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Don’t Waste Your Money Training At A Bad Acting Studio

Charlie Sandlan - Acting Coach NYC - Acting Coach in NYCI interviewed a prospective student this week that had taken a 2-year Meisner program at another studio here in NYC. After numerous auditions over the last couple years, he realized that his training wasn’t as good as he thought. He felt that he lacked real clarity in his craft, and so he had decided he wanted to train all over again with us, because of our reputation. Over the past few years, other actors have come to us from various studios for the same reason. They come to us frustrated and discouraged because they aren’t moving forward in their career, and the reason finally becomes apparent to them; they weren’t trained well. Maggie teaches a master acting class every year, and the class is usually filled with graduates from other Meisner studios. After two or three classes they are shocked and frightened at the realization that they don’t know what to do with material. Maggie spends most of the semester actually teaching them second year work again, much of them shocked at how clear and specific the teaching is.

Are You Getting Good Training as an Actor?

This started me thinking about how a student can know whether they are getting good training or not. What are some questions a student can ask themselves early on, to help them decide if their money is being well spent?

These are my thoughts:

Does the studio feel like a factory? Does it seem like they take whoever walks through the doors? Is their priority in training artists or making money? How many acting teachers does the studio have? Are they real teachers who have devoted themselves to the art of teaching or are they actor’s who are teaching to make some money while they pursue their career? Has a master teacher mentored them? Have they spent years learning from someone truly great at training actors, or are they going off notes they took in their own acting class years ago? I believe teaching is an art form, and requires the same dedication and high standards that I require of my students. Do they set a high bar for you to strive towards? Do they start and end class on time? Do they demand hard work and professionalism from everyone in class, or can students come and go when they want, text and email while classmates are working etc? Is your teacher present in every moment, or do they “phone in“ class, just going through the motions and providing half-assed, un-helpful criticism? Are they clear with notes? Can they articulate themselves clearly and specifically? Is the criticism solely about the work, or are they rude and inappropriate with their remarks? I have heard horror stories about the humiliation inflicted on students in front of a class. The classroom should feel like a supportive, safe, and nurturing space, with a teacher who encourages risk but also is direct and truthful about the work. It should always be about the work and nothing else.

The Truth About Acting Classes

I will end on this thought; you cannot learn to act in a “scene study” class, an improv class, a “film” class, or individually with a private coach. Anyone who tells you differently doesn’t know what he or she is talking about. As in any art form, you need craft and technique. Make sure that your money is being spent in a way that is taking you toward the goal of being a well-trained, professional actor.

For more information about acting studios and selecting the right acting studio that fits with your career goals, contact the Maggie Flanigan Studio directly by calling (917) 794-3878.

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