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Tips on Selecting a Summer Acting Program

Charlie Sandlan - Acting Coach NYC - Acting Coach in NYCI know that it seems like spring has just started, but now is the time to apply and interview for a summer program. For us at the Maggie Flanigan Studio, we have been taking applications and interviewing prospective students since January.

Most studios throw one together to make easy money during the slow months before fall classes start. They’ll throw together a hodge podge of theater games that attract students who just want a fun summer. But I believe that it’s possible to learn something of substance in only six weeks. I believe it’s possible to find a program that will surround you with other serious actors. So it’s important to know what you want, and what questions to ask so that you don’t end up as just a number among hundreds of students. If that happens, you will have wasted your money, and come away with nothing of value. Below are some things to consider:

1. Look at the Website

Do your homework before you apply. Really look at a studio’s website thoroughly. I believe that the content and aesthetic look of a studio’s website says a great deal about their artistry and vision. Do you get a real sense of their mission and their integrity in teaching? Do they say anything of real substance, or is it a splash of superficial cliché’s? Does the site come across as an ego party for their main teacher, or does the sight seem student centered with a focus on a serious approach to the craft of acting? Who do you meet with? Are you told to buy or purchase anything as a requirement to interview? These are all things that can reveal a studio’s purpose. I believe any good program puts the student first.

2. Visit the Location In-Person

You can get a real sense of a studio’s integrity and mission by visiting their studio. Does the physical space match the feel of their website? How are you greeted? Is their support staff helpful and engaging? Does it feel like a friendly, welcoming environment, or one of arrogance and elitism? What is their aesthetic? Are you offered a tour of their space? Does it feel like a nurturing place you can call your artistic home for the next two months?

3. Ask Around

Ask people you respect about their recommendations on where to train. A studio’s reputation is not built on flashy ads or catering to the notion that studying with them will make you famous. Word of mouth can help provide you with an important perspective. Make sure you talk to people you respect and who seem committed to craft and artistry.

4. Prepare for Your Audition

Don’t go into the interview without some questions. What is the commitment level of the students you take? How many students do you put in a class? What kind of student do you want to teach? What will I learn this summer about being a professional actor and artist?

You can’t learn real technique in a 6-8 week class. However, it is possible to leave with something of real substance if you have chosen the right program. I can say that the goal with our Six Week Summer Intensive is to provide you with an understanding of what real MFA level professional training is, to introduce you to the brilliant technique of Sandy Meisner, to provide you with the important fundamentals that any real actor should possess, and a greater appreciation of acting as an art form.

Good luck in your search.

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