How do you begin your search for the “right” acting studio for you? One that will provide you an artistic home with a supportive, challenging group of peers and an instructor who will ensure your continued technical development and personal growth week in and week out?
There are several factors to consider!
First, different studios focus on different acting techniques. Stanislavsky, Meisner, Hagen, Shurtleff, Mamet or Strasberg to name a few. Nowadays, you will often find studios that combine several of these methods while others prefer to specialize in just one of these.
Second, visit a class! Most studios will offer you the option to audit a class the first time either free of charge or for a nominal feel. It’s crucial to take this time to visit several classes at different studios which feature different techniques in order to learn, first hand, what approach gets under your skin and inspires you to jump in their and get to work!
Also consider, while watching that first class, whether you see the actors’ work changing and improving from take to take? In other words, is the technique effective? Can you see it working?
Third, consider the acting coach leading the class. Does this coach inspire you? Does he / she have experience that speaks directly to the field you’d like to pursue? For example, if you plan to work in film and TV - make sure the instructor has a background in film and TV! Likewise, if you want to work on Broadway or focus on Shakespeare, for example, make sure the instructor has experience in that area of specialization.
Also make sure the coach is speaking directly and personally to the needs of each individual artist! Often you will find studios that are so focused on teaching the mechanics of a technique, they forget to really take into account the unique challenges and strengths of the individual. It’s important to have a coach in your corner who can both speak to your personal growth as well as impart the tools of the training.
Fourth, make sure you check out the other actors the teacher has worked with. Does he / she have a history of helping actors book jobs, or better, build careers? What kind of work are his / her past students doing now?
Always remember that getting an acting job versus having a career are two drastically different things. The way you pursue your craft dictates the way in which it will manifest. If you pursue acting like it’s a hobby, don’t expect it to treat you like a professional! The Tom Todoroff Studio in New York City, is an example of one school where the focus is on helping actors build and develop life-long careers by empowering students to explore and clarify their unique artistic perspectives. They challenge actors to think “what do I want to say in my work? What is my contribution to the world of acting, film, theater and television going to be?” The founders and faculty are all highly accomplished, working professionals who are dedicated to consistently encouraging students to raise their standards to the heavens!
Best of luck on your search!