciate later in your career.
- General scene study class
These scene study acting classes are similar to the above mentioned, except that you don’t use a camera for these classes. Instead, you just analyze the acting scenes and practice with the guidance of your teacher. The teacher will give you scripts or material to work on, and you will be expected to read out, block it out, rehearse, and finally present in front of the acting class. Blocking out refers to the actors practicing actions taken during the scene, including entrances and exits. It is all about getting the picture on how you need to act out the scene given by the teacher. Scene study classes are usually based on the acting technique you have learned or are interested in pursuing. The teacher guides you on how to truthfully act out the scenes on a play, television, or film depending on the technique. Whatever the form of scene study taught, these classes generally help you to breakdown and practice acting scenes.
Audition technique classes
Many of us do not know what to expect when going for an audition. At times, you do not even know what exactly to do on the audition. Good news is, there are acting classes that cover that. Audition technique classes teach how to show up at an audition and ace it.
Auditioning, as many will tell you, is an entirely different art from the art if performing. Many actors avoid auditioning like a plague since they do not know what to do when auditioning or a role. Auditioning is not easy even though it forms a big part of an actor’s career journey. Experts have reported that auditioning is more complicated than performing itself. It is, therefore, crucial to take auditioning classes as part of your training.
Audition technique classes teach how to avoid screwing up your audition. These classes cover skills such as;
- Script analysis which covers how to break down a script
- What is expected of you during an audition
- How to get the approval of the casting crew
The crucial part of an audition is to win the casting panel, including the casting directors over. Audition technique classes teach you how to get the job. Some teachers will even get to the nitty-grittiest basics. They guide you on whether to sit or stand when auditioning or whether to mime when talking on the phone. Remember that most teachers have experience in acting and they have quite lifesaving tips up their sleeves.
Acting technique classes may also be covered as on-camera classes. The teacher may record the staged auditioning for review later.
Cold reading classes
You may know these classes as sight-reading classes, depending on your topography. The meaning, however, is the same. These classes are part of the auditioning classes but are usually offered separately for those who would lie to delve deeper. A cold reading class will focus on educating the actor on reading from the script, quick analysis, and acting out what you read.
The teacher in a cold reading class should focus on how to swiftly prepare the given text in front of the casting crew by teaching;
- How to read the text
- Breaking down significant volumes of text
- Quick analysis
- Memorizing the text depending on the role you are auditioning for
- Delivering appropriately
Cold reading classes are vital for actors interested in commercials and projects that require you to prepare and perform impromptu. After taking these classes, you should be able to impress the casting crew in those auditions where you are given minimal time to prepare. You can also take the class even though you do not fit in any of the categories as its generally good for growth as a budding actor.
A sight-reading class should also cover the basics of acting such as;
- How to get the leading role of the scene
- Understanding your character or position as you read the script
- The main obstacles to expect
- Questions to ask and not to ask on an audition
Cold reading classes should generally sharpen your reading and thinking skills. You should be able to read and process everything faster than an actor who has not taken such classes.
As we mentioned, acting classes vary in importance depending on your needs. I would classify this class as not as crucial as casting directors, and talented agents would see it on your resume. However, if your goal is to pursue a career in Broadway, you will know how important these classes are for you.
Some people are just blessed with voices and how to use them. However, it’s not the case for all actors. If you are in the latter category, vocal classes have got you. These classes cover the following;
- How to breathe properly
- How to adequately use your voice to get the best of your ability
- Showing different emotions in your voice
- Controlling your voice on set, and much more.
The teacher may guide you on anything they find crucial to know in vocal classes. Excellent vocal abilities are an additional skill that will look good on your resume, even if you are not auditioning for a musical role. Therefore, if you are financially able, it’s a great idea to take these vocal classes.
However, if you are auditioning for a musical role, voice classes are not enough. You will be competing with people who have gone to drama school where they are taught how to sing and control their voices for three solid years. Yu may need a personal coach or take profoundly serious voice classes.
Firsts, it is crucial to know voice-over classes are not the same as vocal classes. Voice over is a whole career on its own. However, it’s a great path when acting is slow to pick up or you are exploring. These two careers go hand in hand. It’s therefore essential that we cover voice-over classes in this article.
What is voice-over, really? A voice-over actor gives life to television characters. An all-time award-winning voice-over we cannot forget is SpongeBob and Frozen. Voice over classes is crucial for those looking to specialize in a voice-over career. In these classes, you will be taught the necessary skills on how to become a voice-over actor.
There is more to a voice-over career than meets the eye. Many make the mistake of assuming that voice over is easy, and you can become a star overnight. However, this career, like any other, offers a lot to learn. Voice-over classes are crucial if you plan on building a career as a voice-over actor.
You can add voice over skills to your resume as icing on a cake. However, it’s a skill that is only important to those who need it. If you are looking to other options that can match your acting career properly, especially tv, theatre, and film, voice-over classes are a great option.
As the name suggests, these classes teach the skill of improvisation. Improv is not just about being funny or comedy timing to make people laugh. It’s a critical skill for anyone looking to go into acting. It is an outstanding skill on your resume, which might just earn you a call back after an audition!
Although improv classes are not a requirement for actors in the film, television, and theatre category, it’s a highly valuable skill for these auditioning for commercials. Commercials will always require you to improvise. You will be expected to get out of your head, read fast, and think on the spot. No time to waste!
Any commercial audition you walk to will expect you to be able to improvise. Most acting schools, therefore, offer commercial training classes separately to be able to focus on these skills. Most commercial training classes will include improv classes. However, you can take improvisation classes individually to better the art.
Improv classes are not only for commercial actors. You can also take these classes if you are willing to learn something new. Who said you could not be taught how to make people laugh? These classes also teach proper timing on how to entertain people. It’s a great skill to add to your resume.
Well, the name says it all! If you can be taught how to leave the casting set with their mouths ajar during an audition, then you can also learn how to succeed as a commercial actor. Commercial classes are all about commercial actors. Commercials are vastly different from film, theater, television, or any other acting.
Commercial classes are usually going hand in hand with improv classes. They look good together, even your cv. However, if you must choose between the two, you should always pick improv classes. What is the difference between auditioning, commercial, and improv classes?
Audition classes are like an umbrella for everything. These classes teach you how to behave in an audition generally. They cover all the basics of the auditioning process, including how to behave in front of the casting panel, how to use the stage, and so forth. Improv classes, as we have seen above, focus on the skill of improvising. In these classes, you will be taught how to think impromptu on stage.
Commercial classes teach everything you need to know about commercials. So, if you have been eying a billboard or tv commercial, this class is a must for you. These classes cover everything from;
- Script reading
- Improvising for commercials
- How to behave on set
- Body posture for a commercial
- Controlling your voice, etc.
These classes are limited in importance for those who go out auditioning for commercials. If you don’t, then I would not recommend spending money on these classes. However, if you have already mastered everything about your range, it would not hurt to try out a new range. However, it’s important to note that commercial acting differs significantly from television and film acting. You cannot use commercial on a television resume.
Body and movement classes
Do you want to learn how to move like Shakira? Body and movement classes are what will get you there. Like with vocal classes, you will require these classes if they are necessary for your career path. For instance, if your end goal is to get a spot in West End, then a body and movement class are vital.
Body and movement classes are usually focused on body movements, as the name suggests. You will be taught how to explore your physicality so that you can move seamlessly. Some acting schools will incorporate specific techniques to improve an actor’s movements, such as the Alexandra technique. At times it will be only yoga or Zumba classes.
Body and movement classes are not always labelled as that. However, they will have a different name with a word in the title to imply they offer this type of training. Although body movement techniques are not a valuable skill, they can look outstanding on your resume showing that you are an all-around individual. So, if you can, you should take the body and movement classes.
Classical acting classes
Classical acting classes are incredibly low in importance for any actor unless they have dedicated their career to classical plays. However, these classes are fundamental if you plan on auditioning for a Shakespearean play or one on pride and prejudice at your local theatre. These classes cover the basics of classical acting, including historical and period acting techniques.
The teacher in such classes will also cover everything you need to know about Shakespeare and how to act it right. You will also learn the correct movements, voice, and movements for classical acting. Classical acting classes cover classical literature too, which is a fundamental requirement for plays.
Classical training classes are just a tip of the iceberg if your interest and career path are in classical acting. You stand a chance to learn more at a drama school training where you spend quality time grasping substantial skills. Classical acting is very demanding as you need to be learned the whole technique, which requires some time to understand. Classical training classes mostly offer incomplete courses, unlike drama schools.
Although these classes are not crucial for every actor, it’s a great skill to explore if you have already gained all other skills and would like to expand your knowledge.
We have covered all the acting classes that are important to an actor’s career. However, to benefit from these classes ensure you are taking them from a reputable acting school.
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