Working as an actor is no walk in the park. Although we often see the glamorous side of acting through the lens of Hollywood and major TV shows, the truth often is that it takes hard work and discipline for an actor to make it within the industry.
Not only do you have to try and ensure that your casting and audition techniques are memorable given the amount of competition out there, but you should also have the knowledge and skill of different acting techniques to help you stand out and make your performances come to life.
Given the competitive nature of acting, it’s really important to ensure that your abilities are continually honed and that you have enough practice to be able to tackle whatever new script comes your way, as ultimately, the more roles you can land the better.
This article looks in more detail about one particular acting class that many actors and drama students find value in attending – the scene study class – and why this type of class can be immeasurably helpful for actors.
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Will I Learn New Acting Techniques As Part Of A Scene Study Class?
Although the content of scene study classes does differ, as a general rule you shouldn't expect to be taught or trained in new acting techniques as part of a scene study class. So unless details related to the class content state otherwise, it may be best to assume that you won’t learn any brand new acting techniques on your course.
This is because a scene study class is meant to be a way to bring together all the knowledge you have gained from other acting lessons and your own experience. This should, in turn, allow you to make a scene come to life and make the character you’re portraying more believable by delivering an honest and truthful performance.
As such, rather than learn new acting techniques, the purpose of a scene study class is to put existing techniques that you may have already learnt into practice. For example, you may use the following techniques as part of your class:
- Meisner technique;
- Method acting; and
- Improvisation (also known as "improv") among others.
During a scene study class, you will also likely work with a partner or in a group in order to bring a particular scene to life. There may also be an instructor or acting coach present who guides you through the scene and provides you with feedback on how to improve your acting and harness your talent.
As such, if you’re a complete beginner when it comes to acting, then it may be better to start attending a general acting technique class, or going to a scene study class specifically designed for beginners, as you may otherwise struggle.
If you’re unsure of whether a scene study class will be suitable for your level of acting ability, don’t be afraid to check with the acting school or the course provider for further information.
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What Are The Benefits Of Scene Study Classes?
There are lots of benefits to taking scene study classes if you are interested in acting, or want to improve your skills as an actor.
For one, a scene study class gives you a chance to put everything into practice that you’ve learnt before, while also giving you the opportunity to explore and experience different types of scenes, writing styles, and characters.
Crucially, a scene study class also gives the course participants the opportunity to be directed on stage. Being able to take direction well and respond to feedback is a crucial part of acting and is an area that actors may not have had much previous experience in, so additional training through a scene study class can be very helpful.
Although the nature of a scene study class is often dependent on the acting coach or acting coaches leading the course and the types of scenes they select for a group to perform, it’s also worth bearing in mind that there tend to be two types of courses, with one being conducted without any recordings of the class’ performances, and the other making using of recordings to give feedback to course participants.
If possible, try to attend a scene study course where your scenes are recorded on camera. This is because having a recording of your performance can:
- Give you visual feedback on your performance and highlight areas that you may need to improve;
- Teach you how to work in front of a camera, which is important if you’d like to work within film, TV, or commercials; and
- Help you practice where to stand, how to control your voice, as well as take direction in front of a camera.
Due to the variety of different scenes that you might work through during scene study classes, many actors find that such classes are incredibly helpful when it comes to honing their talents as an actor and finding out which types of scripts they are more comfortable with than others.
For instance, you might discover that you perform very well when acting out a scene from a period drama, but struggle when handling a scene from a modern thriller or delivering a monologue.
Additionally, if you do decide to attend a scene study class, it’s worth taking some time before booking onto the course to consider whether you’ll actually be able to attend every class session.
Some courses might run over a period of weeks, so make sure can commit to every session before attending in order to get the most out of the course, and to avoid making things difficult for any acting partners you’re assigned during the course.
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Are There Any Other Acting Lessons I Should Think About Attending?
If you’d like further instruction on how to develop your skills as an actor then there are lots of different acting classes and workshops out there that you could attend.
For example, some of the classes you might like to try include:
- A class that focuses on improvisation;
- An acting technique class;
- Classes designed to improve your sight reading; and
- Audition technique courses, among many others.
When deciding which types of course you’d like to go on, try to keep in mind factors such as your existing experience level when it comes to acting, as well as things such as what your ultimate goal is, how much time you have to commit to lessons, and how much money you have to pay for lessons.
After all, while it may be helpful to attend as many acting classes or workshops as possible, the reality for many aspiring actors is that going to lots of different courses may prove too expensive in practice. In such cases, it's better to just book your space on the courses that you think will really benefit you as an actor and help you to land more roles or callbacks.
Someone who’s determined to work within voice acting, for example, may find it more helpful to attend narration and voice acting classes, while someone who wants to work exclusively within the theatre may find that a classical focussed acting class that places emphasis on Shakespeare’s works would be more helpful to them.
There's no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to deciding which classes to attend, so it's ultimately up to you to decide which classes will be most useful. For instance, acting courses or workshops that have particularly strong reviews and reputations, or that cover an area of acting that you know you should improve are examples of good courses to attend.
Remember, if you do need help developing your acting abilities within a particular area, such as your knowledge of overall acting techniques, then there are other ways to improve as an actor other than attending group classes or drama schools.
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For example, you could supplement your existing drama studies with tuition from an experienced drama teacher. Superprof has a wide selection of tutors throughout the US who are able to offer drama tuition and coaching to those who would like some more guidance and advice as to how they can improve their craft.
Whether you find yourself lacking in confidence during auditions, feel as though your improvisation skills could use some fine-tuning, or you struggle with sight reading, a drama tutor can help provide feedback and tips to help you overcome the obstacles you face.
With one to one, group, online, and workshop tuition available, why not see if there’s a Superprof tutor in your local area?
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