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Acting Classes on a Budget

Updated on August 25, 2012
Acting coach Dossy Peabody evokes passion in her students.
Acting coach Dossy Peabody evokes passion in her students.


Those in love with the dramatic muse may find her to be a rather costly companion. However, for those who wish to delve into the world of live theatre, but avoid the occupational hazard of becoming a starving artist, here's some ideas for taking acting classes on a budget. In the paraphrased words of the Immortal Bard, "Read on, Macduff!"


The Bill's the Thing

Acting classes are not free, and if you are really serious about pursuing acting, you must be prepared to pay to learn about things like Stanislavski's System, how to perfect your wide array of accents and dialects, or proper stage movement. Remember, there's a reason why it's called show business. However, by approaching acting as a pleasure and a business, you can ensure you don't suffer unnecessarily for your art.


First, set up a budget and be ready to commit to it. Use programs like Quicken to keep track of your finances so you can see exactly where your money goes each month. Keep and register every receipt for everything you buy, whether it's bus fare, a snack, a tall soy latte at Starbucks, or a burger at McDonald's. It is important to keep these records in order to avoid having to choose between paying for your rent or for that workshop in stage combat. Although being homeless for a week might give you some great firsthand experiences, in the end, stage fighting is not going to be the best defense against inclement weather.


Remember Your Roots

Most professionals agree that the best way to start honing your theatrical skills is to be involved in an actual production, so consider looking into joining a local playhouse or other opportunities offered by your community. If you audition and make it into the show, even if your role is small, you will still have the opportunity to learn about life upon the wicked stage and things like choreography/blocking and how directors work with their casts. Moreover, performing in the community will give you numerous credits for your acting resume and also introduce you to people and professional contacts that may be useful in the future. Plus, you may discover that your fellow thespians are a very kind and supportive bunch of people. If not, you'll learn firsthand how to deal with divas and backstage temper tantrums.


"Will Work for Workshops"

If the local scene is not to your liking and you really have your heart set on professional classes, feel free to surf the Web or call around to see which places will let you try a class for free. For example, the non-profit New City Theatre of Las Vegas offers free adult acting classes every Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. However, keep in mind that like any class, space is likely to be limited and reservations required.


If you find you really enjoy one particular studio or company but can't afford to pay full tuition, offer to work in exchange for classes. Explain that you really want to take classes, but you have no money and you'd be happy to help with cleaning, filing, or whatever else they need help with. If it's a program associated with a specific theatre, you can offer to take tickets and usher during shows, then sweep up after everyone leaves.


Acting Coaches

A great acting coach has lots of acting experience and an undying passion for theatre and for teaching stage technique. However, before going, many professionals stress the importance of first acting in a group setting because, as one coach explains, "Even a monologue is usually part of a dialogue." The advantage of an acting coach is that you can work on anything your thespian heart desires. You can also walk in, monologue in hand, and soak up any and all tips your coach might have. Furthermore, depending on the coach, this individual attention won't cost much more than a workshop.


Where to Look and What Prices to Expect:

Use resources like Craigslist, the Yellow Pages, or community bulletin boards to find listings for acting studios and teachers in your area. You can even try a search on MySpace or use an online school like ActingOntheWeb.com, which offers video lessons and digital feedback from coaches and teachers.


To lead by example, here's a price list from the Hollywood Actor's Studio of Los Angeles, which offers "weekly classes, workshops and private training for acting, voiceovers, commercials and public speaking."

* Weekly classes are $200.00 per month.

* 1 Hour per week intensive individual training $360 per month plus registration

* 2 Hours per week intensive individual training $720 per month plus registration

* 3 Hours per week intensive individual training $1080 per month plus registration

Also, from the Creative Freedom Arts Studio of Washington, DC:

Affordable Acting Workshops:

Principles of Acting

Monday's November 5th 7:00p - 9:00p (6 weeks - Adults) $190.

**NEW - Actor Showcase at the end of session FEATURING a REP from a union franchised casting house.


Buyer Beware


If or when you find a studio or program that sounds like a good fit, it never hurts to do a little double checking with companies like the Better Business Bureau, who can tip you off to scams or other shady business dealings, like those of the John Robert Powers acting school.


Good luck, and I hope to see ya' on the boards!

Comments

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    • profile image

      Jennifer Mendenhall 

      6 years ago

      Stravinsky was a composer. Do you mean Stanislavsky?

    • mqjeffrey profile imageAUTHOR

      mqjeffrey 

      8 years ago

      How do you know what's the "best" until you try?

      The "greats" and the "legacies" have to work long and hard for it. So, my advice to you would be to go out and audition for anything and everything, and to keep an open-mind about what's out there. Having lived in DC for seven years, I can tell you that there is a great theatre scene, you just have to ask around. Start by contacting some theatres, ask them if they know where to look for open auditions. Try contacting some of the public university drama programs, they are often quite well-connected. And above all, be fearless :)

    • profile image

      JJ 

      8 years ago

      Hello I want to become not only an actress but a legacy. However, I cant seem to find any good i.e "the best" acting classes in DC. Should I move to a different city? Do I need acting school? How do I find auditions?

      HELP!!

    • profile image

      Ciara 

      8 years ago

      hello i am shannons twin sister i was tellig you its hard to become a actess

    • profile image

      Shannon 

      8 years ago

      I really want to have a show. I wanted a show on animals an i still do. this was the only website that helped me get to something i wanted. I was wondering

      if i could take this acting class. it would help me a lot.

    • profile image

      maeross 

      9 years ago

      Kids and teens do not have to attend a high priced acting school to launch an acting career. I own 3-2-1- Talent Showcase Studios an affordable acting school in Los Angeles. I have been an acting coach and Talent Showcase Producer for 18 years and I have started many young actors careers. Don't pay $1000 of dollars to get started. Find an acting school that offers classes that are not expensive. Our classes are $30 per class. Best wishes to all!

      Ms. Mae Ross

      Owner/Director

      3-2-1- Talent Showcase Acting Studios

    • profile image

      maeross 

      9 years ago

      Want to gain more confidence? Get better grades, Make more friends? Then take an acting class. Listening, concentration, focus, self awareness, taking direction, teamwork, these are some of the many personal skills one learns in acting classes. As owner, director and instructor of an Acting school, I see the tremendous benefits children teens and young adults garner. My reward is seeing my young students become confident people... whether they make it on TV or not.

    • profile image

      Best Acting School 

      9 years ago

      Nice Post. I would like to thanks for sharing. You are keeping good stuff here. Keep the good work.

    • tru talent profile image

      tru talent 

      10 years ago

      Thanks for the info. I wrote a some stuff about modeling and acting. If you get the chance, you should take a look. I was also thinking about starting a group about acting and stuff. Would you like to participate?

    • tru talent profile image

      tru talent 

      10 years ago

      Good Hub

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