Should I Take an Acting Class? | Benefits of Continued Acting Study

Should I Take an Acting Class?

Written by on | Acting Tips

Well should you? Should you challenge yourself in a safe and exciting environment? Should you have fun and meet like-minded individuals? And while you’re at it, develop important performance and life skills? You can probably guess where we’re going to come down on this discussion. Whether you’re a trained, seasoned professional or a plucky first timer, we can’t recommend taking an acting class enough.

Asking yourself “Should I take an acting class?” is a strong indicator that you should give it a go. At the very least, look into some options in your city (or online) to see what’s available. Acting classes help improve and focus the skillset of actors at any professional level. For beginners, or non-actors, they will still develop skills in areas such as confidence, public speaking, critical thinking and communication.

In this article, we’re going to look over some reasons you might want to take an acting class. In case you do find yourself intrigued, we’ll also list some terrific resources designed to help you take the next step. Let’s jump in…

Reasons to Take an Acting Class

This is, by no means, an exhaustive list. If you stop and think about the benefits of taking an acting class, you are sure to out-list us in no time. But the following reasons cover the fundamentals—not just for career-minded thespians, but for everybody!

You’ve Always Wanted to Try It!

There’s a good chance you’re reading this article with little-to-no acting experience whatsoever. If that’s the case: hello! It’s great to have you here. We promise that very few of us bite. If you’ve always wanted to try acting but have no earthly clue where to begin, then an acting class is the perfect place to start.

Look for acting classes in your area—especially short courses with fewer required hours and commitments. We can’t guarantee it won’t be a little bit scary at first, but they’re amazing things to help build confidence and explore a passion. Go for it! Have some fun!

Building your Confidence

Even if you have no earthly interest in the actor’s life, an acting class can still be a useful space to develop important life skills. Acting classes will help you with public speaking, as well as communicating with others with a goal in mind. Engaging in script analysis and scene study fires up the analytical part of your brain, and you’re bound to improve memory when learning lines.

Good acting is all about confidence: how you speak and stand and move, and how you respond to the stimuli of the world around you. Can you think of any professional field where these qualities wouldn’t be valuable assets? From sales to parenting to charging into a burning building (as a firefighter, we hope), an acting class will prepare you for anything.

Shake off the Cobwebs

If you’re feeling an actor who’s feeling a little rusty, or you’re returning to acting after a break, an acting class is the perfect way to get your groove back. You’ll have a safe, supportive space to cover the fundamentals and get a sense of how the art may have shifted or evolved since you were last creeping the boards.

Of course, if you are coming back to acting after an extended period of time, there’s a lot more to be done. Update your headshots and your resume, and start to strategise on the getting-an-agent front. But don’t discredit how helpful it is to operate in a space where people truly see you as what you are: not a family member, sibling, friend, or colleague, but an actor. When it comes to support and understanding, acting classes are the perfect haven.

Work Towards New Goals as an Actor

In our highly competitive industry, it is vitally important that you keep upskilling yourself as a performer. Some of this you can do at home, or on the train to work, or online—even right here with us at StageMilk’s monthly Scene Club. But sooner or later, if you want to improve your skills, you’ll need to play with others.

When you take an acting class, you have the chance to develop your skills with other actors. For all the practice self-taping can grant you solo, there’s no substitute for doing scene work with fellow performers. So think about an acting class as a space that not only allows you to grow, but to do so with people on similar journeys, with similar goals. You’ll support each other on the way there.

Brush Up on the Fundamentals

Working in the industry as an actor is a sure-fire way to develop shortcuts and bad habits. To be fair, this is out of necessity—you seldom have the time you had in drama school to pour over a text before a self-tape is due. But eventually these habits do catch up with you and affect the quality of your work. So catch an acting class to brush up on those fundamental skills.

When you take an acting class, your focus returns to the work of your craft rather than booking a gig. You can focus on creating character, define your objective and plot your actions. Use it to revise your basics and hone your working process. Your subsequent auditions/self-tapes will be stronger for it: 100% guaranteed.

Explore New Techniques

Ever done clowning? Mask work? What about Suzuki training, or Meisner? Classes can help you explore new acting techniques, and ancillary skills  to your acting. Why not take a singing lesson or a dance class? All good things to add to your resume, and to be able to say “Yes!” to in an audition.

The great thing about a weekly class is that it isn’t necessarily focused on booking work, or even a showcase at the end of the course. It’s about the work being done in the moment. We call this kind of learning “process-based”, as opposed to “results-based”. You can try things, make mistakes, fall flat on your face and fail! Who cares? It’s a totally safe space, purpose-built for challenge and growth.

Network and Collaborate

An acting class is the perfect place to expand your network of peers and collaborators. It will be filled with hungry, like-minded individuals. Learn from them, support them, befriend them and welcome them into your creative community! Even when you finish with the class, you can keep in touch with these actors as you embark on parallel journeys. They’ll be the best resources for auditions, reading partners, scene study and even day jobs!

One thing we should clarify: don’t go to a class looking solely for networking opportunities. Nothing looks more desperate, nothing seems more fake. You should also be careful of courses that masquerade as networking opportunities—think expensive one- or two-day courses run by casting directors. Sometimes they’re run by reputable, generous individuals with lots of wisdom to impart. But more often than not, they’re bringing people in not to work on craft, but to give them a whiff of a job opportunity. Do your research.

“You should take an acting class.”

Ooft. It felt mean just typing that subheading—that’s how sensitive we can be to reading/saying/hearing those six little words! And it’s exactly why too few actors consider taking a class at some point in their life. Taking an acting class does not mean you “can’t act”, or you could be better (although you could, because, we all can.)

Honestly, it means that you’ve got the conviction to keep working on your craft and improve your skills. Actors who take classes, who continue to study and read and better themselves, are the most attractive potential collaborators on any project. They’re hungry, they’re hard-working, they’re not afraid to jump into a tough situation and struggle.

Who doesn’t want that person on their team?

Places to Find Acting Classes

Finally, we’re going to leave you with a list of acting class resources right here on StageMilk. Feel free to click through any of the links below for any further information, and don’t forget that you could always come study with us!

That’s it. What are you waiting for? Good luck!

About the Author

Alexander Lee-Rekers

Alexander Lee-Rekers is a Sydney-based writer, director and educator. He graduated from NIDA in 2017 with a Masters in Writing for Performance, and his career across theatre and television has seen him tackling projects as diverse as musical theatre, Shakespeare and Disney. He is the co-founder of theatre company Ratcatch (The Van De Maar Papers, The Linden Solution) and co-director of Bondi Kids Drama, a boutique drama school offering classes to young people in the Eastern Suburbs. Alexander is drawn to themes of family, ambition, failure and legacy: how human nature can flit with ease between compassion and cruelty. He also likes Celtic fiddle, mac & cheese and cats.

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