Sunday, September 4, 2011

Getting Jobs in Entertainment question 917: How much is it to get some acting lessons?

This is going to vary. My first question would be: where do you live? If you live in a small town, it's going to be a bit different than if you live in Los Angeles or NYC. Waiting For Guffman comes to mind :-)

The first thing you want to do is research. Years ago, when I moved to Los Angeles, I had an amazing mentor, an agent, Julia Buchwald. She spent a lot of time with me going over the different schools in Los Angeles, explaining which were well respected in the industry and the different types of techniques that each teacher or school taught.

Then it was my job to do the research. She had given me her list of the top 10 schools, so I met with each of them before making my decision. Over the years, I studied at 4 of her ten. Then, once I had the clout on my resume, I was able to choose a teacher who was in my opinion the best teacher I've ever had. The surprise was, because he was a working actor, during my 10 years with him, he grew to have a reputation that was as recognizable as the rest of my training.

In a city like Los Angeles or NYC, there are hundreds of teachers. It's easy to go to the first one you stumble upon, the cheapest, or the one your friend goes to.

Being a business coach, I'm glad Julia agreed to mentor me because she taught me a very valuable lesson. Every decision you make for your craft is a decision for your business. When you are competing with 100,000 actors who are sending their resumes to agents and casting directors, and 95,000 of you have unrecognizable credits, the next thing they look at is your training.

Therefore, to get the edge over your competition, it's in your best interest to choose a school/class based on it's reputation in the industry. It's a business decision. It's the equivalent of applying for an associate job in a top NY law firm with a Harvard degree, or a degree from a small law school in Alabama. While you may have an amazing brain and excelled in Alabama, the prestige of Harvard has more weight.

So back to your question...

How much does it cost? It depends on where and who you study with. Is it worth investing more in a school for it's prestige and reputation? My opinion is yes.

This may lead to more questions, so just put them in the comment box.

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