I get calls every week asking if I can recommend an acting teacher or coach.
The first suggestion I have is to make sure you can audit the class first. Outside of a beginners class (where the teacher feels it would make the beginner student uncomfortable), the class should be open to audit. There are many good acting teachers and coaches out there, but you may respond to one over another. This is why it is important to audit several different classes.
Keep in mind there are a lot of different acting methods. Stanislavsky, Viewpoints, Meisner, Strasberg, Adler….. You’ve heard the terms, but do you know what they mean? Read up on the different methods and see if there is one that speaks to you, than go find the instructor who embraces those theories. I’ve created a short recommended reading list at the bottom of this post to get you started.
Once you find a teacher you think you might want to work with, be sure to check their credentials.
Why would you pay someone to teach you how to audition for the soaps, when that teacher has never acted on one? You would not believe how many “teachers “ are out there giving lessons with NO qualifications other than they read a few books.
While many excellent coaches have not attended the Yale School of Drama, they should have something behind them. Do they have a degree? Where from and in what? Have you checked them out at IMDB? Do they have any professional experience? A person’s background effects what they’re bringing to the table as a coach, and you want to make sure you’re getting exactly what you’re paying for.
Like I always say: Do Your Homework!
There are a lot of posers in this industry, whose real motivation is separating you from your hard earned dollars, so watch out for con-people.
The Art Of Acting by Stella Adler
Sanford Meisner On Acting by Sanford Meisner
Acting For The Camera by Tony Barr
The Viewpoints Book by Anne Bogart & Tina Landau
Acting in Film: An Actor’s Take on Movie Making by Michael Cain
How to Stop Acting by Harold Guskin
Everyday Voice Car by Joanna Cazden
Toni Cusumano is a contributing blogger for JenningsWire.