Monday, September 10, 2007

Ever Think About Taking Intensive Summer Acting Classes?

Total immersion in summer acting classes: A great experience!

I now know the difference between taking classes one at a time and totally immersing myself into the craft that I love for six full weeks of eating, sleeping and breathing acting.

Well, I kinda knew what it was like shortly after I had begun studying acting a few years ago. I first started studying in a theatre company in Milan, Italy. At the time I was working more than a full-time job and could only go to class in the evenings. Class hours were from 9 ? 11pm, three days a week. It was better than nothing, but often I arrived at class and I was tired. I probably could have gotten more out of it if I had had more energy. Nevertheless, I?m glad I had that experience.

Then, I took a ten-day workshop in Italy with an American acting coach and teacher. That was a mini-immersion for the ten-day period. The workshop was five hours a day of instruction for then straight days and then rehearsals. At the time, I had already saved enough money and quit my full-time job to pursue acting full-time.

And then?

I went to New York for a three month period and had put together my own program of all the different classes I needed so that I could totally immerse myself and have a full experience of concentrating on my craft. I put together a schedule of classes, a mix from different schools. I took acting classes in technique, sensory work, scene study, improvisation, audition technique. In addition I took mini workshops in different areas such as corporate videos, soaps, prime-time television as well as yoga classes, and I went to the gym regularly. That was my first sort of real immersion.

My Experience With Intensive Summer Acting Classes

I continued to study and then took the best set of summer acting classes to date. I had met Wendy Ward at the Ward Studio in New York back in 2003 when I was investigating schools to attend. At the time I couldn?t attend her school, because of time constraints on my part. It wasn?t until eighteen months later, that I would be able to take her summer intensive.

It?s sooooo different taking classes in this way. It was a six-week long set of summer acting classes that began in July and went through to mid-August. There were about ten of us in the class that summer of 2005 at the Ward Studio and we became a tightly knit group. Our schedule was as follows:

Meisner acting technique: 3 hrs
Voice: 2 hrs
Movement: 2 hrs

Career Mentoring workshop: 2 hrs
(This was great too, because we concentrated on what we need to do to get work, something that many programs don't focus on at all!)
Shakespeare: 2 hrs
Text & audition technique: 3 hrs

Talk about intense! There was always something to do for one of the classes. We had scenes to rehearse for, so we had to meet outside of class. There were monologues to memorize and prepare for. Props to acquire for scenes, monologues and class exercises. Homework to do for the career mentoring class, texts to memorize for the audition class. It was non-stop! Taking those intensive summer classes helped me grow as an actor more in those six weeks than I did in the whole year before that. It?s true.

There?s nothing like being totally immersed in your acting craft for a time. Nothing like it! Have a look at an example of a real program at a real school. Shop around for summer acting classes, know what you're looking for, consider pricing. But whatever you do, set some money aside and do it! It could be one of the best investments you ever make in your acting career.Anthony Smith left a successful corporate career as a senior manager in Nike and Levi's after 15 years to follow his dream of becoming an entrepreneur, writer, motivational speaker and actor. While enjoying success in his "new" life, Anthony shares his business insight and acting experience with young actors. Aside from acting work, he has created and his first book, Acting Career Start-Up: Four Key Factors For Success will hit the U.S. market in April 2007.

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