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What are the Different Types of Acting Schools?

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  • Written By: Sonal Panse
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Images By: Edyta Pawlowska, David Stuart, Oneinchpunch, Kmiragaya, Eaglebrookschool
  • Last Modified Date: 08 November 2016
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Acting schools can provide would-be actors with a thorough knowledge of the acting profession and its history. The schools can help potential actors to hone their acting skills and prepare for exciting careers in a competitive industry. There are many different types of acting schools, formal and informal, geared in focus towards different acting styles, acting disciplines and acting levels. Selecting the right acting school is a matter of researching the school location, its accreditation, its credibility in the industry, the courses offered, the instructors conducting the courses, and the experiences of former students.

The location of an acting school is an important consideration, since acting schools located near theater, film and television hubs may offer students more industry exposure, professional interaction and career opportunities. It is common for such schools to have visiting industry professionals conduct acting classes and workshops or give lectures on a regular basis. In addition to location, accreditation is a factor to consider, as it means the acting school meets the standards set by a proper national or regional accrediting agency.

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Admission requirements for formal acting schools, especially the well-known ones like The Juilliard School, can be rather stringent. Students are required to prepare monologues for an audition and may have to attend a personal interview as well. As spaces are usually limited, only the most talented and qualified students are accepted. These programs can be expensive, but financial aid and scholarships are available. Informal acting schools may be more open to all comers, but a large number of people attending an acting course may limit student-instructor interaction.

Acting courses can range from four-year degree and diploma programs to shorter certification or non-certified courses. Some programs allow students to take beginner, intermediate or advanced acting classes according to their level of skill. The acting courses may focus on specific acting disciplines, for example, theater, film and television, and on specific acting styles, for instance, method acting, the Chekhov Technique and the Meisner Technique. Method acting involves getting to the emotional root of the character, the Chekhov Technique is about guiding the emotions by movement and the Meisner Technique is about taking cues from the other actors and reacting with spontaneity and genuine emotion.

Students can learn how to break down different scripts and how to enact different scenes, and about technical tricks that can make their acting stand out. The training may cover voice inflection, body movement and stage presentation. Some acting or drama classes may offer on-camera experience to help students gain comfort with the camera, and this is always a plus for a prospective model or actor.

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