Whether you’re a high school graduate looking to continue your formal schooling or a professional actors hoping to brush up on your technique, there are many reasons you may be considering acting school. For both beginners and seasons actors alike, acting classes are key in establishing and maintaining a strong technique. Acting training gives you the tools needed to consistently deliver truthful and compelling performances, and to thrive in professional entertainment industries.
But how do you know what to look for when searching acting classes? What is the right acting program for you? It can help to understand what, specifically, you’re interested in pursuing. Do you intend to make a career of acting, or are you interested in acting in non-professional setting like community theatre? Some may even pursue acting training to help their careers in public speaking, sales, customer service, and other fields required presentational or interpersonal skills.
If your goal is to become a working actor and develop a serious career in entertainment, you should absolutely give thought to formal actor training. Here are a few things to consider while searching for acting classes.
Degree or No Degree?
One factor for prospective students to consider is whether or not they wish to pursue a formal degree. Degree programs are typically more focused and required more intense time commitments compared to short-term acting intensives and workshops.
While a degree is not required to work in the field as an actor, it can be an excellent way to develop and hone your acting technique and forge strong relationships with peers and mentors in the industry.
Keep in mind that a degree program will likely offer less flexibility in terms of crafting your schedule and selecting classes. As degree programs are specialized and have particular graduation requirements, your curriculum may be more prescribed than a more relaxed program or conservatory.
At The Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute, students can earn an Associate of Occupational Studies in Acting at the Los Angeles campus. This two-year program provides on intensive training in acting for theatre and film, supported by voice, movement, history, and professional development electives. Students attending LSTFI through New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts will earn their Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.
Conservatory vs. Traditional College
Many major colleges and universities in the U.S. offer theatre or drama programs. These programs, in addition to acting training, often expect you to fulfill academic requirements as well. A conservatory, on the other hand, includes focused artistic training. Graduation requirements in a conservatory, such as history classes, will still be relevant to the field of acting.
One-Year and Two-Year Conservatory programs are available at both the LSTFI New York and Los Angeles campuses. Upon completion of the One-Year Conservatory, students receive a formal Certificate or Letter of Completion. Graduates of the Two-Year Conservatory will receive a formal Certificate of Merit.
In-Person vs. Online Learning
Today, many institutions offer a broad array of classes and learning experiences both online and in-person. Online learning became increasingly more popular and widespread due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Universities, theaters, and learning institutions were forced to adapt to the constraints imposed by the need for social distancing. Virtual learning does not always provide the same experience as in-person classes, but it does offer many conveniences.
Online classes, for instance, allow for students with existing careers or who are enrolled in an academic college to give acting training a try. Online learning allows for more flexible scheduling and the ability to work from home.
There are, of course, both advantages and tradeoffs involved in either approach to learning. In-person classes allow for a more social environment and the ability to interact with teachers and scene partners face-to-face. On the other hand, online classes may be a better fit for those with time constraints or who might not be ready to dive in to a full-time program.