Never underestimate the importance of selecting the right acting teacher in your search for acting classes. An acting teacher should be someone you trust to guide you through the vulnerability and emotional highs and lows that come with honing your skills.
When you are considering taking an acting class, research the instructor. Look at their professional work history and assess whether the projects look like high quality acting or directing work. Anyone in LA can have fifty indie film or non-union theatre credits, but this has little bearing on their ability to teach an acting class.
Of course, a great coach doesn’t have to be an actor or director so if they are not, research how students from the course have faired in the industry over the years. Look at testimonials from past and present students. If they have celebrity alumni, check how long those actors actually trained at the school.
Find out whether the class is on camera. Many of the better foundation work classes are not on camera, however it is important to take on-camera acting classes also to know how your performances are translating on screen.
Look over the material used in class and analyze how the coach breaks down the scenes to ensure it is compatible with your preferred style of acting. Ask whether they focus on a specific method and the degree to which they are immersed in the ‘technique’. You don’t want to end up being force-fed a bunch of theory to which you don’t relate.
Most acting classes in LA allow new students to ‘audit’ (observe) a session. Take advantage of this and ask the students about the class when it’s finished. Make sure the teacher is encouraging but firm. A coach who praises average actors may lead you to false beliefs in your ability. You want someone who will be honest when you do weak work and help you improve, but also compliment you when you’ve rocked a scene. Beware of teachers who appear to be ego driven because their focus often lies with being right rather than nurturing the students’ craft and talent.
Final Note: Aim to be in the bottom half of the any acting class talent-wise. Being the best actor in a class does wonders for your ego but will slow your progress.